Sony Pictures released the first, full-length trailer for its upcoming movie about the sad lives of emoji characters and, while Sir Patrick Stewart’s role as the popular poop emoji is one highlight, the film picks an interesting question to ask.
What is emoji are actually depressed, isolated and trapped in a malevolent world?
The Emoji Movie tells the story of an emoji character who has one role: to act as the defacto sad face that smartphone users can select when feeling down. The only problem is that this particular emoji, voiced by Silicon Valley’s T.J. Miller, has a plethora of emotions that he wants to be able to use. Sometimes he’s happy and sometimes he’s angry, but he never really gets to be his true self.
He’s trapped within a world where he’s only allowed to exhibit one facet of himself and, if he tries to do otherwise, is ostracized from his fellow emoji. In a movie about a wide range of emotions, the entire premise seems to surround the fact that he can only ever have one. It is, without question, one of the most depressing themes in a movie this year.
“I’m an emoji,” Miller says at one point. “I have to have some kind of purpose here.”
Except he doesn’t. The adventure that he sets himself up on results in trying to get out of the phone that he’s been trapped in his entire life and alter the source code entirely. The only way to fix the depressive hole he’s found himself in is to reset his life and become one of the more popular emojis used by smartphone users.
Although The Emoji Movie is a kids film, there are themes about our obsession with technology and emoji characters in general that poke through the fabric. These moments of depressing truths about our addiction and reliance on emojis to convey emotions — all of which are brought to attention in the trailer — are bookended with classic poop jokes and pop culture references to make it slightly less cynical. There’s a “Bye, Felicia!” joke that feels particular antiquated in 2017.
The Emoji Movie will be released on July 28.