Many people thought “The Lego Movie” would be a bad idea. Then it turned out to be the best animated movie of 2014 (its omission from the Oscar nominations that year remains one of the Academy’s most unforgivable sins in history). So anyone with the urge to dismiss “The Emoji Movie” outright ought to remember that.
Now having said that, the first teaser is out, and in all honesty it doesn’t exactly instil us with a lot of confidence. It feels like the filmmakers have gone into this realising that people are going to be cynical about this, so they decided to play along. Our introduction to the Emoji cinematic universe comes via the “Meh” Emoji, and he proceeds to narrate his own trailer with a corresponding whatever attitude. It was cute in concept, but somehow it kinda backfires in execution. If you can’t be bothered to show us why we should be excited about your movie, then fine, we’re probably not going to be. Even the introduction of the other characters late in the teaser doesn’t help much. Hopefully, this is just a misleading — albeit misguided — bit of marketing and the actual movie is funny, smart, or at least entertaining. It remains to be seen.
In the film, T.J. Miller (Silicon Valley) voices Gene, an outsider emoji who’s abnormal because he can display more than one expression. Gene “teams up with his handy best friend Hi-5 and the notorious codebreaker Jailbreak on an epic adventure through the apps on a teenager’s phone,” and because this movie is all about branding, expect to see “cameos” from Candy Crush Saga, Dropbox, Instagram, Just Dance®, Spotify, Twitter, YouTube, Crackle, Facebook, Shazam, Snapchat, and Twitch.
Here’s the official synopsis: “The Emoji Movie unlocks the never-before-seen secret world inside your smartphone. Hidden within the messaging app is Textopolis, a bustling city where all your favorite emojis live, hoping to be selected by the phone’s user. In this world, each emoji has only one facial expression – except for Gene (T.J. Miller), an exuberant emoji who was born without a filter and is bursting with multiple expressions. Determined to become “normal” like the other emojis, Gene enlists the help of his handy best friend Hi-5 (James Corden) and the notorious code breaker emoji Jailbreak (Ilana Glazer). Together, they embark on an epic “app-venture” through the apps on the phone, each its own wild and fun world, to find the Code that will fix Gene. But when a greater danger threatens the phone, the fate of all emojis depends on these three unlikely friends who must save their world before it’s deleted forever. Directed by Tony Leondis. Written by Tony Leondis & Eric Siegel and Mike White. Produced by Michelle Raimo Kouyate.”
“The Emoji Movie” premieres 4th August 2017.