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Emojis! I’ve relied on them to simplify communication via texting and they are so much fun! They are cute, colorful and can summarize my emotions perfectly. I admit it sometimes I overuse the laughing emoji even when I’m not laughing. Some emoji can be confusing and I’ve always wanted to use the poop emoji but that never felt appropriate. But, can an emoji be happy all the time or always crying? Sony’s Emoji Movie takes us beyond our smartphones to Textopolis, where emoji live. Each one is at the owner’s beckon call and is waiting to be scanned then sent in a text!
Gene is the main character in Emoji Movie. He’s quite different for an emoji and feels multiple emotions. After messing up on the first day on the job, he sets out to find a hacker who can reprogram him to be the “meh” he should be. The movie plays out this colorful journey with a ton of emotion.
Here are things I liked about the film:
1 Oh crap!- Poop is voiced by Patrick Stewart who delivered his witty lines with his famously proper accent. You’ll want to cheer “We’re no. 2! We’re no. 2!” with him and his son. Expect potty jokes which of course the younger audience loved.
2 Feelings, nothing more than feelings!- Gene inspires us to embrace who we are and to find our tribe. He befriends Hi-5 (James Cordon) and Jailbreak (Anna Ferris) who are misunderstood and rejected by their emoji community. The three support and accept each other for who they really are.
3 Girl Power!- Jailbreak is an emoji who refuses to conform and wants to break out of the phone. She questions why men always take credit for girl’s ideas. She’s usually out for herself but falls for Gene who helps her see that she does need support.
4 Lost in Emoji!- All the characters are well done and it was fun to see them come to life. Emoji, “Smiler” was dangerously happy. We see food emoji (donuts, pizza, and shrimp cocktails??), various hand gestures, dancing emoji and there are even social classes in the city of Texoplis. The cool popular emojis spend time in the VIP lounge while the forgotten emojis drown their sorrow playing Pong or sweeping to take their mind off of being uncool.
5 It takes a village- Bullies are real, even in the emoji world. Gene is told he’s different, emojis doubt him and ostracizes him. “Smiler sends her bots out to delete him as a reminder that emojis can only have one emotion. But, isn’t that egocentric? Communities who come together and embraces each other makes a difference.
6 Social media 24/7- I had to laugh when Gene pokes his head into the Facebook app. He immediately comments that the users only talk about themselves and that he’d rather have a real friend when he learns that the users don’t really know each other. Just a friendly reminder that we shouldn’t replace IRL (in real life experiences) with “likes” or to be self-absorbed. Spending time with people is much more gratifying and it might avoid misunderstandings. Instagram, Spotify and the Just Dance apps have appearances in the movie and Twitter bird even makes an appearance.7
7 Gene’s parents!- Mel and Mary Meh are typical parents who worry about their children, argue and sometimes make mistakes. But, these two they are soooo “Meh”! Mel blames Mary for Gene’s mistake which causes a rift between the two. Voiced by comedian Steven Wright and actress/comedian Jennifer Coolidge, the legends deliver their dry lines with ease were two favorites of mine. They eventually get back together and share a sweet moment in Instagram where Mel shares a secret with Mary!
Emoji Movie has positive messages and humor that kids will love. As a mom to a girl, I appreciated the messages about girl empowerment from Jailbreak and that girls can be tech savvy and a princess if they wanted to. Hopefully, as parents, we will be role-models to our kids when it comes to technology which I imagine is difficult as many of us are addicted to or binge media. I accept social media and it’s a way of life but there should be a balance of social interaction with family and friends away from the phone.
Emoji Movie is in theaters July 28, 2017, and is directed by Tony Leondis