The Emoji Movie

by Greg Vellante

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Friday July 28, 2017

'The Emoji Movie'
'The Emoji Movie'  

I'm struggling with how to best write my review of "The Emoji Movie," a piece of commerce so vapid and shallow that it feels, all at once, like the stimulus, embodiment, and continuation of everything our country's climate currently represents. This movie made me angry. This movie made me sad. This movie made me fear for the prospects of our future generation, which I witnessed become entranced with a movie about the little picture symbols we send each other when we're too dumb and lazy to write out actual words.

"YouTube!" yelled a six-year-old in recognition during the film. "Twitter!" screamed a toddler. Last year, I wrote about how "The Angry Birds Movie" was a product for children with parents too lazy to raise them, so they'd hand them an iPhone or iPad and call it a day. "The Emoji Movie" is a continuation of this philosophy, and I guess these parents probably already gave up and just bought their kids a smart phone.

So what we have here is a frighteningly timely representation of where our youth is heading - a generation raised on technology, fads, social media and celebrity. A generation deviating away from the genuine human connection, where texting has replaced talking, and Emojis have replaced texting. The idea seems to be that we should all be as robotic as we possibly can. Why have love and empathy when you can just send an emoji of a kissy face or a heart?

Sure, "The Emoji Movie" tries to counterbalance its existence with lessons about expressing yourself and not limiting yourself to one-dimensional boxes. The plot revolves around a "Meh" Emoji voiced by T.J. Miller who is incapable of sticking to this one designated emotion, but the ramifications of its reality alone are hard to justify. The film is a blatant rip-off of the premise and arc of Pixar's "Inside Out," with Emoji being a substitute for emotion, a smart phone replacing the brain as the central hub where most of the action takes place.

So, I urge parents; please choose the former over the latter. One teaches children about actual feelings - how it's okay to be sad or angry or scared. The other teaches children that as long as you send the right Emoji to someone, you don't actually have to feel anything.

To say this feels like the first sign of the Apocalypse does not feel like hyperbole. What's next? "The Meme Movie?" A movie made entirely of GIFs? A dramatization of the political discourse and narcissistic hollowness of social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter? Are we getting dumber, or is this just a particularly dumb time in our history? I genuinely hope we collectively look back at "The Emoji Movie" a couple of years from now and wonder what the hell we were thinking. I was considering publishing this entire review as a collection of poop Emojis, but that seems like stooping to this movie's level. And if I ever stoop that low, do me a favor and put a bullet in my head. But, hey, at least our President has a new favorite movie to look forward to.