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Soundtrack review: The emoji movie (Patrick Doyle – 2017)

Film scores

Soundtrack review: The emoji movie (Patrick Doyle – 2017)


“The Emoji Movie” is a 2017 American 3D computer-animated comedy film directed by Tony Leondis and written by Leondis, Eric Siegel and Mike White, based on the emoji symbols. It stars the voices of T. J. Miller, James Corden, Anna Faris, Maya Rudolph, Steven Wright, Rob Riggle, Jennifer Coolidge, Christina Aguilera, Sofía Vergara, Sean Hayes and Patrick Stewart. The film centers on Gene, a multi-expressional emoji who lives in a teenager’s phone, and who sets out on a journey to become a normal meh emoji like his parents. The movie was just destroyed by critics but the score was written by Patrick Doyle and I am always happy to listen to his music. This is the only reason that I am interested in this score since I always have a hard time with silly comedy music and also I think 60 minutes is much too long for a score like this.

So while waiting for Sir Kenneth Brannagh to do another Shakespeare adaptation Patrick Doyle took out this seemingly fun task and the opening cue “Emoji” is much more charming than I would have expected. It has the beautiful melodic undertone that only Patrick Doyle can write with a few 8-bit sounding inserts and a fun western like motif. The cue itself sounds like a timeline between the Victorian ages and the current electronic age.

The first cue is actually a nutshell presentation of how the entire score sounds. Patrick Doyle is one of the best composers of the last 30 years and, to me, right up there with John Barry and John Williams in the all time pantheon of orchestral masters. Even if “The emoji movie” might be unwatchable or the story and characters uninteresting, the composer doesn’t care about that. He just takes the lighter version of his orchestral magic (the beginning of “Rooftop” for example is just delightful) and peppers it with a few electronic inserts to connect the music with the emoji theme and that’s it.

In “The emoji movie” we get a comedic score from Doyle who cleverly makes every cue a pleasant hybrid of orchestral and electronic. The problem is that at some point these cues start repeating themselves and I sort of lose interest in the music. I maintain my opinion that 60 minutes is too much for a score like this; I think half of that time would have made for a much more enjoyable experience. The album is charming nonetheless and even if I usually have a hard time listening to comedy scores, the delightful little orchestral Patrick Doyle gems that are present in almost every cue made me smile a lot and make “The emoji movie” a score to listen to regardless of the ratings that the movie got. Just sample “Seas and whales songs” or “The trash escape” and you will want to hear more.

Cue rating: 87 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 20 / 59

Album excellence: 34%

Smiler Orientation
Blitzkreig Bots
Tunnel to Dance App
Smiler’s Illegal Upgrade
Instagram Paris
Seas and Whale Songs
The Trash Escape
A Princess Takes Flight
Emoji Ringtone


Mihnea Manduteanu

I have been listening to film music for 25 years and writing about it since 2014. I've written over 1000 reviews and I can't imagine myself doing anything else. I am also a member of IFMCA (International Film Music Critics Association).

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