Whoever greenlit The Emoji Movie is having a rough day. The animated film has earned the distinction of sub-10 rating on Rotten Tomatoes — a clean 3%. (Earlier today, the score was at 0%, but it has since received some pity kindness from reviewers. Even a blind squirrel finds a nut sometimes.) The movie follows the "meh" emoji, voiced by the equally meh T.J. Miller, as it tries to find meaning in a digital world. Anna Faris, Maya Rudolph, and Patrick Stewart also star in the film. Stewart voices the poop emoji, which is something I'd actually watch, but not in the form of an 86-minute movie.
This summer has served some of the best movies of the year — Wonder Woman, Dunkirk, and Girls Trip, to name a few — so maybe we were ripe for a real stinker. Whatever it is, critics are ripping into the movie with glee, and the reviews are delicious.
The New York Post declares, "Hear that? It's the end of the world." (The basename for the link to the article is blatant:"emoji-movie-sucks-sadface.")
The Guardian says viewers will leave feeling downright offended and compares the movie to sponsored content, a.k.a. sponcon. Reviewer Charles Bramesco writes, "The Emoji Movie is a force of insidious evil."
Glenn Kenny of The New York Times didn't mince words: "The whole thing remains nakedly idiotic. To add to the pain and despair of the experience, The Emoji Movie is preceded by a short, “Puppy,” featuring the characters from the “Hotel Transylvania” animated movies. It is also idiotic."
Vox's review is pure vitriol — reviewer Alissa Wilkinson resorts to chastisement. "Everyone involved should be ashamed," she writes. She even chastises herself: "Looking back, it seems so obvious. We should have seen The Emoji Movie's utter awfulness coming."
The general consensus — at least how we see it — is that The Emoji Movie is the canary in the coal mine of the cinematic apocalypse. The end of days is coming, and it starts with T.J. Miller playing the "Meh" emoji in a horrible, terrible, no-good, very bad movie.
That being said, not everyone hates the movie so much. The Associated Press called it "not evil," which is very kind of them to say.
The worst news of all is that the movie could have been good. The Lego Movie pulled it off. And emojis themselves are a fascinating area of study — they make up a global language of sorts, and that concept could make for an interesting film. But you know, you can't have too many good things in this world. There's always Girls Trip and Dunkirk.
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