Prayer Focus
Click here to watch THE HOPE on-line!
MOVIE REVIEW

The Emoji Movie also known as “Emoji: La película,” “Az Emoji-filmkkkBieu Tuong Cam XuckkkEmoji - Accendi le emozioni,” “Emoji Film,” “Emoji filmen,” “Emoji-filmen,” “Emoji: Der Film,” “Emoji: O Filme,” “Emotki. Film,” “Le Monde secret des Emojis”

MPAA Rating: PG-Rating (MPAA) for rude humor.

Reviewed by: Jonathan Rodriguez
CONTRIBUTOR

Offensive
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Kids Family
Genre:
Animation Comedy Adventure Family 3D
Length:
1 hr. 26 min.
Year of Release:
2017
USA Release:
July 28, 2017 (wide—4,069 theaters)
Copyright, Columbia Pictures, a division of Sony Pictures click photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Columbia Pictures, a division of Sony Pictures Copyright, Columbia Pictures, a division of Sony Pictures
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Columbia Pictures, a division of Sony Pictures

longing to find one’s purpose and place in life

pressures from parents / not being able to meet their expectations—or not wanting to

Copyright, Columbia Pictures, a division of Sony Pictures

feeling like you’re not “normal” like others

Copyright, Columbia Pictures, a division of Sony Pictures

rebellion against parents

self-loathing

a girl character says she does not want to just a “Princess” or a “Bride” —Is Feminism really the answer? Or is there something more?

Copyright, Columbia Pictures, a division of Sony Pictures

The worldly mantra that you should “just follow your dreams”—Is that really what life is about? Contrast this to what Christ desires for us—becoming a willing slave to Christ, a loving servant to those in need, and striving not for fleeting worldly pleasures and gain, but for rewards beyond this world promised by our eternal Savior.

➤ Learn about biblical LOVE

Copyright, Columbia Pictures, a division of Sony Pictures

having friends that you can depend on

What happens when one acts like something they are not.

obessive (and excessive) cellphone and tablet uses by teenagers and others

Teen Qs—Christian Answers® for teenagers
Teens—Have questions? Find answers in our popular TeenQs section. Get answers to your questions about life, dating and much more.
Kid Explorers™
Adventures in the rainforest! Learn about the Creator of the universe by exploring His marvelous creation. Fun for the whole family with games, activities, stories, answers to children’s questions, color pages, and more! One of the Web’s first and most popular Christian Web sites for children. Nonprofit, evangelical, nondenominational.
Copyright, Columbia Pictures, a division of Sony Pictures
Featuring: Sofía Vergara … Flamenca (voice)
Patrick StewartPoop (voice)
Anna FarisJailbreak (voice)
T.J. Miller … Gene (voice)
James Corden … Hi-5 (voice)
Maya RudolphSmiler (voice)
Steven Wright … Mel Meh (voice)
Jennifer CoolidgeMary Meh (voice)
Christina Aguilera … Akiko Glitter (voice)
Rachael Ray … Spam (voice)
Sean Hayes … “Devil” Steven (voice)
Jake T. Austin … Alex (voice)
Tati Gabrielle … Addie (voice)
Jude Kouyate … Poop Jr. “PJ” (voice)
Jeff Ross … Internet Troll (voice)
See all »
Director: Tony Leondis (Anthony Leondis)—“Igor” (2008)
Producer: Michelle Raimo
Columbia Pictures
LStar Capital
Sony Pictures Animation
Distributor: Columbia Pictures, a division of Sony Pictures

“the secret world inside your phone”

So, because I’m in an empty theater (on opening weekend) seeing a movie aimed at children and pre-teens, I’m going to try writing this review while I watch “The Emoji Movie”: a live stream review, of sorts. It will also keep me from getting antsy, if the movie is as bad as it sounds. Judging from early reviews, the size of the crowd is indicative of the quality of the film, and also proof that just because a movie targets kids with an all-out television and social media assault/campaign, parents won’t shell out money at anything and everything, just to occupy their kids for an hour and a half.

The movie is preceded by a short film called “Puppy” featuring characters from the film “Hotel Transylvania.” The bathroom humor has already started, as the eponymous new puppy is appropriately named Tinkles. Adam Sandler’s Dracula character is having to dogsit Tinkles for his grandson (?). I haven’t seen the Transylvania movies, so I’m not sure of much. Tinkles is now chewing skeletons that are trying to escape from his mouth—skulls and bones and slobber flying in all directions. And… that’s it. Wow. Short and very pointless.

“The Emoji Movie” starts with a scene from the galaxy, and the narrator tells us what a magical world we live in. No, not that one, he says. The magical world of the greatest invention in all of mankind… the smartphone. The narrator is Gene, the “Meh emoji,” and he lives in Textopolis, where all the emojis are bound to the one emotion or activity they represent. The devil and and poop emojis have already made an appearance in the first few minutes, surely a sign of things to come.

Meh has a hard time following the constraints of Textopolis, as he can’t seem to always stick to the Meh schtick. He desires to be whatever emotion comes to him naturally.

A cloud emoji has been placed behind an elephant emoji, much to Meh’s delight. And a father and son poop emoji walk out of a bathroom chanting “We’re number 2.” I won’t be bringing up every instance of bathroom humor, as my typing fingers will get tired, and because there have been two more instances of it since I started typing the last sentence.

Meh works in Alex’s phone, where all the emojis sit in cubes waiting to be scanned and sent in a text or email. Alex is sitting in class learning about hieroglyphics, and the teacher is comparing hieroglyphics to emojis to get the kids to understand the concept.

Okay. So, I lied. The poop emoji just started to say “Oh shhh…” before being cut off. Kids might not get this, but parents certainly will.

Alex is bored in class, and goes to send a Meh emoji to a friend, but when Meh is about to be scanned, he freaks out because he can’t be an emotion he’s not feeling. The text cubes all crash, causing a system malfunction. Meh is in trouble, and a meeting is held in the boardroom to determine Meh’s fate.

So, it just dawned on me what this movie might be subtly portraying. Perhaps I’m reading too much into this, but Meh just said he isn’t sure who he really is, but he doesn’t think he is who he was designed to be. He doesn’t consider himself Meh, and wants to figure out who he is. In a world where transgender topics are front and center, is this film using emojis to make a point about changing how you were originally made, if that doesn’t fit who you feel that you are?

Meh is under threat of being deleted, but he escapes destruction. His friend Hi-5 comes to his rescue, taking him to the Loser Lounge, where emojis that don’t get used anymore are sent to waste away. Hi-5 encourages Meh to find the Piracy App, where a hacker named Jailbreak can reprogram Meh to be “the Meh I was Meh-nt to be.”

Side note: A mom walked into the theater with her son, just as the movie was starting, but 30 minutes in I’ve yet to hear a single laugh from them. Telling.

Hi-5 is preaching the importance of being popular and getting to the top by being the most liked by the most fans. Meh says he just wants a few close friends, likely a plot point for later.

They reach the Piracy App, which is an app designed to look like a dictionary app, so Alex’s parents won’t know what he’s hiding on his phone.

“What could a teenage boy want to hide from his parents?”

Meh asks, to which Hi-5 just stares at him. If any kid doesn’t know that apps like that exist, they do now. Jailbreak is the hacker they meet in a grungy rock bar on the Piracy App. They escape the bar when Bots show up, who were sent to “delete” Meh. Lots of things (including Internet trolls) are blown up in the process of escape.

They escape into Candy Crush—impressively blatant product placement.

We are back in Alex’s world, where he goes to talk to a girl he likes. As he starts to talk to her, his phone, which is in Candy Crush mode, finishes his question of “Hey, I was wondering if you were…” with the words “Tasty. Delicious.” The girls are grossed out and then laugh and walk away. Alex, embarrassed, makes an appointment with the phone store support team, since he thinks his phone is acting up. The emojis who are out to delete Meh are freaking out now, thinking they’ll all be deleted, too, if Alex decides to reset his phone.

Just Dance and Dropbox make an appearance. And there’s YouTube, where Meh’s parents go looking for him. Meh’s dad talks about their son being a “mehlfunction” who never should have been allowed to go to the text box in the first place. Meh’s mom says she and her husband should go their separate ways, since Mr. Meh isn’t who she thought he was. Emoji separation trying to create a dramatic moment.

Hi-5 makes a joke about getting the middle finger (kids probably won’t understand). And I just saw Hi-5’s “butt.”

A character got stuck in an app that got sent to the trash, and Meh gives a speech about going back to rescue them, because that’s what you do for your friends. The other character says “I guess I just always thought you should look out for number 1.” To which Meh replies “What’s the point of being number 1 if there are no other numbers?”

The characters take a canoe through the Spotify “streams” to quickly make their way to the trash bin to save their friend. A “Bubble Butts” song comes on. This Spotify bit is probably the one mildly clever part of the movie.

Meh’s parents reunite in a rather well-animated Paris photo album. Meh’s dad admits to having always had other feelings, just like his son, but has never let himself admit it or show them.

To rescue their friend from the trash bin, they travel through other apps to get there. As they attempt to escape the Bots sent to destroy Meh, they run around all the app icons. Not sure if I missed the explanation, but that doesn’t really mesh.

Meh just professed his love for Jailbreak, the female hacker they teamed up with. She says she’s not the kind of girl waiting around for her prince in shining armor, and that she appreciates the fact that he is struggling with figuring out who he is and what he wants, but she rejects him, nonetheless. Meh has now officially become “meh” out of heartbreak and gives himself over to the Bots for deletion (execution).

The movie is almost over, and the only kid in the theater just laughed for the first time, when a character yells, “Not now Mom!”

The finale involves Jailbreak and Hi-5 setting out to rescue Meh, while at the same time racing to return the phone to normalcy before Alex resets it, which would delete all of Textopolis.

“The Emoji Movie” voice cast of features T.J. Miller as Meh, James Corden as Hi-5, Anna Faris as Jailbreak, and a host of other celebrities, including (embarrassingly) Patrick Stewart as Poop. In a year where Oscar nomination talk is already being stirred up for his supporting performance in Logan, this Stewart voice performance might wind up being in a Razzie-nominated movie as well.

Here’s the thing: “The Emoji Movie” feels like a contradiction. It seems to explore messages that it doesn’t follow through with—or maybe it was trying to be all things to all people. The front end of the movie is loaded with Meh trying to figure out who he really is, since he supposedly isn’t who he was designed to be. That theme is heavy early on, even with Jailbreak, who was created as an entirely different emoji than she now lives as, and who seems to have built a reputation for helping emojis become what they feel like, instead of what they look like. She also makes a few comments early on that could be taken as “Feminist.”

By the end of the movie, roles have reverted back. Meh really just wants to be a man who can show more than one emotion, and Jailbreak might be more susceptible to being swept away by her “prince” than she so forcefully let on earlier.

King David said,

“I will praise You for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well.” —Psalm 139:14 NKJV

“Why did God make me this way? Why was God so unfair?” Answer

“Does God feel our pain?” Answer

“Why does God allow innocent people to suffer?” Answer

The Enemy cannot create—besides chaos and confusion and strife. He uses what God the Father has already created to “create” doubt in, or defiance of, the true Creator.

We live in a time where people are encouraged to question, even revolt against, how they were made. Satan and his army know that if created beings begin to question how they were made, it will create a negative view of the Creator. But the Bible reminds us how wonderfully made we truly are, in the image of God. And that is something to be recognized, respected, and rejoiced in.

While “The Emoji Movie” may not have been trying to make any point to the contrary, it came to my mind nonetheless as I watched. And in a movie this hyper-active and humorless, you’ll have plenty of time to think. This isn’t the worst kids movie ever made. But it’s pretty bad. And worse… forgettable.

  • Violence: Mild to Moderate… • intimidating robots • attacks by robots • attack against a delete bot • repeated flame blasts • threat of a public execution • punches, hard falls, etc.
  • Swearwords and rude language: “h*ll,” “Oh sh…!” (cut off), “What the…?,” “Oh my gosh,” “freak,” “weirdo,” “loser,” “knuckle butt”
  • Sex/Nudity: Minor

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Positive
Positive—I saw “The Emoji Movie” with three of my five children ages 5, 7, and 11. We were pleasantly surprised at how funny it was. I thought it was one of the better animated films I have seen in a long time. We did not find it offensive. Yes, there was some potty humor, because of the poo emoji, but the rating does say crude humor. So that warns the consumer right up front.

Just about every animated movie these days is aimed at the pc crowd. This movie seemed very neutral to me. If you are a family that chooses not to watch secular movies, then this is probably not for you. If you are a theater-going family and have kids or teens that like anything cell phone/app related, you can’t help but laugh at the antics in this witty movie.

I don’t think the Meh emoji was trying to be something he wasn’t. He had what seemed like a DNA trait past down from his father. As one would inherit hair color or eye color. He was not trying to be something he “felt” he was or wanted to be.

There are many animated movies that have said undertones and we choose not to watch those. This, in my opinion was not one of them. EVERY person in the theater was laughing from beginning to end. We would see it again, and we are quite picky about what we let our children watch.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Marie, age 38 (USA)
Negative
Negative—First of all, I want to express how impressed I am at how this review is written. I review films on DVD all the time, and I’ve never thought to do a live review. Fantastic idea! But secondly, I want to say that I think this film is obviously transgender propaganda. I can’t believe there’s not more controversy about it. Just watch the trailer; that alone should be a dead giveaway.
—Gabriel Mohler, age 27 (USA)

PLEASE share your observations and insights to be posted here.

Movie Critics
…“The Emoji Movie” isn’t terrible. It isn’t offensive or outright bad. It just is… could not be more meh.
Katie Walsh, Tribune News Service
…a very, very dumb thing… at least it’s cutely frantic eye candy… affords the filmmakers plenty of opportunities for product placement…
John DeFore, The Hollywood Reporter
…witless “Inside Out” knockoff… “The Emoji Movie” really is meh…
Owen Gleiberman, Variety
…shows how low Hollywood will sink for easy money… This failed attempt to create a story from a texting trend makes the worst comic book adaptation look like Shakespeare. The script is entirely predictable despite making absolutely no sense. The only thing worse than the dialogue is the absurd product placement. …[0/5]
Jordan Hoffman, New York Daily News
…a big thumbs down… This corporate clickbait exercise pretends to be a film for kids, but is actually trying to cross-sell apps to a tween audience… [1/5]
Charles Bramesco, The Guardian [UK]
…almost as bad and brutally depressing as everything else in 2017…
David Ehrlich, IndieWire
…can’t escape its own idiocy… The rationalization this movie uses for the anthropomorphization of the emoji is weak, to put it mildly. …
Tony LeondisMinor, The New York Times
…We’re also supposed to be rooting for Alex to win the affections of classmate Addie… but of course his courtship all boils down to picking the right emoji to text her. Sorry Cyrano de Bergerac and Abelard and Heloise and Cole Porter and anyone else who’s ever used dumb old words to declare love; you’re nothing without a poop symbol…
Alonso Duralde, The Wrap
…The cynical, lazy ignorance of this movie is heartbreaking… “The Emoji Movie” is so bad, it made us yell at strangers on the street…
Kaitlyn Tiffany and Lizzie Plaugic, The Verge