The life of a film critic isn’t all dazzling parties, sexy encounters and universal adoration. No, there are times when one must make the ultimate sacrifice, take a hit for the team and ensure the continuing evolution of our cultural landscape. It is the critic’s job to enthuse, to interrogate, to provide a wider understanding of art and appreciate it. But sometimes, it’s also about providing a healthy warning, or just indulging morbid curiosity and paying the ultimate price for it.
So yeah, The Emoji Movie is out.
Yes, this movie exists. Yes, it cost $50m to make (the equivalent of around 11 Get Outs). Yes, this is part of the reason why TJ Miller is still a thing and polluting everything around us. But what’s the movie like? Could it really be as bad as its lazily soulless display of craven capitalism marketing and premise suggests?
Do you even need me to answer that.
Many of these critics’ pieces read like a game of ‘Review or Existential Crisis?’ So make sure you give them your clicks - AdBlock turned off, of course - and pay respect to the sacrifice they made for the good of us all, then check out the Pajiba review of this ‘film,’ courtesy of the ceaselessly patient Rebecca Pahle.
The Wrap (Alonso Duralde):
“So let us be clear that “The Emoji Movie” is not a soul-crushing disaster simply because its dramatis personae are the range of emotive faces and symbols that live inside your cell phone. It is a soul-crushing disaster because it lacks humor, wit, ideas, visual style, compelling performances, a point of view or any other distinguishing characteristic that would make it anything but a complete waste of your time, not to mention that of the diligent animators who brought this catastrophe into being.”
New York Daily News (Jordan Hoffman):
“The only thing worse than the dialogue is the absurd product placement. In addition to “riding the Spotify streams” to make it all the way across the phones, there are a few glimpses hawking Crackle, a streaming service no one uses but just so happens to be owned by the same corporate entity that is distributing the film.”
Vulture (Emily Yoshida):
“This is a film that seems beamed from a near future in which nothing goes right; “words,” as the kids in the film agree, “aren’t cool” anymore; and Patrick Stewart making jokes about soft shits is the new prestige TV. But what do I know? At my screening, which was for both press and a handful of unfortunate families, at the first sighting of her favorite rainbow-colored icon, a little girl behind me cried out, adoringly, “It’s Instagram!” A new age of heroes is born.”
New York Times (Glenn Kenny):
“For a long time, Hollywood has been propagating the idea that the panderingly, trendily idiotic can be made to seem less so, by polishing it up with bright shiny gloss and enlisting engaging talented performers and writers. I can’t be entirely certain of this, but I would say “The Emoji Movie” takes this notion to the outer limits of credibility.”
New York Post (Johnny Oleksinski):
“Please restore my eyes to factory settings. They have seen “The Emoji Movie,” a new exercise in soulless branding, aimed primarily at little kids. But where another product-focused flick, “The Lego Movie,” had cleverness and heart, this thing is a piece of app.”
Indiewire (David Ehrlich):
“Make no mistake, “The Emoji Movie” is very, very, very bad (we’re talking about a hyperactive piece of corporate propaganda in which Spotify saves the world and Sir Patrick Stewart voices a living turd), but real life is just too hard to compete with right now. Not even a gaudy monument to late capitalism that masquerades as children’s entertainment — a film that bends over backwards to teach your kids that true happiness is always just an app away — can measure up to what’s happening off-screen. Not even a witless cartoon that unfolds like a PG-rated remake of “They Live” as told from the aliens’ POV feels as toxic as glancing at your Twitter feed or (God forbid) turning on the television news.”
Vox (Alissa Wilkinson):
“It’s amazing that we can put a man on the moon but movies like this still somehow get made. It’s amazing that with all that partner money, Sony couldn’t pay for a better script, with better lines of humorous dialogue to be delivered by the emojis than, “Throw some sauce on that dance burrito!”“
AV Club (Vadim Rizov):
“The “plot” is really an excuse to hop from one app to another; there are stops in the lands of Candy Crush, WeChat, Just Dance, Instagram, Spotify, and (for the kids!) Dropbox. That last one proves crucial, saving the fugitive trio from a pursuing robot. “Don’t worry, it can’t get in,” Jailbreak helpfully notes. “It’s illegal malware and this app is secure.” At the climax, a Twitter bird comes to the rescue.”