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The Emoji Movie – Why so :(

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Sony pictures animation have released the first trailer for their upcoming Emoji Movie which you can see here.

Admittedly, this is by no means a trailer I would have usually covered here on Skwigly, and regardless of wether it would appeal to other Skwigly writers or our lovely readers it does not seem to be a film that would appeal to me on a personal level, I’m not a user of emoji’s and so cannot say that the films subject matter is one that I can relate to either. Nonetheless it is simply a movie trailer, designed to sell a film, which it attempts to do so in a quirky manner, no doubt relating to the films promised use of singularly emotive characters. What makes this film worth writing about is the intense vitriol that has surrounded the release of this trailer within moments of it’s release online.


The above example is just one of many tweets and other social media messages deploring the the film which has yet to be released.

I can understand how this movie may be accused of being a cash cow it’s a sad fact that this is how films like this are sometimes financed. You might even believe that all this generated anger is part of a strategic marketing campaign, that the character of “meh” is portraying the reaction they expected from people viewing the first footage from this film, not that those eager to attack it seem to have noticed.

From a cultural perspective whether you can like it or not – emoji’s are used, they’re a part of pop culture and this film seems to be attempting to reflect that. Using emoji’s as the basis of a film is no different to the way Wreck-it Ralph explored the video game world or The LEGO Movie explored its own products, these are just two recent examples of how animated features have been used to promote products and the concepts surrounding those products within their narratives. I have to ponder why this particular movie is getting so much hatred amongst the slew of similar upcoming american animated features? If people are fed up of product placement then why is The LEGO Batman Movie getting so much love? If audiences are feeling a little fatigue of seeing yellow characters on screen then why isn’t the Minion centric Despicable Me 3 being deplored in quite the same way? Having not seen any of these films yet surely reaching the foregone conclusion that some are better than others is a little hasty?

If films reflect the times then regardless of wether The Emoji Movie turns out to be a masterpiece like Wreck-it Ralph or a brand laden cash-in like Food Fight the film has surely succeeded in creating a film that is a sign of the times? Wether that is for better or for worse will be revealed when the movie comes out next year and chances are whatever efforts are put into it, it won’t appeal to me and many others. The rather intense hatred is yours to see online, follow in any thread on Facebook or take a peek on twitter. It’s fascinating to see these sweary movie clairvoyants at work.

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  • Malcolm Rambert

    Before I make my stance, I should state that I don’t condone harm to any of the people that worked on this film like the tweet above. Now that that’s been said:

    Steve, I feel that the reason people are not going after The Lego Batman Movie and Despicable Me 3 is because these franchises had positive impressions with people in the past. People aren’t going to feel tired about something they look forward to more off. So far, The Emoji Movie hasn’t given anybody any reason to look forward to it. As far we know, it just sounds like the plot is a knock-off of every “The Special” story we’ve a hundred times already (Ref: The Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campell)

    Second, this movie is being put out by Sony. Disregarding their live-action stuff (which isn’t any better), they make decisions that are looked down upon, such as:

    • Making a sequel to a previous film just because “The first one made money” (Ex: Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2, Hotel Transylvania 2)
    • Killing animation projects that seem interesting and/or challenging (Ex: Genndy Tartakovsky’s Popeye, Lauren Faust’s Medusa)

    But most of all, this is that kind of film that animaniacs hate because it brings down the entire medium. Live-action films can screw up as many times as they can and people will still see them, because they know there are good live-action films. However, when one (just 1) of these films comes out, it’s telling like-minded people that animation is nothing more than mindless entertainment to show to children, and thus, years of progress will go down the drain. There’s a reason the Academy Awards has a very apathetic approach when they vote in that category.

    In conclusion, while it’s important to make proper judgement when the film comes out, people have very good reason to be 🙁 about this film in the present.

    • Steve Henderson

      Hi Malcolm, great points there, and I love the idea of this venom being expended in defence of animation of an art form, but it leaves me wondering why people get so vocally mad about a seemingly non consequential film? If people are so enlivened by a crusade to preserve the art form then they should write to distributors and demand they screen films like “The Red Turtle” or “My Life as a Courgette” (to pick two of this years unsung heroes) in theatres, and then they should spend the time and energy they took griping about a film that hasn’t come out yet on a film that is out there and needs some love and support. If all the noise about how much people hate the look of the “Emoji Movie” was replaced with love for an indie film then studios would take notice. At the moment people are talking about The Emoji Movie, and the studios love that because ALL publicity is good publicity. If people ignore the likes of The Emoji Movie and actively start demanding better stuff in cinemas then we won’t have to worry about any more movies that star talking turds.

      • Malcolm Rambert

        I think that’s a fair statement.

        Though, we can’t forget that indie films are hard to get to. Here in the US, most indie animated films are played either in New York or some random film festival, destinations that I can’t get to. There’s also film studios not having faith in them. One recent example is The Little Prince being dropped by Paramount, who were going to release it this year, until Netflix picked it up.

        Still a fair statement, though.

        • Steve Henderson

          Thanks Malcolm, don’t forget that film festivals are testing grounds for indie films. A positive reaction at a festival makes the difference between a distribution deal or not, so when you go to a film festival (and I recommend that everyone does) and then you tweet, talk or rave about a film you are genuinely, practically supporting the movie industry. If you can’t get to a festival but want to see an indie film at least tweet about it! Positive Twitter buzz is a great way of helping a film along too, and it beats slagging a film off that doesn’t exist in its final form yet.

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