Saturday, August 12, 2017

The Emoji Movie - A Light Movie that did Not Deserve the Negative Review & Publicity

Yesterday, there were 2 movies premiering in the cinemas. One was an action movie that premiered in the US sometime in June 2017 and this movie that had premiered 2 weeks earlier. With the very low rating critics gave, it made me wonder how bad the movie was. So I decided to watch this movie first. As my wife was in the Mega Kuningan area, we decided to see this one in Lotte Avenue as it was very near the location. When we were in the theater, we were quite surprised with very few audience inside despite it was the first day the movie was shown in Indonesia. I guess people were still more interested in seeing Annabelle: Creation. Anyway let us go on with the movie now.

Brief Story Line

Alex (Jake T. Austin - Wizards of Waverly Place TV series) was a high school student who had a crush on a fellow student named Addie (Tati Gabrielle). After receiving a text from her, Alex was thinking of responding to the message by sending a "meh" emoji but to his surprise it showed a totally different expression. This created confusion to Alex and he was thinking that there might be something wrong with his smartphone. He even think of going to the mobile phone store to have it repaired by formatting the phone.

In the digital city of Textopolis inside Alex smartphone, a young "meh" emoji named Gene (T. J. Miller - Deadpool, Big Hero 6 etc) was very excited to go to work for the first time. Gene's father Mel (Steven Wright) and mother Mary (Jennifer Coolidge - Legally Blonde, 2 Broke Girls TV series etc) were actually a bit worried whether he was ready to go to work since they knew that Gene could be having various expressions rather than the sole expression of "meh" he was supposed to have. . But due to his insistence and determination, finally he was allowed to work by his parents.

This was where the complication arouse as Gene was panicked when Alex chose him to respond to Addie earlier. Smiler (Maya Rudolph - Grown Ups, Bridesmaids etc) who was a smiley emoji and the leader of Textopolis decided that Gene was a malfunction and believed he must be deleted. Gene had to escape and was helped by Hi-5 (James Corden - Trolls etc) a funny hand emoji that happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. Gene felt that his multiple expressions was the source of the problem and was advised by Hi-5 to seek the help from a hacker named Jailbreak (Anna Faris - Scary Movie, The Hot Chick etc). So the three of them would embark on a journey to the "cloud" to have Gene fixed while avoiding the chase by Smiler's bots. 

So could Gene be "cured" and could they make it in time before the phone was totally formatted? Find them all in this fun animated movie.

End of Brief Story Line

After watching this movie I was a bit confused of the very low rating it had, even to the majority of movie goers (At the moment I wrote this, it had 1.7 rating in IMDB). Sure that it was not an Oscar worthy movie but it hardly deserved the lousy rates people gave. At the beginning the movie was indeed not really funny. Seemed that the jokes did not hit the audience including my wife and I. However as the story progressed and we got to know the main characters better, the scenes actually felt funnier and we were able to enjoy them more.

I actually thought that the director/writer was able to create good references to the apps in a regular smartphone nowadays. The popular apps were shown as a totally separate world in Alex' smartphone where every time Gene, Hi-5 and Jailbreak went into them, we could imagine that would be how the Apps World would look like in a smartphone, such as the various videos in Youtube, or the various status updates in Facebook, or even the beautiful photos shared in Instagram. Despite what majority think, I got to hand it to them for being able to combine the apps and make them an entirely believable world in a smartphone. The story may not be a very intelligent one but I do not believe this movie was aimed to be a very high quality ones like from Disney, Pixar and so it was totally unfair if you compare them to movies like Inside Out or Wreck It Ralph just because they share the same theme. That was perhaps like comparing the The Vatican Tapes with The Conjuring just because they were both supernatural horror movie having possession theme. 

In addition, I think the character Hi-5 was actually pretty good voiced by the comedian James Corden and his character was quite funny at times. Sure some of the jokes were pretty cheesy but a lot of movies were having from few to a lot of cheesy funny moments anyway. The movie also had surprisingly few quite well known actors/actresses who gave their voices such as Patrick Stewart (X-Men series, Star Trek: The Next Generation TV series and so on), Sofia Vergara (Modern Family TV series) and even Christina Aguilera. I also think that majority of the cast actually did good job portraying their characters though they may not give major impressions due to their brief on-screen time. 

There were few songs that I enjoyed especially the ones when those 3 main characters were in the Just Dance app, such as Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go by Wham! or Feel This Moment by Pitbull featuring Christina Aguilera. The movie also had a mid end-credit scene which you could see before you leave the theater. One interesting funny thing was when I saw the whole end-credit scene and noticed there was the highly popular instant noodle in Indonesia called Indomie mentioned. Perhaps there was a scene somewhere during the Youtube scene.

Anyway, my point is that I think this movie got too much of bad press from everyone that most of the audience were influenced by the critics or at least biased by such bad review that they could not see the goods and thought that everything in the movie was bad. Personally I do not believe that this was the worst movie that I had seen and I certainly do not believe it is worse than say Battlefield Earth. But then again that was just my opinion. At least I know my wife was able to enjoy the movie from after she found out the truth about one of the character.

So if you just want to enjoy a fun light family animated movie with quite an up to date topic, then you can certainly give this one a try. There were some fun moments that you could enjoy and who knows, you might be having the same thought as I did that this was not the worst movie you have ever seen. The choice is yours.

Happy watching!

Mike's movie moments rating: 3 out of 5 stars

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