03rd Aug2017

Culture Dump #2: The Emoji Movie & the End of Originality

by Simon Bland


The Emoji Movie hit cinemas this week, proving that if you try hard enough you can make a film out of literally anything. The very fact that this movie exists is a pretty sad state of affairs but its arrival isn’t all we should be focusing our attention on. It doesn’t matter what happens in the film (understatement of the year) or even if it’s any good (oh, it’s not). The important thing to consider this week is why a film like this came about in the first place. Has the barrel been scraped so dry that a fully fledged feature based on text message add-ons can pass as entertainment? By the looks of it, the answer is yes.

But the problem runs a little deeper than that. The movie industry seems so afraid of original thought these days that they’ll actually turn to fodder like this as a solution. It’s not the first time it’s happened either. How many times over the years has the internet done a collective face palm at the idea of a Monopoly, Tetris or Angry Birds film being developed. Undeniably there are exceptions to the rule. 2015’s The Lego Movie was far funnier and smarter than it had any right to be, something which came down to careful scriptwriting in the hands of a duo destined for bigger things but not all those on the development line get such care and attention or even hold the scope to tell a tale more inventive than their initial pitch.

Remember in the 80s when we had films like Robocop, Gremlins, The Dark Crystal or the batshit crazy antics of Big Trouble in Little China? Each was based on a collection of ideas plucked out of pure creativity. Scant budgets and dodgy acting may have filled in the gaps and added to their charm but you can’t knock their spirit of originality. They inspired future generations, planted seeds of inspiration and actively added to popular culture instead of just feeding off it and asking for a pat on the back.

Cut to 2017 and while we’re blessed with the technical know-how to bring literally any kind of story to photo-realistic life, we find ourselves using that power to imagine what the fucking poo emoji does during his down time. It’s a backwards step and one that extends further with the recent trend to unnessesarily explore back stories of beloved characters for no discardable reason, tweaking canon and impacting the way they’re perceived. What did Willy Wonka do before he owned that chocolate factory? No idea, mate. Maybe he had to do things he’s not proud of to afford the deposit for that massive factory. In fact, how did he managed to get a tribe of little people to work for him for zero pay? Best not to check, we’re not sure we want to know. Let The Emoji Movie’s failure be a warning sign to all of us. It’s time to get a little more creative with our idea generation.

Agree? Disagree? Did you actually enjoy The Emoji Movie? Let me know in the comments below!

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One Response to “Culture Dump #2: The Emoji Movie & the End of Originality”

  • Jason

    While I agree that more originality is needed in Hollywood, part of me can’t blame the studios because the general audience is luke-warm to original ideas. There are exceptions as for every Baby Driver there are ten more Valerian movies that bomb at the box office. I’m not sure how to correct that but it definitely is an issue in Hollywood…but we can all agree that the Emoji Movie never should have been made. That was a horrible idea that never should have crossed their minds.