So I watched Pixels…
It’s getting harder and harder to defend being an Adam Sandler fan. The world’s lost favour with the kind of comedy he and Kevin James are offering and it’s sad to see these once comedic giants falling by the wayside. The world has changed and they haven’t – we want new forms of comedy that they’re just not offering. I don’t think Sandler and co are necessary completely obsolete, they still have the ability to produce quality films (last year’s Blended was evidence of this) but I’m beginning to lose my patience. But anyway, let’s talk about Pixels…
Okay, basic plot: in 1982 NASA sends a space probe out in search of alien life. In this probe they place a time capsule that has various pop-culture items from 1982. One of these items is a video of an Arcade Game World Championship. An alien race finds this space probe and misreads it as a challenge from the people of Earth to an intergalatic war. Why? Um because…well apparently kids playing Pac Man is construed as an act of war in other galaxies. Just joking, it’s because the script said so. So these aliens create an army of video game characters to invade the Earth…instead of you know, regular soldiers but anyway; to counteract this threat, the people of Earth hire former video game champions to wage war and defeat the alien threat…instead of you know, regular soldiers but anyway.
You have to give this film points for being original. When I first heard this film’s premise I remember thinking that it was probably the most ridiculous thing I’d ever heard but it made me want to go see it. We live in a time where film is saturated with superhero movies, reboots, remakes and unnecessary sequels; so seeing something original is refreshing. Yes, this film is based on another film so it’s basically a remake but the original film isn’t well known so Pixels is still pretty original.
You know, you think the idea of aliens sending down video game characters to conquer the Earth would be the hardest thing to believe in this movie but you’re wrong. The hardest thing to believe in this movie is that Kevin James plays the President of The United States. I was on board with the absurdity of this movie until that point. I can only switch my brain off to a certain point and Pixels had me pass that point in the opening two minutes. I don’t think you can watch this movie with your brain switched on because the moment you seek logic or sense in this film’s plot, you’re going to rip it to shreds and just end up having a bad time. You need to go into this with the wonder and excitement of a child. This movie is ridiculous but it embraces how ridiculous it is and tries to take you on a fun ride instead of getting bogged down in explaining things.
I know Peter Dinklage was meant to be this movie’s ‘big name’ casting and was meant to add a little credibility to the story but I found his performance rather flat. He isn’t charismatic or entertaining and he delivers his lines like he read the script for the first time two minutes before the director called action. I was expecting a bit more from him because of all The Game of Thrones hype but his work in this film left me with a bad taste in my mouth. Speaking of bad tastes, Brian Cox and Sean Bean are in this movie; both are notable actors and both are just terrible in this movie. I get that sometimes serious actors do silly movies like this to have some fun and make movies that their kids can actually watch but watching the two of them felt like watching Robert De Niro in The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle movie. Making a silly movie as a serious actor is alright but acting poorly just because it’s a silly movie is inexcusable.
I think the only person’s acting I enjoyed in this movie was Josh Gad. He really sells the idea of the nerdy loser turned hero and is absolutely hilarious at times. Matt Lintz who plays the son of Violet von Patten (Michelle Monaghan) is also quite entertaining (as far as child actors go).
Now for the most important question: is Pixels funny? Will it make you laugh? Yes. You won’t be on the floor but you’ll probably giggle a few times. There are parts in this movie (especially those with Josh Gad) where you will laugh a lot. Adam Sandler also has moments of dry sarcasm that are humerous. Kevin James and Peter Dinklage didn’t make me laugh at all…ZERO. This movie is funny but it’s very stupid humour that I think we’re all tired of seeing. It’s the ‘hey look at me, I’m a fat nerd, girls don’t wanna have sex with me’ humour; that ten years ago was the staple but now we want something a little bit more intelligent.
Overall, this movie’s main drawcard is its originality. It reminds me a lot of Ghostbusters – not in terms of quality or icon status but it has similar elements with a nerdy team rising up to save the world. Visually, Pixels is a treat and seeing your favourite video game characters on screen does elicit some delight. Unfortunately, it isn’t well done enough to warrant a trip to the cinema, if you never watch this movie, you’ll lose nothing. 5/10