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Pixels (3D)

2015-07-24 08:24

What it's about:

As kids in the 1980s, Sam Brenner, Will Cooper, Ludlow Lamonsoff, and Eddie “The Fire Blaster” Plant saved the world thousands of times – at 25 cents a game, in the video arcades. Now, they’re going to have to do it for real. When intergalactic aliens discover video feeds of classic arcade games and misinterpret them as a declaration of war, they attack the Earth, using the video games as the models for their assaults, and now U.S. president Cooper must call on his old-school arcade friends to save the world from being destroyed by Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, Galaga, Centipede, and Space Invaders. Joining them is Lt. Col. Violet Van Patten, a specialist supplying the arcaders with unique weapons to fight the aliens.

What we thought:

When I saw the first trailer for Pixels, I wondered who was smoking what to come up with such a ridiculous concept. Based on a French short video by Patrick Jean, Pixels tugs at the nostalgia strings of those who are old enough to have experienced the glory of arcade games, but the movie would be lost on the younger generation.

An ex-arcade champion dissatisfied with life his best friend, who’s also President of America, asks him to become a champion for the world when aliens in the form of arcade games attack earth, misinterpreting an old tape sent into space as a challenge to war.

Before, I predicted this film was going to be terrible, as Adam Sandler has had a bad spate of cringe movies recently (except Hotel Transylvania) with his vulgar comedy that did not age well over the years. Surprisingly, his wise-cracks and comedic sequences were in much better taste than before, clearly wrangled by the writing team and the director, who gave the slapstick comedy reigns to snowman star Josh Gad. The producers and directors threw all their energy into the comedy and action of Pixels, which had me in stitches, but left plot holes the size of Space Invader-shaped craters along the way, leaving the audience with big question marks on their faces. There were enough cringe-moments to make you question the sanity of the writers and actors, but at least there were enough laughs to drown out the lack of logic.

In films like this the women characters are mainly there as eye candy (which is obviously true for Ashley Benson as Lady Lisa), but I was impressed by Michelle Monaghan, who plays Lieutenant Colonel Violet, a soon-to-be-divorced mother that develops the weapons used against the invaders. Her timing with Adam Sandler was on point, her character was well fleshed out and they even subtly pointed out the sexism experienced by women in male-dominated environments such as the military.

Kevin James and Peter Dinklage were also great, with James as a president who is only a little silly and Dinklage channels his inner creep as he rocks the most ridiculous hair ever. But most hearts were won by Q*bert, the adorable trophy they win during one of the games. That is until the end,  where your mind goes to Rule 34 of the Internet and you try very hard to scrub it away.

If you think this is a fun movie for the kids, it’s not. Adult humour and a weird twisted end scene keep the humour in the teenagers-find-it-hilarious zone, with some chuckles from older arcade geeks. Pixels is a good film if you’re feeling silly and just want to veg out for an hour-and-a-half. If you go in expecting something amazing, then don’t come to me with your disappointment.

Read more on:    kevin james  |  adam sandler  |  peter dinklage  |  movies

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