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"The world we live in, it's so wonderous, mysterious, even magical. No, n-n-not that world...I meant this one: the smartphone. Each system and programmed app is its own little planet of perfect technology. All providing services so necessary, so crucial, so unbelievably profound."

The Emoji Movie is a 3D CGI film produced by Sony Pictures Animation and distributed by Columbia Pictures, released on July 28, 2017 (originally set for August 4th). It is the second theatrical film to be directed by Tony Leondis (known for Igor and the direct-to-video Lilo & Stitch 2: Stitch Has a Glitch). The film centers largely around the emoticons called emojis.

The film's setting is inside the core of a teenager's smartphone. One of the smartphone's residents is Gene (T.J. Miller), a meh emoji who discovers he has the ability to make multiple expressions, an ability that no other emoji has and one that proves to be dangerous to the entire smartphone. Destined to fit in with the rest of the emojis, he teams up with his friend Hi-Five (James Corden) and ends up on an adventure of a lifetime alongside the rebellious Jailbreak (Anna Faris), blazing through various smartphone apps and meeting other emojis along the way to discover his meaning.

It was first revealed under the working title Emojimovie: Express Yourself at CinemaCon 2016, a year after Sony won the rights to develop a movie based off the emojis. The teaser trailer can be viewed here. The first official trailer can be viewed here, and the second can be viewed here.


This film provides examples of:

    open/close all folders 

    A-H 
  • Aborted Arc: Whether or not Jailbreak has legitimate feelings for Gene but doesn't want to express things so soon, or whether she only likes him as a friend, is never truly resolved, as Gene expressing his feelings to her is never brought up again afterwards.
  • Absurdly High-Stakes Game: Casual cell phone games threaten to kill the protagonists if they lose.
  • Advertised Extra:
    • Poop is played by Sir Patrick Stewart himself and got his own character poster as well as appearances in most of the trailers and TV spots. He has about five lines in the movie, all of which are either puns or punchlines.
    • The same goes for the devil emoji, who got his own poster as well, despite having about as much screentime and lines as Poop (if not less).
  • All of the Other Reindeer: Gene is looked down upon among his fellow emojis because of his ability to make multi-facial expressions. Interestingly enough, many Emojis don't see this kind of behaviour as abnormal. There's also apparently a section in phones for dozens of emojis that either no one uses or are just misfits in general.
  • All There in the Script:
    • The Just Dance host, who while not named in the movie itself, is named in the credits as Akiko Glitter.
    • The Flamenco-dancing emoji that shows up several times is named Flamenca.
    • Alex's friend's name is Travis according to the credits.
    • And the teacher's name is Mr. Schnoebelen.
    • Though not in the credits, Addie is the only human character with a last name.
  • All Trolls Are Different: The phone has trolls living in it. It's presumably a reference to internet trolls, but those are people, not software.
  • An Aesop: Probably one of the most message heavy recent films. Be Yourself along with don't value freedom. There is also a feminist message, a message about how to be a supportive parent, an Indecisive Parody of Phoneaholic Teenagers, a lesson about not being a narcissistic jerk to everyone, a subtle Gay Aesop and to top it off, we get a good helping of Product Placement.
  • Appeal to Inherent Nature: Gene and Jailbreak's paths both involve learning that it's unacceptable to change the identity that they were born with. Even if said identities nearly cause the deletion of their home world or promote gender stereotypes.
  • Artistic License - Technology:
    • Alex is able to stop the factory reset process mid-way, a feat impossible under normal circumstances. The Emojis could still be recovered later on, as phones lack the capacity to delete their data.
    • The main conflict is that Alex needs to takes his phone to a store to get it factory reset when that's a basic feature of most phones.
    • As noted by more than a few reviewers, smartphones do not have Firewalls!
    • Emojis are not confined to SMS apps like the film seems to imply. All they are are blocks of Unicode, and can be placed anywhere that has a text field.
    • The princess emojis look nothing like their mobile counterparts.
    • The main plot point of "Emojis can only convey one emotion" is not exactly true. Ignoring that emojis can look entirely different depending on what device they're on, plenty of emojis have been used to express different things, either ironically or unintentionally (the eggplant emoji being a popular example of this). Yes, there's a lot of emojis that only have one meaning and are solely used for that meaning, but it's far from what the movie seems to portray.
    • Dropbox is far from "malware-free" like the movie states. Not saying they don't have procedures to prevent it from happening, but still.
    • The emoji are able to interact with Internet trolls, even though trolls are real people and not smartphone programs.
    • There's no such thing as a "hacker" emoji, and there's no equivalent. This is Foreshadowing to Jailbreak actually being a princess emoji.
    • One scene has Poop punching a fan emoji. Again, there's no such emoji.
    • Akiko Glitter looks nothing like an actual Just Dance character. For one, they don't have faces.
    • Smartphones do not use Recycle Bins for file deletion. It's much more streamlined.
  • Are You Sure You Want to Do That?: The phone store attendant asks Alex this if he really wants to delete everything on the phone. His response is simply, "Do it!"
  • Asshole Victim: The internet trolls spend all of their screen-time being obnoxious Jerkasses to the protagonists. When they end up getting sent to the dump, it's hard to feel sorry for them.
  • Author Tract: "MEN ARE ALWAYS GETTING CREDIT FOR WOMEN'S WORDS AND I'M SICK OF IT!" Uh, sure, Jailbreak.
  • Big Bad: Smiler, who attempts to have Gene erased.
  • Big Damn Movie: For Emoji, duh.
  • Big Red Button: Hi-5 has a compulsion to hit these.
  • Big "NO!":
    • Hi-5 screams this as he is in the trash, complete with a Skyward Scream.
    • Mel and Mary shout this as they throw themselves in front of Gene as Smiler's bot prepares to delete him. In contrast to Mel's which is loud and serious, Mary's is rather slow and drawn out, of the Slow "NO!" kind.
  • Big "WHAT?!": Gene screams this when Mel considers not letting him go to work. Overlaps with Double Take.
  • Broken Aesop: Taken to such extreme levels that it has its very own page.
  • But Thou Must!: In the text center, once an emoji is being scanned, it cannot be cancelled.
  • Celebrity Paradox: "Feel This Moment" plays during the Dance Party Ending, though Akiko Glitter is played by Christina Aguilera.
  • Close on Title: Though the opening credits are shown, the movie’s title isn’t displayed until before the credits start.
  • Clueless Aesop: People don't usually want smartphones that be themselves, they want phones that promptly follow their commands at all times. Thus, the movie presents an environment where it makes sense for Smiler to want Gene deleted for a relatively small transgression. And yet the movie never truly calls out this system based entirely around serving an owner, despite the fact that the Emojis were momentarily deleted.
    • Also, a film filled with constant Product Placement is a terrible way to get across social commentary about smartphones.
  • Curse Cut Short:
    • An ice cream Emoji tells a story about a falling out he had with his boss over his job, and says "It's such a load of—" before the camera pans to Poop.
    Poop: No. Go ahead. Finish that sentence.
    • When the giant robotic hand used to scan the emojis breaks down, the scene cuts to different emojis and their reactions, one of which is the Poop Emoji, who shouts out "OH SH-" before being cut off.
  • Cursed with Awesome: Gene's "malfunction" (the ability to change faces) allows him to evade the bots by making himself look like a different emoji.
  • Cute Kitten: Surprised Kitty makes a cameo.
  • Dance Party Ending: Of course this movie would have one. It's worth noting, however, that there's another dance-heavy sequence in the middle of the movie.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Gene's father, Mel Meh Emoji. Given that he's voiced by none other than Steven Wright, this makes complete sense.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: The store where Alex books his phone appointment is called "Wireless Wireless".
  • The Door Slams You: While Gene is in the men's room having a talk with his parents before going to work, a bathroom door slams him in the face to let Poop and his son out. When he gets hit, he makes the "dazed, x eyes" face.
  • Double Take: Gene does it, complete with a Big "WHAT?!", when Mel tells him he shouldn't go to work. Smiler later does one when Gene freaks out upon being scanned for Alex's text message to Addie.
  • Dreamworks Face: All over the place in the film's advertising.
  • Dull Surprise: The Meh parents can't even raise the pitch of their voices even when something dramatic is going on.
  • Easily Forgiven: Despite being temporarily blacked out of existence, most of the Emojis celebrate Gene as a hero because he fixes the problem that he himself caused.
  • Easily Impressed: Addie McAlister asks Alex out to the dance because his phone sent an emoji. This somehow makes Alex stand apart from the teenagers who constantly use their phones.
  • Exotic Eye Designs: The characters' eyes have a rather pixelated design on their irises, and the catchlights are light blue and rectangular, resembling phone screens.
  • Expy:
    • Jailbreak's outfit and personality are very reminiscent of Wyldstyle. Others have noted similarities in appearance to that of Chloe Price and Sombra. On top of that, she's highly derivative of Vanellope; a tough-talking female misfit who can hack the code of the electronic setting, and is secretly a princess.
    • A very early design for Akiko Glitter was pretty much just Hatsune Miku colored purple and with trousers instead of a skirt.
  • Eye Awaken: Gene has one as he is waking up inside the "special candy" jar and Hi-5 assures him that he's alive and well.
  • Fantastic Racism: Subverted, then played straight. At first nobody cares that Gene is walking down the street while making more than one facial expression. But just before he arrives for work, he is called out by a few Emojis for laughing. Then this is taken Up to Eleven as Smiler sends the bots to delete him for his special ability.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: Akiko Glitter screams and claws for her life as she is deleted. She is later shown in the trash, weeping, and is presumably erased from existence at midnight. Sweet dreams, children!
  • Female Angel, Male Demon: A female angel emoji is seen hanging out with a male devil emoji several times throughout the movie.
  • Flat Character: Pretty much all of the characters never undergo much Character Development throughout the film, especially Hi-5, who remains a narcissist even after learning the value of friendship. Alex stands out even more for not standing out, having no discernible character traits beyond being a generic teenager. And yet the film wants us to care about his romantic subplot with Addie.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Jailbreak is said to have helped a Princess emoji out and Hi-5 comments he never heard of a Jailbreak emoji before. Jailbreak turns out to be the Princess.
    • There are a few unnoticeable hints that Mel is a malfunction just like Gene:
      • After Gene destroys the text center and Smiler questions if he even is a Meh at all, Mel tells her he's his "spitting image".
      • While Mel and Mary are in the YouTube app and Mel notices the bots, he looks somewhat purely shocked rather than unamused.
  • Four Is Death: Alex's phone store appointment is at 4:00, which is when the phone is to be erased.
  • Four Lines, All Waiting: Count the subplots. Gene trying to conform and later learning to be himself. Jailbreak understanding that she shouldn't value freedom. Hi-5 learning to stop being a narcissistic jerk. And while this is going on, we Smiler's bots are hunting down Gene, Alex is trying to ask Addie to the school dance and Gene's parents are having relationship issues.
  • Full-Circle Revolution: Smiler's time in power was cut short during the climax and the other Emojis learn that it's perfectly acceptable to make more than one facial expression, yet the Loser Lounge hasn't been disbanded. The implication is that the Emojis are still segregated by their singular roles.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: A very literal case. See Curse Cut Short above.
  • Happy Ending: Everyone is a winner!
  • Help, I'm Stuck!: Gene says this word-per-word as, while at the same time, he gets stuck inside the Candy Crush gameboard.
  • The Hero's Journey: In Emoji form.
  • Humans Are Cthulhu: Almost literally. Phone users in this world are all-powerful overlords who, in Alex's case, are willing to get the phone reset, aka destroying the entire emoji world just because one of the emojis made a minor visual glitch, and cannot be defeated, escaped, or conquered, only temporarily appeased. Lovecraft would be proud.

    I-Y 
  • Idiosyncratic Wipes: The transition from outside Alex's school to the classroom is accompanied by various text bubbles filling the screen and slipping away. Later on, the transition from Candy Crush to outside the school is shown by the school dance banner wiping past the screen.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Gene's basic goal.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: This movie's main source of attempted comedy.
  • Indecisive Parody: This movie poorly attempts to poke fun of the excessive mobile phone usage of teenagers, but this is just used to set the stage for the actual story about Emojis. Not helping is that sending a text is what resolves the main problems and nobody learns to appreciate Real Life, making this phenomenon seem totally normal and harmless.
  • Individuality Is Illegal: Textopolis is a world where facial Emojis expressing a range of emotions is frowned upon and can even get them deleted.
  • Informed Ability: Jailbreak is supposed to be a superb hacker, but at no point in the movie do we actually see her display any sophisticated hacking abilities. Her two greatest displays of "hacking" ability in the movie - (guessing the password to Alex's firewall and deprogramming the bot to save Gene at the end) - are upstaged by Hi-5 of all people. Arguably this could be foreshadowing for the plot twist that she's actually a princess emoji, not a hacker emoji, but that's probably giving the writers far too much credit.
  • Inside a Computer System: Since a smartphone is technically a computer, this trope qualifies here, as the Emojis can travel from one app to another, which are worlds in of themselves.
  • The Internet Is for Cats: In the YouTube app, some anti-virus bots are bowing to a video of a cat.
  • In the Blood: Gene's "malfunction" turns out to have been inherited from his father, Mel, the latter of whom spent years trying as hard as he could to hide the fact from everyone, including his wife and son.
  • Is This Thing Still On?: When Smiler invites Gene back to the ampitheater:
    Smiler: Hi Gene, remember me, Smiler? I'm coming to you live from the ampitheater. Why don't you come back to Textopolis and we can talk through our differences, okay? My friend here will escort you, all right? I'm gonna see you soon, buddy. Bye now. [thinking the camera was turned off] We're actually gonna delete him in front of everyone.
    Smiler's assistant [whispers to Smiler]: Psst, it's still on.
    Smiler: It's still what? Oh, Jiminy Sassafras!
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: Jailbreak manages to pull one on Gene, convincing him to return to what he truly is in order to save the phone.
  • Killed Off for Real: Akiko Glitter. Doubles as a Family-Unfriendly Death.
  • Level Ate: The Candy Crush scene.
  • Limited Animation
  • Logo Joke: When the Columbia Pictures logo appears at the beginning, someone takes a picture of it with a smartphone and puts an emoji over the Torch Lady's face.
  • Lost Aesop: Good luck trying to discern what we were meant to learn. Is being yourself all about standing out in society, not caring what others think, or does it mean conforming to societal expectations and never changing your identity? The latter ties into the feminist lesson. Jailbreak is at first meant to be an independent minded female character who rejected the sexism of Textopolis, and forms her identity around this. And then we run into the lesson about not valuing freedom, which apparently means that she should fully embrace those exact same sexist gender roles.
  • Lost in Character: Mel can express other emotions, but becomes so used to being "meh" that he doesn't emote during his more dramatic scenes.
  • Lovecraft Lite: The film begins as something of a Cosmic Horror Story, when the emojis and their very livelihood are threatened by Alex's appointment to wipe his phone following Gene's screwup and the apps triggered by his quest. The emojis are completely powerless to stop him and are almost completely deleted as a result. But thanks to Jailbreak's encouragement and Gene's expressiveness creating an animated emoji, the world is saved from deletion, making it a case of this.
  • Method Acting: Taken to the extreme. Gene is pressured by Emoji society to act "meh" for his entire life just so that smartphones can generate pixelated images.invoked
  • Moral Dissonance: The movie works really hard to make sure you understand that Gene's an innocent victim and Smiler is a despicable control-freak dictator, despite the fact that everything she says about him is correct. Gene is not only directly responsible for the destruction of multiple apps, and for Alex wanting to wipe his phone, but he actually passes up several attempts to repair the damage he's caused (like when he leaves Akiko Glitter to die with the trolls, despite the fact that it was his fault she was there in the first place).
  • My Eyes Are Up Here: Said by the clock emoji when Gene encounters him on the way to the text center. There is no logical reason for this.
  • Never Say "Die": Instead of ordering the main characters "killed," Smiler orders them "deleted." Which is probably substituted for "die" in the smartphone world.
  • Never Trust a Trailer:
    • The theatrical trailer suggested that Gene was banished from the phone and sent to the loser lounge for flunking his first day on the job, instead of Gene having to flee into exile because of Smiler's bots being sent to delete him.
    • Some marketing material called Hi-5 "Gene's best friend" despite Gene never having met him until after he's first chased by Smiler's bots.
    • The scene in the trailer where Alex finds his phone mysteriously playing Candy Crush Saga during class is not in the movie. That was a few clips being edited into something way out of context.
    • Poop asking his son "What do we do after we go potty?" in the trailer is not in the film, instead saying "That's because I believe in you!" in response to his son bragging about working in the phone at the age of ten.
    • The scene where Hi-5 vomits up a candy corn and re-eats it despite Gene's warnings is shown during the Candy Crush scene in the trailer, while in the actual film, they are in the code shortcut just below the Just Dance app.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Gene's search to find the ability to just make simply one emotion actually results in several apps getting deleted and the entire phone getting erased temporarily.
  • Nice Mean And Inbetween: The main Power Trio of the film. Hi-5 is nice and friendly, and the first emoji to befriend Gene on his mission to become normal. Jailbreak is hot-headed and aggressive, and is overly determined to get the job done. Gene is in-between due to having multiple moods and also being not as snarky as Jailbreak, but more impulsive than Hi-5.
  • Not Good with Rejection: Gene enters a Heroic B.S.O.D. because Jailbreak rejects his advances, in part because of his antiquated views of romance.
  • Obviously Evil: Smiler. It's hard to be shocked by the fact that she's the villain when every single shot of her in the trailers is trying to tell you that she's bad. Aside from her being shown ordering the main characters' deletion, she's also shown picking her teeth with a meat hook at one point.
  • Oh My Gods!: Jailbreak says "Sweet motherboard" at one point in the film, and Smiler says "Jiminy Sassafrass."
  • Oh, the Humanity!: An emoji can be heard saying this after Gene destroys the text center.
  • One True Love: Gene sees Jailbreak as the one for him, even giving up his goal of working on the phone in order to be with her. He even alludes to the Fairy Tales. It hits hard when she rejects him, becoming a permanent "meh." This suggests that he felt entitled to her.
  • Orbital Shot: Gene and Jailbreak have one during a romantic moment in the Spotify app as they ride the quiet soundwave.
  • Opening Monologue: Gene gives one at the beginning of the film, introducing Textopolis and the emojis that live there, and explaining that he's a malfunction.
  • Overcrank: The scene where Gene inadvertently destroys the text center has one scene played out in slow motion.
  • Performance Anxiety: Gene panics over having to hold a Meh face for a few seconds, which kick-starts the main story.
  • Perpetual Frowner: Gene's parents.
  • Perpetual Smiler: Smiler, who is constantly doing despicable things with a permanent grin on her face.
  • Plot Hole:
    • Jailbreak hates sexism and gender stereotypes because she was once a princess emoji, and female emojis are only allowed to be princesses. Except that the film showcases multiple examples of female emojis who aren't tied to a gender-specific role, including Smiler and Gene's mom.
    • A glaring one is that Hi-5 knew where to find a hacker and didn't previously try contacting her to change his code, even though he had no qualms with leaving Textopolis.
  • Product Placement: Not just for the emoji iconsnote , but also for the real life phone apps that appear in the film including Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Shazam, and more. There's even whole sequences dedicated entirely to Candy Crush Saga and Just Dance, and Dropbox is a crucial plot point.
  • Protagonist-Centered Morality: Smiler is treated as a despicable Control Freak despite the dangers of an emoji making more than one face. Meanwhile, the film glosses over everything bad that Gene does, who doesn't even offer an apology. Gene leaves Akiko Glitter to die with the trolls, can't hold a face without panicking, feels entitled to fall in love with Jailbreak and his adventure actually accelerates Alex's decision to erase all the phone data.
  • Race Against the Clock: The latter half of the movie revolves around this as Gene and his friends have to stop the phone from being erased.
  • Really Royalty Reveal: During Just Dance, Jailbreak’s hair and hat fly off her head exposing brunette hair with a crown, revealing she’s really a princess emoji.
  • Red Alert: Poop says this as Alex is deleting the phone.
  • Real Women Don't Wear Dresses: Originally a princess emoji, Jailbreak despises the gender roles associated with them. This causes her to define her life in opposition to femininity, even down to rejecting romance. She seems to revert back to the exact opposite role by the film's end.
  • Recycled In Space: A number of people who say from the trailers started calling it different X Meets Y variations including:
  • Rapid-Fire "No!": By Gene as he is freaking out while Hi-5 and Jailbreak are trying to rescue him from Candy Crush. Later by Hi-5 when Alex's appointment approaches and he prepares to delete the phone.
  • Running Gag: A surprisingly subtle one, as everyone wipes their hand off after touching Poop.
  • Skewed Priorities: Their world is about to come to an end, so they debate societal norms instead of trying to find a last minute solution. Also, you would also think that Smiler would have exclaimed that she was right all along instead of just shouting that Emojis must not make more than one face.
  • Spit Take: Smiler does this twice when the Nerd emoji tells her about Alex's phone appointment to get the phone erased.
  • Stealth Pun: Gene is literally The Hero With A Thousand Faces.
  • Stepford Smiler: Smiler even smiles when she is angry.
  • Straw Feminist: Jailbreak spends the entire film rallying against how sexist she perceives the society she lives in to be, and then ends the film by conforming to said perceived sexist society by completely changing her personality to fit it, hereby making her look like a complete hypocrite.
  • Take That, Audience!: Kids these days, always using their phones, totally disconnected from Real Life. This comes across as being extremely hypocritical since the film panders to Phoneaholic Teenagers by jamming in as many technology and Internet references as possible. This is especially ironic considering that the writers take so many liberties with technology.
  • Talking Poo: Poop is a talking turd emoji.
  • Tertiary Sexual Characteristics: Frequently used to establish emojis as female.
  • Three... Two... One...: Jailbreak says this at the end of the film as Gene is being scanned for Alex's text message and shows off his multiple expressions.
  • Toilet Humor: Poop — voiced by Patrick Stewart — is a major character who lives and breathes this trope. Also, he has a son, and after they use the bathroom, they make a joke about washing their hands, before laughing it off and chanting "We're number two!"
  • Totally Radical: They actually tried to avoid falling into this trope by speeding up the production time. We all know how that turned out.
    • A very common complaint is how the film assumes teens and kids are all obsessed with smartphones and emojis, and tries to play to that interest. Matt Prigge of Metro US described the film as "The Poochie of movies."
    • A more specific example that happens in the movie itself is when YouTube is discussed. The clip shown is Pen Pineapple Apple Pen — a meme that, by the time the movie had premiered, had already been dead for roughly a year. Then again, that could be part of a joke.
  • Trailers Always Spoil:
    • The first main trailer gives away that Smiler is the villain.
    • The two trailers spoil the entire plot as well as the moral of the story.
  • Unmanly Secret:
    • Alex has Candy Crush Saga on his phone, much to his embarrassment when it suddenly turns when talking to Addie after school.
    • Alex also has a Just Dance app that he gets embarrassed when it suddenly turns on during class.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: If the villain had simply had her way, then the movie would be far shorter, and audiences would be better off as a result.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Smiler tries to delete Gene because she sees him as an existential threat to the safety of Textopolis.
  • Vague Age: The world of Textopolis exists in Alex's phone, meaning the city and everyone in it can't be more than a few years old, probably less than that. Despite this, there are somehow at least three generations of emojis living there and Gene and his friends all appear to be older than Alex. Maybe the emojis have shorter lifespans than humans?
  • Visual Pun: When the emojis panic upon learning of Alex's phone appointment, Poop is shown repeatedly punching a fan. In other words, poop hits the fan.
  • Vocal Dissonance: Jailbreak's high pitched voice doesn't match her generic tough girl archetype. Justfied because she was originally a princess Emoji who took on a different persona. This makes perfect sense, but this actually resulted from a casting change.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: Gene's special ability.
  • Win to Exit: This happens in the game apps.
  • Work Info Title: The Emoji Movie
  • Your Head Asplode: Jailbreak is concerned about matching Gene with a yellow super candy during Candy Crush that she briefly imagines him exploding inside the gameboard as a result of it.

And remember kids, words aren't cool.

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