The Emoji Movie has looked like a potential stain on humanity ever since it was first revealed. We're talking about a Pixels-level disaster, totally lacking in charm and humor and blowing what theoretically could have been an amusing premise for an animated movie. And now, after seeing a particularly insipid tweet from its official account, I'm ready to give the film as many middle-finger emoji as I can fit in my response.
Seriously, The Emoji Movie? This is some tone-deaf nonsense. It's totally unsurprising to see the film's marketing machine latch onto a big moment in popular culture, but I'm thinking they miscalculated here. If you haven't read Margaret Atwood's classic novel The Handmaid's Tale (or seen this year's excellent adaptation on Hulu), allow me to briefly fill you in. It takes place in a dystopian future where America has been replaced by a country in which all of its women are enslaved, in one way or another. Those who have it the worst are the Handmaids, who are raped monthly by their masters in the hopes these mothers will bear children again in a world where fertility has dropped to dangerous levels. They're stuck serving the household the rest of the month.
Seems like the perfect story to piggyback off of with a smiling emoji dressed in the signature red garb of the Handmaids, doesn't it?
Oddly enough, this terrible tweet doesn't even show up on the film's timeline -- but that's only because it's a "nullcasted" promoted tweet. That's a type of promoted tweet that can show up in your feed like any other promotion, but it stays hidden from the account's timeline. It's almost as if they didn't want people to find it. But plenty of users have, and the response has been... predictable.
The budget for this was $50 million.— Sir Apollo (@antf0lks) July 24, 2017
You could've built homeless shelters in every state with that.
Maybe I'm blowing a stupid marketing tweet out of proportion. After all, one of the main characters in this debacle is literally a pile of poop. The likelihood of subtle humor seems pretty remote. But everyone has their limit, and I'm afraid this was mine. The Emoji Movie will hit theaters this week, and boy it'll be nice to have this nadir of filmmaking in our rear-view mirror.
Update, 7/25/17 10AM ET: At some point after this story was published, The Emoji Movie Twitter account either deleted the tweet or ended the "promotion." Color me shocked.