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The Emoji Movie: A Manifesto

Caitlin LaCour

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If you close your eyes and deeply inhale the scent of dry erase markers and musty old men cologne, you can almost see the board room that created this travesty of an idea.

“What do kids today like? What is considered… hip?” The middle aged man chuckles to himself at the use of ‘Millennial slang’, patting himself on the back.

“I’ll tell you what kids like, Bill,” a balding man in a suit said, shooting up from his seat at the head of the table.

“‘Swag’?” Someone suggested.

“YOLO?” Another offered.

“Tell us, Tony!”

“Well, all of those,” Tony said, wandering over to the window that overlooked New York City. “But I’m thinking… small.”

“Small?” Bill asked, scratching his head.

“Yes,” Tony Leonidis said, placing his hand on the glass. “Small. Real small. Practically…” A slow smile forms on his face. “Microscopic.”

Someone gasps. “Sir, are you saying-”

“YES!” Tony whips around, throwing his shoe at the executive, who made no effort to duck as the loafer hit him full in the face. “Yes. What do kids like? Emojiis! Those little faces that kids put in text messages. They LOVE them!”

Murmurs of agreement rose around the table. “What if… hear me out, guys… what if, the Emojiis… had feelings? Like, the faces embodied their personalities?”

“And they all live in a city inside an iPhone!” “Called Textopolis!” “And there’s a poop emoji!” “Voiced by Patrick Stewart!” The room erupted into chaos, men shouting out their ideas across the table, furiously waving their arms in excitement.

Tony watched, the same calculating smile on his face, and turned back towards the window. He sighed, taking in the view. “The city sleeps,” He whispered, trailing a finger down the glass. “But not for long.” He leaned close, his breath fogging the glass, nose an inch away. “Soon you will fall, my city. Fall… and bow before me.” Chuckling, he whipped around, rubbing his hands together. “Get me T.J Miller on the phone!”

He had work to do.

 

From the director that brought us such classics as Igor, Kronk’s New Groove, and Lilo and Stitch 2: Stitch has a Glitch’, Tony Leondis is back and wielding a new movie that nobody asked for or wanted to exist: The Emoji Movie. This entire thing stinks of corporate greed, executives desperate to rake in some of that blood money that’ll mostly come from poor parents who were dragged in by their children.

The official movie plot is outlined in great detail by Sony Pictures Animations, the same masterminds behind the CGI Smurfs franchise, Hotel Transylvania, and Open Season.

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, 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 and the notorious code breaker emoji Jailbreak. 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.

Written by Sony Pictures Entertainment, hallowed be thy name.

There was tons of backlash against the movie, from the first teaser poster to the trailer that was just released in December. There were even rumors that the amount of criticism caused Sony to cancel the movie. But do you really think the same studio that released Surf’s Up 2: Wave Mania (starring John Cena) and The Smurfs: Legend of Smurfy Hollow would listen to the audiences? They were too busy preparing the next Smurf installment, wondering where they were going to store all the piles of money they would be raking in.

There’s a strange kind of surreal to this. We’ve got T.J Miller, who’s done respectable voice acting work in movies such as How to Train Your Dragon and Big Hero 6, voicing the main character Gene. And Patrick Stewart, a very well known name from live action films such as X-Men and Star Trek, but in the voice acting work… well, he voiced Bambi’s dad in Bambi 2 and King Goobert in Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius. So let’s just say the cast isn’t all bad.

The very idea is just offensive to many people, movie studios once again showing they don’t care much for originality, but for cash grabs.

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The Emoji Movie: A Manifesto