1870: Emoji Movie Reviews
This comic discusses reviews of The Emoji Movie (previously covered in 1857: Emoji Movie) between the cynical, Internet-equipped point of view of Megan and Cueball's language-enthusiasm. They ultimately agree the movie is bad.
The Emoji Movie was released to theaters in late July 2017 and received nearly universally-negative reviews. It is particularly notable for having a rating below 10% on the review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes. Many critics of movie point to superficial problems like the subject matter and the product placement. Here, that train of thought is articulated a bit more, and ultimately it's argued that the real reason the film is bad is because the creators cashed in on a trend without doing any research into it.
When Megan first mentions the movie's negative reviews, Cueball initially accuses the audience of being overly judgmental of the subject matter. He further expresses his fondness for emoji as an interesting and quirky part of language.
Cueball offers an early defense of The Emoji Movie by comparing it to The Lego Movie, which – despite effectively being an entire movie of product placement for Lego – received generally positive reviews.
They start talking about a "Meh" emoji, who is the main character of the movie. The idea of "meh" as an emoji is actually ambiguous, as various emoji can be used to describe being unimpressed or neutral towards something. As given in examples from comic those are 😒 (U+1F612 Unamused face), 😐 (U+1F610 Neutral face) or 😕 (U+1F615 Confused face). The selection of a less identifiable emoji for the leading role also contrasts with the fact that the movie also features more iconic emojis.
Megan mentions that one of the attempted jokes in the film is a room full of emojis that are unpopular. Bizarrely, the eggplant emoji (🍆, U+1F346 Aubergine) is featured among them. This is a clear sign that the creative team in charge of this movie had limited first-hand experience with SMS messaging; as any frequent user of emoji will tell you, the 🍆 is frequently used as a sly stand-in for a penis, due to its similar shape. Cueball's reaction is to ask whether the creators of this film intentionally got this wrong (perhaps as a joke, or active denial of the emoji's common usage because it wouldn't be appropriate for a kid's movie).
The line from the Wikipedia plot summary was a direct quote from Wikipedia. The sentence was introduced to the article by editor Voicebox64 on July 28, 2017, and the exact phrasing quoted in the comic came from editor SubZeroSilver on July 30. Cueball's response to hearing this line, stating that "it's possible this movie is bad", is likely due to the fact that piracy is the act of obtaining media illegally, generally without paying for it over the internet. This means that there is a very low chance of there being a 'piracy app', as an app such as this would not be allowed on any online app store. (A few piracy-focused apps do exist, like Popcorn Time, but they are not available in app stores for obvious reasons.) Jailbreak's design in the movie also does not bear a resemblance to hacker-like emojis at the time the movie was released (👩💻, 👨💻) or any existing emoji. (This lack of any existent hacker emoji, however, is addressed in the movie; when pressed on the topic, Jailbreak is revealed to be the princess emoji in disguise.) Furthermore, the blatant product placement of the protagonists' desires to use Dropbox, the proprietary software of a for-profit company, is the final nail in the movie's coffin in Cueball's opinion. The fact that Jailbreak's plans to live 'in the cloud' superficially match with Dropbox's cloud storage service does not salvage the concept.
The title text is an argument against the common prediction that emojis would lead to less nuanced communication, and as evidence it cites the thinking face emoji (🤔) and upside-down smiley (🙃), both of which are used in ways that have developed difficult-to-define nuances and meanings. In the first case, the thinking-face emoji is often used sarcastically -- for example, feigning confusion when presented with contradictory/hypocritical statements from the same source. The upside-down smiley also has specific usage, indicating a tone of silliness or even insanity, and is also often used sarcastically, such as when reacting to bad news.
- [Cueball and Megan are walking. Megan is checking her phone.]
- Megan: Reviews for The Emoji Movie are... not good.
- Cueball: People are just snobs about emoji. I like them! Language is cool and weird.
- [Zoom on Megan; Cueball is outside of the frame.]
- Megan: It's apparently 80% product placement.
- Cueball (off-screen): Whatever. So was The Lego Movie, and I liked that.
- [Zoom out; Cueball looks at Megan's phone.]
- Megan: It features the emoji we all know and love - with a "Meh" emoji in the starring role!
- Cueball: Wait... a "Meh" emoji?
- Megan: I wondered about that, too; the others are all familiar. Do they mean 😒? Or 😐 or 😕?
- Cueball: That's a little confusing...
- [Zoom in on both heads; Megan is looking at her phone.]
- Megan: There's a joke in the movie about the "emoji that no one uses" that includes the eggplant emoji.
- Cueball: ...was that on purpose? Or did they not run the script by enough people?
- [Megan and Cueball continue walking.]
- Megan: Here's a line from the Wikipedia plot summary:
- Megan: Gene and Hi-5 come to a piracy app where they meet the hacker emoji Jailbreak, who wants to reach Dropbox so that she can live in the cloud.
- Cueball: Okay.
- Cueball: It's possible this movie is bad.
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