The latest family animated film from Sony Pictures has arrived on our shores with a barrage of negative press behind it. It surely can’t be that bad can it? At my 5 year olds request, I went to find out.
Gene is a young, excitable emoji facing his first day on the job. He has one predestined face, he is a meh. Gene is a little different and has trouble sticking to just one face. After a disastrous debut on the grid which caused his user much embarrassment, he finds himself facing deletion. He escapes and with the help of an underused Hi 5 emoji goes in search of a famous hacker who can get him reprogrammed and save the day.
If that makes no sense, then I am sorry it was the best I could do. Now, before we go any further this film has been slated by pretty much everyone who has seen it so the big question would be, is it really that bad? The answer would be yes. It is terrible.
The film is about a group of emojis (those little picture things that people send on texts and various social media, for the older readers) so the bar wasn’t set that high to begin with and even with lowest of expectations, this falls short. Since becoming a father I have watched films based on mobile phone games, toy lines, fairy tales and picture books, all of which out distance this painfully misjudged, gloriously unsubtle attempt at capturing and satirising popular culture (if that is what they were trying to do, it’s hard to tell).
It’s heart might be in the right place but it is the only thing that is as it tries to make the point that real fiends are better than virtual ones. However, with a script that is so misjudged and juvenile even this simplest of messages is lost in a quagmire of pretty (erm) bog standard poo jokes. Serious issues like female representation and being yourself are paid lip service with some throw away lines but there is no real substance behind them.
The waste of a talented cast sadly doesn’t help. T.J. Miller is a funny guy but he is a bit of a one trick pony, so casting him as a character that refuses to conform to one thing is baffling. James Corden (who I am a massive fan of) fails to translate his genuine likeability to this annoyingly stupid character, the usually majestic Maya Rudolph delivers one of the most irritatingly grating vocal turns in recent years and don’t get me started on the use of the great Patrick Stewart as what is essentially talking poo. Only Anna Faris comes out with any credibility, but even she can do little with the dreadful script.
Now, at the ripe old age of 41, I do not claim to be a technical expert or let’s be honest have any technical knowledge what so ever but even to me the internal workings of a mobile phone represented here makes no sense. Why are the you tube videos live action, but the phone’s operator and his friends in the real world are animated? Even an old, out of touch man like me knows that deleted apps don’t go in the trash, surely the kids will see through stuff like that in a heartbeat, right?
The film is just one big mess, it pulls from superior films (Wreck It Ralph, Inside/Out, Th Lego Movie, hell even Angry Birds) and pretty much just falls flat on its face. Having said all that, my 5 year old loved it, which raises another question if she is the target audience and the sheer amount if poo jokes would suggest she is, why aim a film about emojis at an age group who don’t even really use them in the first place?
This is just a badly written, juvinille pile of nonsense that is too crass to be funny and is aimed at the wrong age group for it’s very slight message of “kids, get your face out of your phone and go make some friends” to have any real impact.
There is one bit, when the villain is talking about the phone getting wiped and the devil emoji turns to the poo emoji and says “ha, she said wiped” “aim higher Steven” was the response. It is a shame that the writers themselves didn’t follow their own advice. An animated abomination that is surely to only entertain the very young, but this is a film about emoji’s so what else can you really expect?
Thanks for reading. Hope you folks enjoyed yourselves, catch ya later on down the trail.