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Headscratchers / The Emoji Movie

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  • Why is Smiler the villain again? She's simply trying to prevent the extinction of their phone's world.
    • After Gene screwed up, Smiler could easily have just told Gene to stay away from the scanner or something instead of immediately jumping to murder. Worse, she opts to have Gene and his father deleted, despite both of them having already overcome their malfunctions and are just normal emoji at that point. Even some of the other emoji (Poop) felt she was going too far. True, Gene did cause Alex to schedule the appointment, but it was simply due to him trying to live.

  • So...why doesn't Gene just make the face when he is being scanned and go about his day afterwards making whatever face he wants?
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    • He tried to make the face. He was just never able to keep it long enough.

  • If most emojis can only be males.. how come Gene has a mom and the LEADER of the emojis is a woman?
    • There's nothing in the standards that say emojis have to be male, although for some reason it seems Google, Samsung, Apple, Microsoft and all the other companies have unofficialy unanimously decided they are to be.

  • Why don't the emojis just use a camera instead of the scanner? That way, problems like Gene wouldn't happen.
    • It would be harder to transfer information from a camera - there'd be no depth information, for one. Also, there could be problems such as blurry images and lens smudges.

  • What happens if someone makes a text with like 30 smiley emojis? Would that mean there are literally 30 emoji people inside the phone?
    • Maybe the same emoji gets scanned multiple times.
    • Or maybe the scanner controllers are able to use the scanned information multiple times.

  • If the emojis are sentient, shouldn't all the letters and symbols on the keyboard of the phone be sentient too?
    • Maybe they are. But since Alex seldom texts actual words, they could all be hanging out at the retirement center with the emoticons.

  • Why didn't Smiler notice that Gene was making more than one facial expression when she was giving her introductory speech?

  • Why do emojis need to reproduce?
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    • They're not immortal. It's been established several times they age and can be killed.
      • If that's the case, then how long do emojis live? People tend to replace their phones every year or two, so that's not a lot of time for an emoji to get older and have children. For that matter, both of Gene's parents are Mehs. Why exactly does the phone need two emojis of the exact same emotion?
      • Alex could transfer his data when he gets a new phone. This creates an exact copy of the world, and the emojis can continue on as if nothing had happened. Because of this, the emojis need to make sure they grow, as they are like people in the smartphone world.

  • If Mel has the "malfunction" too, why does he still talk in monotone the entire movie?
    • He knows it's his job to be a "meh" emoji, so he has no reason to talk differently. We've seen how Gene is ostracized for making any other emotion.

  • If the face emojis have no physical option to make different faces, then why does Gene say "the pressure is on" for them to act one way through their entire life?
    • It could be that he is an Unreliable Narrator who is far too different to truly understand the world of Emojis.

  • What exactly created the "malfunction"?
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    • Gene's father has the same ability (changing expressions), and it was passed down to Gene, so maybe it was a mutation in whatever the emoji equivalent of DNA is.

  • How can an emoji be deleted?
    • Emojis can be removed and/or replaced with updates to the phone's software (OS). Or, if the phone is jailbroken/rooted (as Alex's is shown to be), this can be done through unofficial modifications.

  • Would a princess emoji's parents be a king and queen emoji? Or would they both be princesses? Are there male princess emojis? Is the child of a princess guaranteed to also be a princess?
    • The last speculation sounds the most plausible. Jailbreak explicitly states that female emojis can only be princesses so there probably aren't any male ones.

  • What were those entities identified as "trolls"?
    • Maybe bots?
    • Mayhaps the trolls we see are anthropomorphic representations of the accounts of real trolls that Alex has blocked in his phone’s YouTube app or something.

  • What happens inside the smartphone world if the phone is simply powered off?
    • Given you can't do anything on a phone that's off, every app probably gets frozen.

  • How can a total wipe of a phone be canceled and reversed simply by unplugging the phone from the store computer?
    • In Real Life you don't need to schedule an appointment or have your phone plugged in to wipe / factory reset, so evidently the tech in the movie works a bit differently from ours. Without knowing more it's hard to say, but even in our world cancelling a factory reset might simply net a loss of personal data.

  • What happens inside the smartphone world if an app crashes?
    • When an app crashes, all it's doing is closing itself. It's probably no different from when you close an app yourself.

  • Does the messaging app crash (in Alex's world) when there is chaos in Textopolis after the malfunction (Gene) is discovered?

  • Why didn't Gene and Hi-5 help Akiko out of the trash? They caused her app to be deleted, after all; they have some responsibility to fix the mess.
    • Akiko's app is gone, so if she was rescued, she would be homeless and out of a job.
    • Evidently Gene is a jerk and doesn't care because she had nothing to offer to his personal journey.

  • How does anyone even know Smiler is "the first emoji"?
    • The answer depends on what they mean by "first emoji". If it means "the first emoji listed on the phone's keyboard", then yes, she indeed is the "first emoji". If it means "the first emoji ever created" or "the first emoji to appear when the phone was first turned on", unless there were any witnesses to back up the claim, it's probably just propaganda.
    • Smiler might have meant she was the first emoji ever used by Alex. Which she may have taken to mean that she was a favorite, or being first chosen could be a thing of authority among emoji. With everything after that just being her taking advantage of Textopolis' inhabitants' naivety to place herself in charge.

  • Do emojis and other beings inside the phone go to the Cloud when they die (get deleted)? Is the Cloud the equivalent of Heaven for emojis, and is there an emoji equivalent of Hell?
    • The Could was never mentioned to be like heaven, it probably serves the same function as it does in Real Life.

  • Of all the emojis for Alex to send to Addie, why did he want to send a "meh"? "Well, I like this girl, so I'll send her a face that looks kind of disappointed."
    • "Meh" represents indifference. Sending a smiling or laughing face will come across as too eager. Basically, Alex it trying to do the text version of Unusually Uninteresting Sight.

  • Why does the "megabot" (the big bot at the end sent by Smiley as last resource) not kill Gene at once, just captures him and carries him to Textopolis where he would be executed in front of everyone incriminating Smiley?
    • Stereotypical answer, but... she wanted to gloat, and essentially hold Gene up to the other emojis like 'See! I'm right, this is what happens when you get out of line. You put all of us in danger with a factory reset.'

  • Jailbreak complains that female emojis can only be princesses or brides. Fair enough, except Smiler and Mary are both women and neither are princesses/brides. Heck, Smiler is explicitly stated to be the original emoji. What gives?
    • From the perspective of someoneone using the phone, smiley or meh emojis are gender neutral, and others are male default, for lack of a better term - there's a policeman emoji, but no policewoman, for example. Take note of what happens to Smiler when she's scanned - she shifts into normal, non-feminine emojis on the screen. That could have been more in line with Jailbreak's complaint—not that female emojis of other kinds don't exist in Textopolis, but that emoji only outwardly exist as female if said emoji is a 'female role', such as a bride or a princess.

  • Why do Gene and his parents have actual names, but other emojis are just referred to by what they symbolize or represent?
    • Well, we know that the other emojis have personal names - the Christmas Tree is named Tim, and the Devil one is named Steven, for two. Evidently everyone's just on a Last-Name Basis - perhaps reflecting their Japanese origins?

  • In the climax, why did Mel tell Gene that he was wrong for not believing in him in the first place? In the context of the film, he was right. He gave Gene the chance to prove himself and he royally screwed it up, and at that point, Gene has done nothing to fix any of the problems (most of which he caused) the emojis are currently faced with.
    • Likely the baggage and pressure of the fact that his father didn't trust him in this role contributed to Gene's breakdown, and if Mel had had more faith in his son from the start, things would have gone a lot smoother.
    • Or maybe Mel should have believed that Gene could have succeeded perfectly well an animoji, rather than as a Meh. Certainly Addie and her friend thought Gene was cool once they actually got a look at him.
    • Mel might've just been lying to comfort Gene. What else should he say? 'Gene...before we die...I just want to say that this is all your fault, you suck! I wish I'd used a condom!'

  • Jailbreak seems hypocritical. She wants to change what she is: a princess, but when Gene mentions he wants to change, she tells him to be what he is.
    • The difference is that Jailbreak didn't want to conform while Gene did. By telling him he's cool just the way he is, she's telling him that conforming to society's standards is overrated. It's better to be who truly are than be what society expects you to be.
      • But why did she decide to stay in Textopolis and not continue her dream of going to the cloud? She has the password no bots, just stroll down down to the Dropbox app.
      • One of her big reasons for leaving was that she just wanted to escape and be free of her restrictions. She went back because she learned to not value her own freedom and went to save Gene. Now that being yourself isn't a problem in Textopolis, she can live an easier life.

  • Why did Gene ask "where's Hi-5?" when he just witnessed him being taken away by a bot?
    • Maybe he wanted to know where he went when the app got deleted, or where the phone's trash bin was.
    • Given the only plausible explanation was that his new friend died in front of his eyes, likely he was just in denial.

  • How come the first time Gene makes multiple expressions while being scanned, the image sent is one of a still image, but when he does it again in the climax, the image is now animated?
    • In the first scan Gene was panicking so the scanner probably had a hard time trying to work out all the details.

  • How did Gene try and take credit for Jailbreak's "idea" of using Gene's multiple facial expressions to get past the firewall? He figured out what her plan was after explaining the firewall bit, but before she told him about his role. He never suggests it was his idea either.
    • She jumped to conclusions that Gene was going to pull a Glad I Thought of It. She also did mention that she (emphasis, she) wanted to finish saying her plan.

  • Alex starts deleting apps when they start making random noises. Why doesn't he try force quitting his apps first or turning his phone off and then on again before deleting them altogether (it's possible to download them all over again, but still)?
    • Panic caused him to just do the first solution he thought of?

  • Why did Alex want to DELETE his phone? He never uses the word "reset" once; which would imply he intended to render the phone completely inoperable by deleting EVERYTHING, right down to the OS' source code. Why not just reset it?
    • There's probably an implied "and start over" in there. Plenty of people say "delete" and mean "wipe the hard drive, download a fresh copy of the OS and install". As for why? Deleting makes sure whatever problem you're having that led you to opt for deletion will somehow survive and carry over.

  • So Akiko Glitter is supposedly left to rot in the phone's trash bin because Gene didn't bother trying to save her. But does the movie ever say that she was actually completely deleted? Couldn't Alex just take Just Dance out of the trash and resurrect her?
    • Why would he? If an app suddenly freaks out on you, would you want to bring it back without knowing what caused the freak out?

  • So, Gene is the son of two Meh emojis, right? But what if two emojis of different types have a child together? Will the child just randomly take after one parent or be a combo of both or what?
    • Could be that's where Mel got his multiple-expression abilities.

  • Why were Poop and Poop Jr in the same stall at the start of the movie? Junior is supposed to be ten, so shouldn't he be able to use the bathroom on his own?
    • They may have gone into the stall so Poop Sr could give Poop Jr a last pep-talk in private, not just to use the facilities.

  • Why is the factory reset a big deal at all? Aren't emojis something that come with the phone by default? Like, yeah, Alex is resetting his data, but all the emojis are absolutely still gonna be there. Is it a situation where they're all gonna die and be replaced with emojis that have the same function but different personalities or something?
    • Yes. See the above headscratcher on why Alex plans to delete and not reset his phone; the emojis are probably going to be replaced with fresh new copies.

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