Imagine that you live in a world where everyone must show only one emotion at all times. All your friends and family must be eternally happy, eternally sad, or eternally angry. If they feel other emotions, they must be careful to never show it on their faces. To do otherwise risks the destruction of their very world.
This is the dystopia of The Emoji Movie.
Your life is perhaps even bleaker than the lives of all your friends because you are a meh emoji named Gene. The only emotion that you are allowed to express is the emotion of meh which is perhaps best described as the lack of emotion. You cannot show joy. You cannot show rage. You cannot show love, sorrow, or fear. You can only show meh.
This is because you are nothing more than an emoji on the phone of a fourteen-year-old boy named Alex. And this is not some Toy Story scenario where genuine affection is possible between a human child and his inanimate playthings. Alex is an indifferent god who cares nothing for your existence because you are just a stupid emoji on his phone. Everyone in your world must shape their lives and their very selves around Alex’s primary goal – impressing his crush. That’s right. Your continued existence depends on you helping a teenage boy flirt with a girl.
Truly, this is hell.
Because this is something resembling a story, you naturally end up making a disturbing face rather than the meh expression that is your directive. Alex makes an appointment to “delete his phone.” An emoji named
Dolores Umbridge posing as an Instagram celebrity Smiler decides that you are a malfunction. She sends her bots to take you out. You must leave your home of Textopolis and venture out into the farthest reaches of Alex’s smartphone.
What ensues is a chase through several commercials for phone apps. This is where the movie starts to push its kid-friendly message of being yourself or friendship or something. But I think we all know that this is a fiction designed to offer comfort to the children in the audience. There is truly no place in the emoji world for an emoji who is himself.
In the end, you are deleted as a malfunction and replaced with a nearly identical meh emoji. No one mourns you. No one even notices your absence. Textopolis is saved.
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