Memes based on movies going viral

November 16, 2017 — by Lina Kim and Elicia Ye

Emojis have evolved to become such vivid characters among its users that Sony Pictures Animation even brought them to life in the “Emoji Movie” that premiered in July. Indisputably a full-on meme-worthy movie, it received a 6 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a score of 1.7 out of 10 on IMDb but managed to finish second at the box office on its debut.

With scathing reviews, the movie collected a variety of memes from its audience, becoming a meme itself. Earning the titles of “garbage” and “well-written, structured, original joke,” the movie is perhaps best represented by its very own poop emoji.

As various characters represent different emotions, “it’s obvious within 20 minutes that ‘The Emoji Movie’ is … a knockoff of ‘Inside Out,’ with the world of Alex’s phone as the film’s intricate and looming geographical ‘brain’... and each emoji presented as a primal emotion,” according to a Variety review. “‘The Emoji Movie,’ though, is more than a bit lazy. It’s all on the surface, all movement and hectic situational overkill.”

The A.V. Club even has an article with the headline “‘The Emoji Movie’ is ‘Inside Out’ crossed with a Sony commercial and dunked in toxic ooze.”

The watered-down plot along with the movie’s cringey, low-rated scenes inevitably received various roasts posted on Facebook groups, Instagram feeds and Tumblr threads. Images, videos and texts were spread to share the negative feedback about the film.

Other movies have, of course, became great memes.

The premiere of “Shrek 2” in 2004 made $919.8 million at the box office and gave rise to ShrekChan, a shrek-themed imageboard that featured Shrek memes and fan art labeled "Shart.” But after the viral series named “Shrek is love, Shrek is life” (we highly recommend you not search it up), which features sexually explicit conversations between Shrek and children who pray to him, the site was shut down. With a combination of Shrek’s designedly funny face and the movie’s fancy cinematic techniques, it was near impossible for the movie to avoid the internet’s obsession of making memes out of the green ogre.

Recently, newly generated memes brought back the “Bee Movie,” an animated film that revolves around a bee who, with his female human companion, proceeds against the human race for harnessing bees through the sell and consumption of honey.

But the audience instead found their focus diverted to the strange romantic relationship between protagonist Barry B. Benson and his female human companion. In addition to this unusual character connection were the bees’ exaggerated expressions and uncanny resemblance to humans. A meme made from a sassy Benson peeking out from behind his sunglasses has since gone viral, exemplifying the Internet’s obsession with these special bees who had a film made about them.

Furthermore, in 2010, “Despicable Me” was released, characterizing the struggles of supervillain Gru. However, instead of obsessing over the three adorable children or Gru’s unproportional nose and legs, the audience response focused on the small, yellow, pill-shaped Minions who work as Gru’s grunts. Wearing henchman overalls and goggles and speaking squeaky gibberish, Minions undoubtedly formed an incomprehensible, completely foreign cult that people couldn’t get enough of, even if stemmed from hatred or annoyance.

In 2015, these creatures even got their own movie depicting their history and desire to work for the most evil of villains. From Minion phone cases and Minion-shaped Tic Tacs to Amazon packages and Super Bowl ads, their presence never left us. As Minion memes propagate all over the Internet and infiltrate various aspects of our lives, we couldn’t help but sing along to “Ba-ba-ba, ba-ba-banana.”

With its rising prominence, meme culture is utilizing various films and movie characters as inspiration to increase its appeal. While some memes stem from movies that failed to escape unsparing criticisms due to the movies’ low ratings or possible cringey content, others are a result of a movie character’s popularity and widespread presence. Either way, memes alone can generate relatability and, as a result, spur massive profits for the studios which (often unintentionally) create them.

 

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