the emoji movie trailer

The Emoji Movie is a thing produced by human beings. Countless artists and animators toiled away to bring it into existence. It paid for medical bills and college tuitions. It kept a number of skilled people employed so they could pay their mortgages and put food on their table. Kids did not starve because The Emoji Movie exists. In that way, The Emoji Movie‘s mere existence cannot be written off entirely. Good job, The Emoji Movie.

But the new trailer for the actual movie? Yikes. This looks like exactly what we were dreading when the film was first announced.

To be perfectly fair, I’m surely not the audience for this one. This is a movie that feels specifically aimed at younger kids growing up in the age of the smartphone, people for whom emojis are part of an ingrained language and not just a weird thing you use to make sure your friends know a text was sarcastic. I’m sure children will love this. And that’s okay! I liked a lot of nonsense when I was younger, too.

And yet, The Emoji Movie feels very much like the latest chapter in “What hath The LEGO Movie wrought?” That film’s unexpected critical success (it is, against all odds, a legitimately terrific movie) opened the floodgates to movies like this, where “brands” take center stage and demand that we let them into our hearts. The whole thing makes me feel icky, if we’re going to be perfectly honest.

Otherwise, The Emoji Movie looks like it hits the usual beats. It’s loud and colorful and full of pop culture references and loud and full of recognizable celebrity voices and loud. It’s possible that the frantic mania of this trailer is not representative of the final film and it’s even possible that this pacing actually plays well in execution (see, once again, The LEGO Movie), but this whole endeavor looks like a headache and a half.

But could this movie surprise us? Speaking with Fandango, star T.J. Miller promised that this isn’t your average kids’ movie, saying:

In this movie, they talk about death. They talk about being deleted. One of the things I like about this movie – and I knew it would be this way from meeting them, but now having seen the movie I didn’t realize just how much it would be – it is a lot about expressing yourself and not hiding who you are, and talking to people instead of just texting them. That kind of stuff. But it’s also very much about – and I’m not going to ruin it for you – but it’s about women not needing to be just one thing, like a bride or a princess or a dancing flamenco girl. […] It’s about friendship, which I think is always important to teach kids about loyalty and friendship. And strangely it’s about family. It’s a good message for kids in general. All of these are helping develop a moral compass in children that we think is a progressive mindset, to be kind to everybody, to not hide yourself.

My eyebrow is raised suspiciously, but I’m willing to let myself be surprised by this one.

The Emoji Movie is directed by Tony Leondis and opens on July 28, 2017. It features the voices of T.J. Miller, Anna Faris, James Corden, Patrick Stewart, Maya Rudolph, Steven Wright, Rob Riggle, Jennifer Coolidge, and more. Here’s the synopsis:

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 (T.J. Miller), 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 (James Corden) and the notorious code breaker emoji Jailbreak (Ilana Glazer). 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.

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