Film: The Emoji Movie:
Cast:(voices) T.J. Miller, James Corden, Anna Faris, Maya Rudolph, Patrick Stewart, Christina Aguilera, Sophia Vergara, Jake T. Austin, Tati Gabrielle
Director: Tony Leondis
And I don’t know about your gentle reader but for yours truly, emojis (you know those cute icons used in SMS, e-mail and social media) are only a means of reinforcing an emotion. For, I don’ t think I could communicate a message without ever using words, glorious words. But here are the emojis in all their anthropomorphic splendour, in this animated flick from Sony and producers who would have been foolish if they had failed to milk it with product placements: Twitter/Facebook/Candy Crush/You Tube etc etc etc. Oh, there are trolls galore and the Cloud too. There is also a dungeon (the Trash bin) inhabited by symbols that are no longer in use. Me, I was surprised to find trees there because I use them a lot.
Welcome to Teutopolis, a city ensconced in the cell phone of high school student (voiced by Jake T. Austin) who is suffering, as the audience sees in due course, from the pangs of unrequited affection for a classmate Addie (Tati Gabrielle). Each icon is limited to a single expression. When a cute golden icon named Gene Meh (voiced by T.J. Miller) (which must express only apathy hence, Meh) malfunctions and displays a whole range of emotions, he is bound for extinction via the delete button. Naturally, he flees only to be pursued by a battery of monstrous terminators despatched by the malevolent Smiler (Maya Rudolph) On the run, Gene finds friend in a High Five hand icon (James Corden) and a rebel named Jailbreak (Anna Faris) Both Hi 5 and Jailbreak have an agenda of their own. Hi 5 has slipped in popularity with the handset owner, while Jailbreak is a feminist who yearns for freedom. Besides, she’s reluctant to use her prodigious skills as a hacker to help Gene who is NOT a chip off the old block: His parents Mehl and Mehry are as apathetic as you can get. And they want him to be just like them, even as he wants to be free to be “abnormal” that is, express a multiplicity of emotions.
Things change when they see their boy is being hunted down. Mercifully, the hacker also changes her mind. As the trio rushes on a perilous journey with the Bots in hot pursuit, it is time to lace the narrative with themes of friendship, commitment and self-actualization. Voluptuous Vergara voices a flamenco dancer. It would have been good if the director who also co-wrote the screenplay, had given a little more screen time to Akiko Glitter (Christina Aguilera) and Poop (Sir Patrick Stewart). Still, tweens and techies will like this film as much as little children. At least, the kids at the afternoon show I attended at the Inox were having a ball, going by their chortles and loud exclamations.