Spare a thought for Tony Leondis this weekend. Having worked his way up the food chain, from character designer to director, The Emoji Movie marked the director’s most expensive (and most talked about) feature to date.
Unfortunately, though, much of the chatter has centred on the very, very negative reviews The Emoji Movie has received, at one point holding a 0% rating on aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes.
With the animated adventure opening in the UK, the press’s views have been unleashed into the world, no publication offering a positive review.
On the more positive end of the spectrum, The Independent’s Geoffrey Macnab awarded the film two stars, as did Radio Times, The Express, and The Sun.
Meanwhile, The Guardian, Telegraph, and Empire offered one-star verdicts, The Times going as low as zero stars — one for the poster, no doubt. Here are the critics’ thoughts.
The filmmakers would surely have been much better advised to make a movie aimed at teenagers, one that could tap into the sarcasm, cruelty, boastfulness, narcissism and surreal humour that Emojis can be used to convey. As it is, they've served up a story which is far more likely to be greeted with tears, frowns and thumbs-down signs than with smiles and kisses.
As dismal to contemplate as it is persistently horrendous to even look at, there aren’t enough Patrick Stewart-voiced emojis in the world to express what an ugly, artless exercise this is.
Who’d have thought it: a film based around the most shallow and crass of communication methods that is itself shallow and crass? Worse, it knows it’s shallow and crass.
One thing no one needed this summer was a very rubbish version of Inside Out, that animated gem about the personified emotions inside the surreal landscape of a young girl’s mind. Here, instead of a mind, a smartphone, and instead of emotions, emojis: all the wacky little symbols that originated in Japan, not that you’d know that from this film.
Access unlimited streaming of movies and TV shows with Amazon Prime Video Sign up now for a 30-day free trialSign up
Small kids who start the film delighted by the bright colours and cheery design soon get bored of all the product placement and chase scenes, audibly switching off as the film goes on. It's all so tiresomely over-familiar in its quest for self-expression There is one decent joke about the eggplant emoji, but that's really the height of it.
Though surfing in on a tsunami of negative publicity, The Emoji Movie isn't quite as awful as you maybe fear it will be. Such shortcomings as routine animation and a plot that seems like it was being made up as they went along will more annoy accompanying adults than the youngsters this is primarily aimed at.
And animated feature The Emoji Movie is so charmless that it does nothing to endear the little symbols to us.
The script is Wreck-It Ralph made by marketing machines. It fails to deliver any emotion. The love story is about as romantic as sticking a double “x” at the end of a text. The only reason it doesn’t get the middle finger is a handful of decent gags, the mercifully short running time and because young kids will enjoy the poo jokes
Register for free to continue reading
Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism
By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists
Already have an account? sign in
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies