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The Emoji Movie review – a big thumb down

This corporate clickbait exercise pretends to be a film for kids, but is actually trying to cross-sell apps to a tween audience

Children should not be allowed to watch The Emoji Movie. Their impressionable brains simply aren’t set up to sift through the thick haze of corporate subterfuge clouding every scene of this sponsored-content post masquerading as a feature film. Adults know enough to snort derisively when, say, an anthropomorphic high-five drops a reference to popular smartphone game Just Dance Now (available for purchase in the App Store, kids!), but young children especially are more innocent and more vulnerable.

The Emoji Movie is a force of insidious evil, a film that feels as if it was dashed off by an uninspired advertising executive. The best commercials have a way of making you forget you’re being pitched at, but director Tony Leondis leaves all the notes received from his brand partners in full view. The core conceit apes Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas, where a spirited misfit hops between self-contained worlds styled in a single recognisable way. Instead of holidays, however, our hero here jumps from app to app, and the ulterior motive of pumping up download numbers drains every last drop of joy from Leondis’s efforts to enchant.

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