Rating: 2 stars
Quick take: Cute but tiresome children’s flick
The latest offering in the phone app adapted to Hollywood film scenario is The Emoji Movie. Angry Birds have already made that transition, so why not a movie on the emoticons that we use every single day on WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms. So, the smilie, high five, nerdy, poop, miscellaneous food icons and most importantly the meh icon become animated movie characters. They have their own set of adventure inside a world set within one guy’s smartphone. It’s like a simulated Tron verse but with a garish Candy Crush type of UI. While that sounds fun, The Emoji Movie plays out like a boring, badly conceptualized marketing executive’s power point presentation, on a film based on a pop culture element that would have a high probability of success. It just has very little creativity, especially in the department of writing gags.
The story deals with one emoji icon, Meh (TJ Miller) who wants to be more than just a one expression icon. Like Emmet from The Lego Movie, the seemingly common Meh has aspirations and ambitions of being someone special. So, he decides to break out of the emoji mould and look for his own place within the smartphone universe. The high five emoji (James Corden) and a unique Jailbreak emoji (Anna Faris) join Meh on his quest to be something more. Even though the concept tries to be relevant to adults, The Emoji Movie’s design and presentation is a little too simple and cartoonish to appeal to older audiences. The world is colourful and cute, while that works out okay in a smartphone game like Candy Crush, it doesn’t quite have the same allure in a movie, where these saccharine / goofy characters actually tell a story. Then, after a point it just becomes annoying.
The Emoji Movie works for a younger audience, that won’t be bothered about a coherent story or some smartly written gags. Anyone old enough to be called a young adult will feel a Teletubbies or Chu Chu TV sort of frustration with this simplistic film. But if you’re a wide-eyed kid that loves colours and cutesy characters, this one’s all fun and games.
The film has a stellar voice cast though. Apart from the three leads, the movie also has brief voice appearances by the likes of Sir Patrick Stewart, Christina Aguilera, Sofia Vergara and Maya Rudolph. But none of the actors create any memorable impact with their voice efforts. The lead TJ Miller, is a decent comedian, but he’s no Bill Hader. His efforts as Meh are a bit too flat. Even The Angry Birds movie had the charm of Jason Sudeikis as the lead. Sadly, TJ Miller doesn’t quite light up the screen like Sudeikis in Angry Birds or Chris Pratt in The Lego Movie.
Young kids and their adult parents are the only people who’ll be able to find some value to The Emoji Movie. Anyone else will probably just smash their smartphone in a bout of raging frustration.