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The Emoji Movie (4K UHD Blu-ray Review)

Bad ideas, bad ideas, bad ideas. Phil Lord and Chris Miller are the guys who tend to take bad ideas and make them into great things. Though, with their firing from Solo: A Star Wars Story, I’m not so sure of even that any more. They had nothing to do with The Emoji Movie, but I imagine if they did, I probably would have found interest in this movie’s release. Instead, like many people, its an eye-roller for me. Although, look, I get it. I understand there can be dollars to be made here. I understand it’ll probably be strictly for people who are younger than ten years old. I’m also a parent. I also have kids who wanted to see this movie, which magically we didn’t make it to the movie theater to see. But, here it is, on the glorious 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray format for us to consume for the very first time, in the confines of our own home. Will I survive? I don’t know. Its available now, as Sony made this release available on the format on October 24th. 

Film 

Hidden inside a smartphone, the bustling city of Textopolis is home to all emojis. Each emoji has only one facial expression, except for Gene, an exuberant emoji with multiple expressions. Determined to become “normal” like the other emojis, Gene enlists the help of his best friend Hi-5 and a notorious code breaker called Jailbreak. During their travels through the other apps, the three emojis discover a great danger that could threaten their phone’s very existence.

For what a sham of a reason this movie has to exist, it sure cast a boatload of people I love to be in it. Unfortunately, this all really doesn’t work because of such a bad and trite script that their enjoyment just can’t be had. Not only is this film based on the pop culture fad of Emoji’s, the dialogue is full of crappy modern slang and garbage jokes about such stuff that just doesn’t land and makes you truly find out just how far your eyes can roll back into your head. This was probably written over a weekend, with the only demand being to include as much “basic bitch” pop culture garbage as you can. Seriously, and the plot also deals in stupid apps, the cloud and all other nonsense. Its not clever, just lame.

My kids…my kids…my kids. What did they think about it? Well, its a new cartoon movie, so they’re easily sold. Both of them told me that they thought it was good.  However, watching it, both were quiet and paid attention the whole time, but it was more just dead stare. There wasn’t much in terms of laughter, enjoyment or energy coming from them.  They were much more over the moon for the Hotel Transylvania short that I played for them before we started the movie.

The Emoji Movie is pretty much everything you’re expecting it to be. Its strictly for children, though even at that its a dung heap. Though, as a parent, believe it or not, I have seen and had to endure far far far worse than The Emoji Movie. Your kids will likely enjoy it and you’ll find yourself maybe at half a snicker a couple of times during it. Overall, if you can get out of seeing it, do. If you have to sit through it, you’ll live. But what matters most is whether the kids like it or not.

Video 

Encoding: HEVC/ H.265

Resolution: 4K (2160p)

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1

Layers: BD-66

Clarity/Detail: Sometimes these animated movies don’t come across with a much stronger image than the Blu-ray counterpart. With this one being a 2K upscale, that’d be a reason to assume this would be no different. However, everything is a noticeable jump from the lesser format. You’ll notice its darker, and there’s a lot of people thinking brighter>better, but that’s an illusion. There are a lot more details and color saturation, to go with natural blacks on display along with the crisper, sharper image. While I didn’t care for the film, it looked good!

Depth:  Everything looks wonderfully three dimensional and has good spacing between the foreground characters and those in the background. Movements are smooth with no distortion issues in rigid movements.

Black Levels: Blacks are deep and good at defining an image and shading. The pictures, as mentioned, is darker due to the HDR, but it also brings a better image. No crushing witnessed during the viewing for this review.

Color Reproduction: Colors have nice strong palette here. The HDR allows for much more saturation, strength in its realistic capabilities as well as the bolder ability to pop a bit. They don’t strike as bright as the Blu-ray, but they do have many more nuances, tints and shades to make  more full image. Reds, greens, purples and blues can all be mesmerizing in this picture with their glow.

Flesh Tones: N/A

Noise/Artifacts: Clean

Audio 

Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos (English 7.1 Dolby TrueHD Compatible, English Audio Descriptive Service, Catalan 5.1 Dolby Digital, French 5.1 Dolby Digital, German 5.1 DTS-HD MA, Portuguese 5.1 DTS-HD MA, Spanish (Castilian) 5.1 DTS-HD MA, Spanish (Latin American) 5.1 Dolby Digital, Turkish 5.1 Dolby Digital

Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, German, Portuguese, Spanish (Castilian), Spanish (Latin American), Turkish

Dynamics:  The Emoji Movie isn’t good. I mentioned it looks good though and well, it also sounds good. This is a fully realized mix that is loud and ever-present. This is a loose and free mix with good details place up down and all around in the mix. It has a terrific balance going loud and soft when necessary and none of the vocals, music or effects ever blend or land on one another’s moments.

Height: Characters flying above, laser blasts, debris flying and any accurate and expected thing to sail above does so with a good attention to volume.

Low Frequency Extension: Crashing, laser blasts, explosions, gelatin wobbling, music beats and more pump the subwoofer.

Surround Sound Presentation: There is plenty of fun for this mix going on all around the room. Ambiance helps to really bring every environment, both indoor and outdoor, to life. Distinct sounds, placement and travel are accurately places and motioned to what is going on onscreen.

Dialogue Reproduction: Dialogue is crisp and clear, with the actors’ diction fully accounted for.

Extras 

The Emoji Movie comes with the standard Blu-ray edition and an UltraViolet digital copy. Most of the bonus material is featured on the standard Blu-ray disc.

4K Ultra-HD Disc

Audio Commentary

  • Director & Animator Commentary

Puppy! An Original Hotel Transylvania Short (4K, 5:00)

Moments

  • Gene (4K, 20:48)
  • HI-5 (4K, 11:55)
  • Jailbreak (4K, 15:47)
  • Smiler (4K, 9:35)

Blu-ray Disc

Jailbreak Decoded: The Untold Story (HD, 1:56) – Jailbreak’s origin/background or whatnot, is told here in this scene.

“Good Vibrations” Dance Along (HD, 2:38) –  Children dance to the song “Good Vibrations”. You can join in while you watch, I suppose.

Gimmie a Hand! Guess the Emoji Game (HD, 5:37) – Some kids play a game where they try to guess the emoji based on audio clips and visual clues.

Express Yourself: Meet the Cast (HD, 6:45) – Interviews with the cast of the film to coincide with footage of their respective recording booth sessions.

Sweet App-etite: Make your Own Candy Crush Saga Cake (HD, 6:24) – A how-to on making a cake themed to the film

Girls Can Code! (HD, 5:40) – This featurette gives the spotlight to female computer whizzes, hosted by Anna Faris.

Bringing Emojis to Life (HD, 3:22) – This is a piece on designing the characters in the film.

Choreographing Emoji with Matt Steffanina (HD, 3:33) – A feature on creating the dance sequence in the film.

Creating the World Inside Your Phone (HD, 4:38) – Shows the digital conflicts that present themselves in the world of the film.

How to Draw Poop (HD, 3:35) – Andy Bialk, the character designer, shows us how to draw the poop emoji character.

How to Draw Gene (HD, 3:17) – Andy Bialk, the character designer shows us how to draw TJ Miller’s character.

“Good Vibrations” Lyric Video (HD, 3:49) – The lyrics appear on the screen for you to sing along at home.

Summary 

Well, I took The Emoji Movie challenge and I have survived to live to see another cruddy children’s movie someday. Its as bad as you’d think but a ways from being the worst of the worst.  The film’s 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray release comes with a terrific presentation to go along with some rather hollow, but kid-centric extras. I would wait til the price on this goes WAYYYYY down or just find a cheap price on the regular Blu-ray.

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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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