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I found myself at the Emoji Movie this weekend and I had a lot of thoughts about this cartoon. If you haven’t seen ts movie and want to, spoilers! While it was adorable, and had some funny moments, I couldn’t help but to think how sad and technology obsessed that our society has become in today’s world. Who knew a kid’s cartoon about silly faces would actually make me more concerned for the future than how I felt before seeing the move. The Emoji Movie takes place in the world of a cell phone. Imagine that your cell phone is real and each app is a separate city or even country with their own rules and regulations. The Emoji live in the texting world, and work in an office with cubes. When the child who owns the phone picks an Emoji, then they are ready to work and the result is their famous faces appearing on the screen. The hero of the movie is Gene who is the “meh” Emoji. He has a horrible time being a “meh” face all of the time, despite the fact that he is supposed to only express one emotion at all times. Gene’s breaking the rules and expressing several emotions sets them down a path of destruction and chaos. It even gets several apps deleted resulting in the collapse of their world. Gene, leaves after getting into some trouble with his friend, Hi-5 to find Jailbreak, a hacker who can reprogram Gene to only have the one emotion he is supposed to! Pretty heavy themes for such an innocent looking movie!
Children having cell phones is a very controversial topic. Many of us understand that there is a very real problem with an addition to technology and cell phones are taking taking the place of personal relationships. Children, on the other hand, have a very hard time telling reality from make believe. We have all gone through it. Imagine growing up in the a world of manufacturing truths, and platforms where you can say or do anything and hide. We are giving this world to our kids, and now more than ever, it’s harder for adults to distinguish what is real in the news everyday. Imagine how hard it is for a child’s mind. Didn’t you think that Sesame Street was real and you could actually go visit? There are whole worlds inside of a cell phone, and many of them are very dangerous. It can be very dangerous to hand a child this technology and not keep it in check. No matter where you stand on this topic, we can all agree that the world online can be very dangerous, and it preys on children and the elderly.
Despite all of that, the Emoji Movie brings up a lot of interesting themes. The very fact that the Emoji’s in the movie have to remain only one emotion all of the time is very telling. These characters are literally living inside of a box and if they do anything that is out of character that means you are defective! That is very deep and could mean several things! This could be an illusion to mental illness, sexual orientation, or even just being an individual. Society tries to make you be one thing that fits perfectly inside a box. If you don’t act or think the way that you should, then it sends ripples through the everything. In the Emoji Movie, the first thing that happens when Gene “messes up his emotion,” several Emoji’s fall down and get bruised. His parents are watching and become embarrassed and everyone starts blaming him. This quickly goes to people labeling him as defective and needs to be erased to regain the order of their world.
This makes Gene and Hi-5, who is no longer a favorite and is suffering, sneak out and find the hacker Jailbreak who can help them both. As they weave through the phone and enter other app worlds, the leader is sending out bots to take care of them. This means they will be deleted. All the while, their whole world is in danger because Gene, Hi-5, and Jailbreak are interrupting other worlds and making the cell phone go off for the owner, a preteen. He sets up an appointment to have his entire phone cleared. The ripples of one changed emotion was so vast that it literally threatened their entire existence. This made those is charge in the Emoji world, so desperate, that they are willing to kill to stop this from happening. Are they telling us that our emotions need to remain in check or they will destroy us?
While this movie is fun, every app that these three visit malfunctions. What does this mean? That anyone who is different who try to live their own life are actually causing havoc? While the movie ends in a happy way, it resolution is actually pretty dark. People come to accept that Gene is special and that they all should be popular. Jailbreak, who ran away, is right back where she started, and Gene is back in his cube. After their journey, they learned that different doesn’t mean defective, but why did they get put back in a box? Not everyone is going to be popular, and not everyone needs to be placed into a box. The rules of their world say this is how things should be, so the Emoji’s are supposed to be living in their tiny box. It is hard to be an individual or different when your goal is to right back to where you started and try to fit in. There is no real progress, and no real point. While Gene struggled to change, he eventually is okay with who he is after he finds that his Dad has suppressed the same defect. Hi-5 is more about his friends than being popular, and Jailbreak gave up her goals and all her hard work for love. I had some respect for this character when she walked away and said she was going on her own journey. But, she had fallen for Gene and left it all behind to follow him back to the very place she worked so hard to get away from.
So, the message of this movie is if you are different, then you could destroy the world you live in, and those around you. If you aren’t popular, then you need to try to make that your number one goal. If you are a woman who is excellent at her job, you will easily give up all your hard work and your own goals for love. This movie can be taken at face value, but it really has some very dark themes. A child having the internet at their hands is scary enough, but the lessons are very sad. Being different means you need to learn how to conform. Being a strong women only goes as far as your feelings, and being popular is a big goal. This movie can be very fun, but it made me sad and concerned for society. The Emoji Movie is very dark despite some very bright faces.
What do you think? Have you seen the Emoji Movie and do you think it’s dark, or super happy? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!