The Emoji Movie: Animated Poop Gets the Star Treatment—Finally!
Reviewed by Thurston Chatwell for TheHumbleHeckler.com
(Editor’s note: Film critic Thurston Chatwell is a self-proclaimed pop culture expert concerning farts and poop. Keep this in mind when reading the following review.)
As a connoisseur of cinematic gastrointestinal distress, I can’t help but view Hollywood as a bit of a tease. Sure, there was that great campfire scene in Blazing Saddles in which a congregation of hirsute cowpokes, windblown and trail-worn from a long day on the range, relieve their bean-heavy bellies in a blistering symphony of shaky-legged bliss, as a sky of brilliant prairie stars twinkles above and a crackling campfire illuminates these pioneers of cinema in all their twisty-faced glory. Blazing Saddles set a pretty high bar, and let’s face it, the overwhelming majority of attempts by film and TV producers to recreate the magic of Mel Brooks’s legendary campfire crop dusting sequence have failed miserably. Memo to Hollywood Fat Cats: flatulent cowboys don’t happen every day.
Clearly the industry has underestimated the difficulty in bringing realistic flatulence and poopy to the screen. They seem to have no understanding of how delicate the process of depicting characters expelling carbon dioxide, hydrogen, and methane from their butts really is. Capturing the perfect facial expressions in the play of light and shadow as an actor recreates the farting experience is every cinematographer’s worst nightmare. And it’s also really, really difficult to perform. It’s common knowledge in Hollywood circles that many of the legends of acting have been known to avoid this particular challenge. There’s a reason why you’ve never seen Meryl Streep hunched over, sweating profusely, white-knuckling the back of a sofa, moaning in sweet agony to Jesus above as she spasmodically power blasts the poor lunchtime decisions she made at Taco Bell out of her backside while her skirt flaps violently in the chili-scented breeze. I mean, come on. She may be good, but she’s not that good.
At least Hollywood hasn’t completely given up. There’s that explosive-diarrhea-in-the-trashcan scene in Van Wilder, and, yeah, okay, there’s that pretty-girls-destroy-the-restroom scene in Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle. Oh, and let’s not forget the lightning-quick glimpse we get in Sin City of that bowling-pin shaped floater in the toilet (the same toilet that Clive Owen’s Dwight character uses to give Benicio del Toro’s Jackie Boy character what is arguably the gnarliest swirlie in movie history). But these examples, like most modern fart/poop scenes, are really more gross than great. We haven’t really seen anything noteworthy since South Park treated us a few heapin’ helpins of Mr. Hankey, the Christmas Poo. But other than the rare Mr. Hankey appearance, the world of screen farts/poops has become a putrid, stinking, peanut -and corn-infused shell of its former self. I mean, where’s the passion? The artistry? The humanity?
Believe it or not, the answer lies in The Emoji Movie.
The film propounds to be a metaphor for being yourself and following your own path, regardless of what the world thinks about blah, blah, blah … None of that garbage really plays very well, and nobody cares to see a cinematic lecture about the importance of individuality in a time when critical thought is under attack. Come on, Hollywood. Get real. Movie tickets cost money. Let’s get to the poop, already.
The Poop emoji in The Emoji Movie is voiced by—get this—Sir Patrick Stewart, who is the perfect actor with the perfect voice to bring dignity and class back to the world of movie poopy. For true connoisseurs like yours truly, Stewart represents hope—that’s right HOPE. Casting this icon of the stage and screen to play Poop signifies with absolute clarity that the Powers That Be in Hollywood are taking poopy seriously, and that from this day forward the voice of the great Sir Patrick will reign supreme over all of Poopydom. Trust me, this performance is one for the ages. Sir Patrick achieves the seemingly impossible, as his voice imbues Poop with a sense of regality and majesty while simultaneously (and magically) keeping Poop grounded in the real world. Poop’s story is the human story. Poop seeks love and wants to be loved in return. Poop makes mistakes (God knows Poop can make a mess), but Poop also has the capacity to learn from his mistakes. His triumphs are our triumphs; his failures are our failures. Simply put, Poop IS all of us. And we humans are most assuredly Poop. Especially the people who made this movie.
I give The Emoji Movie two pizza slices, four winky faces, a few of those cupcakes with eyes and stuff.
(The Emoji Movie is rated PG for undermining thousands of years of human communication through the popularization of simplistic cartoon iconography that will likely stunt the intellectual growth of generations to come, creating an unbridgeable void between humans and their humanity that will slowly erode the fabric of decent society, turning people into drooling savages who engage in terrible acts of violence for sport, rendering the planet an uninhabitable hellscape and damning us all to an unknowable, terrifying future that can only end in the obliteration of our species. There are also a few fart jokes stuff like that.)