There were more than a few groans in the audience during my screening when, deep into the mercifully under-90-minutes journey, Jailbreak suggested a short-cut by saying, "We can take the music streams in Spotify!" For some people, Spotify is a useful tool for listening to Ween albums you haven't heard yet. For the characters in The Emoji Movie, it's literal stream of data where you guide a boat through the waters of Rihanna's "Diamonds." (No Ween, sadly.)
One of the oddest things about this scene -- and the movie in general -- is that we learn nothing about the taste of the teenager who owns the phone in the movie. (His name is Alex but you won't remember it.) Unlike Pixar's Inside Out, which has a very similar story structure and central conceit but is built around the psychological makeup of a very specific little girl, the kid in this movie could not be more generic. He's oppressively bland, like the human embodiment of that hilarious study Google published about what teens think is cool. Alex is the Übermensch of the Generation Z tech-branding-as-identity-signifier trend: It's so lit, fam!
I almost thought Twitter was going to be totally absent from this movie -- most kids are smart enough to stay away -- but towards the end of the film the only app on the President's phone makes an appearance.
(I can't believe I'm typing this, but mild spoilers for The Emoji Movie follow.)
There's a recurring joke in the movie about how when a princess whistles, birds appear. It's not funny, but it does have a payoff. As the story lumbers towards its conclusion, we find out Jailbreak, the hacker emoji, actually used to be the princess emoji -- seriously, don't ask -- and she uses her princess powers to summon a winged creature. Guess what form it takes? That's right, the Twitter bird, which Gene can then ride Never-ending Story-style back to his hometown.
If you've read this far into an article about The Emoji Movie, you might be asking yourself, "Do I need to see this movie with my own eyes to prove it's real? Should I too, like Gene, climb aboard a Twitter bird and carry myself to a local theater? Is it worth jacking-in to cyberspace for?" The answer is probably not. Save yourself. Or, as a character in The Emoji Movie suggests at one point, "Go read an e-book!"