An Icon of Lost Potential

Emoji

 

In today’s world, the phone isn’t used quite as the inventors pictured, with actual calling being replaced by texting and snapchat.  But one item has been developed to replace the words that are too difficult to write: Emojis. In desperation, Sony has developed a film about these icons in an attempt to break the bank with another hit animated series.  Can they succeed, or will this movie be nothing but a bombardment of sad faced emojis?  Robbie K here to answer that question for you with another review.

 

LIKES:

 

The Animation:  You can say a lot of negative things about the movie, but one plus for this reviewer is the beautiful display Sony’s team has designed.  Like many movies, the characters move with fluid grace, transitioning through their adventure with little jumpiness.  High Five (James Corden) in particular has impressive moves, as having a hand expand beyond simple hand movements can be tricky business.  In addition, I enjoyed the visualization of the world within our phone, finding clever design in the development of the internal universes of each app (primarily Instagram’s frozen pictures).  I’ll admit, the characters aren’t realistic like Pixar, or even super creative design, but there is cleverness in the world itself.

 

It’s Cute:  When it comes to cartoons/animated marvels, the pendulum can swing to either side of the age spectrum.  Fear not those with little kids, this movie is certainly geared towards the younger side, filled to the brim with color, simplistic jokes, and over the top slapstick that will make many giggle.  Sure, there are a few drier jokes that adults will get, but for the most part this movie goes back to basics for family friendliness.  One won’t have to worry about inappropriate gestures or innuendos in this film.

 

The Morals:  Movies are a powerful tool to teach the lessons we humans are too ignorant to learn from mentors, school, and the quickly fading trend of reading.  Emoji’s movie solid lesson of being yourself and not conforming to the traditional ways is as good rehash of the traditional lesson.  Those who stand out from the norm will find great relevance to Gene (T.J. Miller)  and Jailbreak’s (Anna Faris) quest and most likely grab on to the characters.  It’s also always good to see a lesson in friendship as well, quoting the movie as “Better to have one good friend, than a bunch of fake fans followers”.  The strong emphasis on this will hopefully break through the persistent firewalls of your subconscious and get you contacting your buddies.

 

DISLIKES:

 

Story:  Despite the morals infused into the story, the overall quality of Gene’s tale is very basic at best.  The Emoji movie has little sustenance to it, diving more into cramming the jokes in the short run time. After all the world building I had hoped for a little more depth to navigating the apps, facing the dangers of the cyber terror that lurk in our phones. I wanted suspense! I wanted exploration of a selection of apps. I wanted an adventure that had a little more depth behind it. I got very little of that.  All the obstacles they faced were fairly easy to circumvent, and often not worth mentioning at how lame they were. Certainly, they did a few things right (Just Dance 4), but for the most part, it was a huge loss of potential at decoding the craziness of our obsession with phones.

 

Humor:  Humor can be fun when balanced, but unfortunately Emoji movie lacks that balance, once again swinging the pendulum to the younger audience.  Most of the jokes are very simple statements that lack any finesse, or decent delivery to maximize the laughs. Much of the humor is dry, and although has adult components, lacks that clever zing that other films/programs do. James Corden rectifies this a little with High Fives self-absorbed personality, but even his banter gets stale after a while.  With all of the comedians in this movie, I really had expected more of this movie, but again missed potential.

 

Boring: If you haven’t gleamed it from the first two categories, then this should sum this up, Emoji movie is boring. There is no suspense to the adventure, and let’s face it no point, to the challenges at hand.  I found myself looking at the clock wondering how much longer I had in the ridiculous presentation of smart phone gimmicks.  Cute is always great, but it is better left to YouTube and Kid shows that are in short spans of time. Without the jokes to back it up, nor an impressive voice performance, there is just little to scream entertainment outside of watching a child’s smile light up at the colorful presentation.

 

The VERDICT:

 

You’ve seen the reviews of my colleagues, and they aren’t far from the truth… Emoji movie was a miss for Sony in terms of quality.  The lackluster jokes, lack of challenge, and reserved wit were not the right steps to take in this inconsistent adventure for success.  In fact, the best thing of this film is the animated short for Hotel Transylvania that precedes it.  Still, if you are looking for a safe, family trip to the movies, you’ve got the Emoji movie to save your bacon.  However, I highly recommend reserving this one for Netflix. 

 

My scores are:

 

Animation/Adventure/Comedy:  4.0

Movie Overall:  2.0  

Baking This Bun Is Fun: Comedy Meets Romance

bridget-jones-3

            We all love a good love story in one form or another. Whether it takes the form of a realistic relationship or drops into the make believe perfection of a Nicholas Sparks movie, Hollywood is happy to play on affection for entertainment. And this weekend another sequel attempts to make us oooh and ahh only this time adding a little “bump” in the road. I speak of Bridget Jones’ Baby, the latest installment in the single woman’s legacy starring Renee Zellweger and her lovely ensemble. So let’s get started shall we?

 

Likes:

  • Surprisingly witty comedy
  • Acting chemistry
  • Well paced plot

I can’t lie that I went into this movie with low expectations, after all it’s been 15 years since the last movie and a lot can change. However, age hasn’t stopped our writers from placing some clever comedy in the 2-hour runtime. The dialogue has plenty of quips thrown at our cast, meant to poke fun at our characters quirks and qualities. In addition, our characters throw jabs at various movements, popular trends, and media ploys that prove just how ridiculous we humans can be. But the laughs are not limited to just dialogue. Bridget Jones tale is filled with situational awkwardness, a well-designed soundtrack to mirror scenes, and a little slapstick to liven things up. A majority of the comedy has wit and timing to maximize laughs, but there are plenty of stupid moments that are good for a quick chuckle.

Writing aside, the three actors played their characters extraordinarily well and certainly brought the words to life. Renee Zellweger reprises her role as the single spinster transitioning into a new role, managing to bring all of Bridget’s qualities out of storage while evolving her character. Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy is yet another notch in the stuffy, English gentleman belt that he still plays fantastically even after the tenth reiteration. And newcomer Patrick Dempsey is a welcome addition to the world, bringing a new twist on the more fun side of life that Hugh Grant once played. These three certainly play well together, able to form a reverse Archie Comics love triangle that so many will love.

In regards to the plot, again I was surprised by how much I wasn’t annoyed by this love story. We know many romance tales are about drawing out the drama because our characters are too shy to commence their feelings until some episode, usually alcohol, leads to sex and the tension breaking. Not the case for this film, as our crew was able to cram so much romance into a short running time and keep the plot moving that it was entertaining to watch. Nice job guys!

 

Dislikes:

  • Very Formulaic at times
  • Sometimes a bit too preachy and silly.

 

I’m probably going to be berated on this, but Bridget Jones still follows the formulaic, love ritual that the genre has become. Much of the story is predictable, with our cast of characters falling into the typical pitfalls and romantic gestures that audiences continue to eat up. You can see the ending coming a mile away at whom she will choose and I only hoped I was wrong so I could be surprised. In addition, the jokes sometimes do get predictable and lost their punch for me (not the case for a lot of the audience). Oh well at least it is safe for fans of the series and will certainly deliver the expected. Still I was hoping for a little more twist to the familiar tale.

Another dislike for me was the preachiness of the film at times. I’m all for the revolutionary movements (e.g. equal rights, kindness towards others, and single moms) but to have my face smeared in over aggressive montages takes away from the magic for me. My least favorite moments involved Bridget’s mother, because it was forced comedy focused on pointing out how different certain people were. Come on people, put the message in the movie without making a spectacle of it, we know that’s not the most constructive means. In addition, the whole you can do it as a single mom was kind of pointless in this movie as she continued to pine over her two suitors without much hesitation. If you are again going to take extreme measures about promoting an image, follow through with it please. Regardless, the grandiosity of the movie wasn’t my favorite aspect at times, but the comedy was able to dilute some of it.

 

The Verdict:

            Overall, I’m happy to say that Bridge Jones’ Baby was one of the more enjoyable romantic comedies I have seen in a while. The comedy is by far the best part of this, and although raunchy and stupid at times, is dynamic and fun to say the least. In addition the chemistry of the actors alongside the fast moving plot only further enhances the fun of this adventure. But again it is formulaic and overly preachy at times, much of which is geared toward the intended audience that was often eye -rolling to me. Worth a trip to the theater? I have to say yes this a movie worth the price for how much fun it is, especially for fans of the series, middle-aged women and older, or those who appreciate feminine comedy. Otherwise catch this one on RedBox when it hits bins in a few months.

 

My scores are:

Comedy/Romance: 8.0-8.5

Movie Overall: 7.0