1870: Emoji Movie Reviews

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Emoji Movie Reviews
There's this idea that emoji are bad for communication because they replace ambiguity and nuance with a limited set of preselected emotions, but it doesn't really survive a collision with real-world usage of the thinking face or upside-down smiley.
Title text: There's this idea that emoji are bad for communication because they replace ambiguity and nuance with a limited set of preselected emotions, but it doesn't really survive a collision with real-world usage of the thinking face or upside-down smiley.


This comic discusses reviews of The Emoji Movie (previously covered in 1857: Emoji Movie) between the cynical, Internet-equipped point of view of Megan and Cueball's language-enthusiasm. They ultimately agree the movie is bad.

The Emoji Movie was released to theaters in late July 2017 and received nearly universally-negative reviews. It is particularly notable for having a rating below 10% on the review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes. Many critics of movie point to superficial problems like the subject matter and the product placement. Here, that train of thought is articulated a bit more, and ultimately it's argued that the real reason the film is bad is because the creators cashed in on a trend without doing any research into it.

When Megan first mentions the movie's negative reviews, Cueball initially accuses the audience of being overly judgmental of the subject matter. He further expresses his fondness for emoji as an interesting and quirky part of language.

Cueball offers an early defense of The Emoji Movie by comparing it to The Lego Movie, which – despite effectively being an entire movie of product placement for Lego – received generally positive reviews.

They start talking about a "Meh" emoji, who is the main character of the movie. The idea of "meh" as an emoji is actually ambiguous, as various emoji can be used to describe being unimpressed or neutral towards something. As given in examples from comic those are πŸ˜’ (U+1F612 Unamused face), 😐 (U+1F610 Neutral face) or πŸ˜• (U+1F615 Confused face). The selection of a less identifiable emoji for the leading role also contrasts with the fact that the movie also features more iconic emojis.

Megan mentions that one of the attempted jokes in the film is a room full of emojis that are unpopular. Bizarrely, the eggplant emoji (πŸ†, U+1F346 Aubergine) is featured among them. This is a clear sign that the creative team in charge of this movie had limited first-hand experience with SMS messaging; as any frequent user of emoji will tell you, the πŸ† is a sly stand-in for a penis, due to its similar shape. [1] Cueball's reaction is to ask whether the creators of this film intentionally got this wrong (perhaps as a joke, or active denial of the emoji's common usage because it wouldn't be appropriate for a kid's movie).

The line from the Wikipedia plot summary was a direct quote from Wikipedia. The sentence was introduced to the article by editor Voicebox64 on July 28, 2017, and the exact phrasing quoted in the comic came from editor SubZeroSilver on July 30. Cueball's response to hearing this line, stating that "it's possible this movie is bad", is likely due to the fact that piracy is the act of obtaining media illegally, generally without paying for it over the internet. This means that there is a very low chance of there being a 'piracy app', as an app such as this would not be allowed on any online app store. (A few piracy-focused apps do exist, like Popcorn Time, but they are not available in app stores for obvious reasons.) This plot point is made more ludicrous as there is no hacker emoji, or even an emoji that could be mistaken for one. Jailbreak's design in the movie also does not bear a resemblance to any existing emoji. Furthermore, the blatant product placement of the protagonists' desires to use Dropbox, the proprietary software of a for-profit company, is the final nail in the movie's coffin in Cueball's opinion. The fact that Jailbreak's plans to live 'in the cloud' superficially match with Dropbox's cloud storage service does not salvage the concept.

The title text is an argument against the common prediction that emojis would lead to less nuanced communication, and as evidence it cites the thinking face emoji (πŸ€”) and upside-down smiley (πŸ™ƒ), both of which are used in ways that have developed difficult-to-define nuances and meanings. In the first case, the thinking-face emoji is often used sarcastically -- for example, feigning confusion when presented with contradictory/hypocritical statements from the same source. The upside-down smiley also has specific usage, indicating a tone of silliness or even insanity, and is also often used sarcastically, such as when reacting to bad news.


[Cueball and Megan are walking. Megan is checking her phone.]
Megan: Reviews for The Emoji Movie are... not good.
Cueball: People are just snobs about emoji. I like them! Language is cool and weird.
[Zoom on Megan; Cueball is outside of the frame.]
Megan: It's apparently 80% product placement.
Cueball (off-screen): Whatever. So was The Lego Movie, and I liked that.
[Zoom out; Cueball looks at Megan's phone.]
Megan: It features the emoji we all know and love - with a "Meh" emoji in the starring role!
Cueball: Wait... a "Meh" emoji?
Megan: I wondered about that, too; the others are all familiar. Do they mean πŸ˜’? Or 😐 or πŸ˜•?
Cueball: That's a little confusing...
[Zoom in on both heads; Megan is looking at her phone.]
Megan: There's a joke in the movie about the "emoji that no one uses" that includes the eggplant emoji.
Cueball: ...was that on purpose? Or did they not run the script by enough people?
[Megan and Cueball continue walking.]
Megan: Here's a line from the Wikipedia plot summary:
Megan: Gene and Hi-5 come to a piracy app where they meet the hacker emoji Jailbreak, who wants to reach Dropbox so that she can live in the cloud.
Cueball: Okay.
Cueball: It's possible this movie is bad.

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There are many ways that a movie can be bad. It could have uninteresting characters, a bad plot, stupid dialogue, poor filming etc. Very likely the Emoji movie suffers from all of these problems. I should add that Jar Jar Binks from Star Wars fame was widely hated by anyone over 8 years old but my 5-year-old loved him. Could the same thing be true for Emojis? Rtanenbaum (talk) 18:00, 31 July 2017 (UTC)

So, similar to the minions movie series? 20:00, 31 July 2017 (UTC)
The minions and the "prequel" (I don't know the english title) are not only watched and enjoyed by children - at least in Germany - but also by young adults.
Es gibt kein Prequel zu den Minions. Die Minions sind das Prequel zu "Ich, einfach unverbesserlich", also "Despicable Me". 11:08, 2 August 2017 (UTC)
I can see how happy pills would be popular among the Germanic depressives. :P 20:37, 31 July 2017 (UTC)
Of the Star Wars prequels, the one which had the most of Jar Jar Binks was the first one, whose English name was Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. And you should note that Rtanenbaum wasn't talking about the whole movie, but specifically the character of Jar Jar Binks (the clutz alien with long floppy ears). Plus, I think most adults (or "anyone over 8 years old") hated him for how he spoke, so other language adaptations might have made him better, LOL! NiceGuy1 (talk) 04:03, 1 August 2017 (UTC)
Well, at least not in Germany XD Elektrizikekswerk (talk) 06:24, 1 August 2017 (UTC)

Sorry, does anyone genuinely believe that the writers would not actually know about the eggplant? Out of dozens, nay hundreds of useless icons, this one would have been unconsciously selected by random chance? (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Cueball even asks, "was that on purpose?". (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Possible title text explanation: The idea doesn't survive in the real world because (A) people typically don't express emotion by turning their head upside down, and (B) it's rare that you run into a person who is thinking (a very jaded, cynical view of humanity popular among internet users). 14:43, 1 August 2017 (UTC)

I think probably the title text is more trying to emphasize the fact that emoji can be used in ambiguous/nuanced ways, as much or more than other methods of communication. Berets (talk) 22:33, 1 August 2017 (UTC)

Considering the last comic also happens to be about reviews, is it possible Randall made a subtle comment about the Emoji Movie in 1869? 17:43, 1 August 2017 (UTC)

Am I the only one, wanting to watch that movie now, in order to actually verify and explain the plot summary for this site, and to be able to make a first hand guess wether the egggplant joke was a joke?

You are not alone, LOL! This comic actually gave me interest in seeing the movie, I had virtually no interest before this. :) NiceGuy1 (talk) 03:03, 4 August 2017 (UTC)
Am I alone? After reading some news articles, wiki, and this comic I know I really do NOT need to see this movie. And furthermore I even don't need Emojis... ;-) --Dgbrt (talk) 12:38, 4 August 2017 (UTC)--Dgbrt (talk) 12:38, 4 August 2017 (UTC)

I'm not a big emoji user, so I never knew the eggplant was a penis-representative. But this quote: "... a sly stand-in for a penis, due to its similar shape." had me wondering. No penis I know looks like that (the emoji itself), unless the writer has a familiarity with saline-injection porn! These Are Not The Comments You Are Looking For (talk) 02:55, 6 August 2017 (UTC)

"there is a very low chance of there being a 'piracy app', as an app such as this would not be allowed on any online app store." Unless it's a piracy app store. Android allows to install apps from APKs, and jailbroken iphones -- from IPA files, I think. ShareDVI (talk) 08:14, 7 August 2017 (UTC)

Was Sausage Party 'trying to be controversial on purpose'? I didn't see it, but it just looked like a typical adult comedy to me. PvOberstein (talk) 18:14, 14 August 2017 (UTC)