HOLLYWOOD—For those who grew up during the ’80s, you are well aware it’s a time frame unlike any other. The latest flick to attempt to recapture that magic is the fantasy-action adventure “Pixels.” Yes, the title for the flick is somewhat interesting, but it is indeed about pixels and pixilation to say the least. The film revolves around a group of gamers who come face-to-face with a mob of aliens from outer space that decide to attack Earth in the form of popular characters from famous arcade video games.
Some of those games include Pac-Man, Galaga, Centipede, Duck Hunt, Frogger, Defender, and of course Donkey Kong. This is where “Pixles” runs into trouble; many kids and teens which the film is aimed at targeting have no idea about these games. I’ll admit most of these games are working knowledge for me because I heard about them from my parents growing up. But I do have experience with Pac-Man, Galaga, Centipede, Duck Hunt and Donkey Kong.
The bulk of the narrative follows gamer Sam Brenner (Adam Sandler), whose title as the best gamer of all-time is snatched away by his nemesis Eddie Plant (Peter Dinklage). I will admit Sandler has some funny bits throughout the flick as the underdog, but I would argue that Dinklage is slightly funnier in my opinion. His comedic timing is impeccable.
Those frenemies are forced to become allies to prevent Earth from turning into the aliens’ new stomping ground. Along for the ride is Sam’s buddy, Will (Kevin James) who just so happens to be the President of the United States of America. It was a neat narrative push to have the four main characters all connected from their childhood, including the socially awkward Ludlow (Josh Gad). His obsession with Lady Lisa (Ashley Benson) is beyond anything I’ve ever seen in a movie for a character. It’s like creepy funny.
As a viewer, it’s hard to describe the movie “Pixels,” because as realistic as one would like for the movie to appear, the envelope of imagination is pushed so far at times, you find yourself laughing at what you’re watching. You know it’s bad when kids in the theater aren’t willing to buy what is being sold to them. On a visual front, “Pixels” is unlike anything I’ve ever seen on the big screen. It made watching the film a ton of fun. The specials effects are out of this world, literally.
The movie is helmed by director Chris Columbus who is well known for family flicks like “Home Alone” and “Mrs. Doubtfire.” While those flicks didn’t divulge much in the imagination, at its core family was the heart. “Pixels” attempts to bring in that element, but as a moviegoer, one is never quite sold on the idea. The relationship between Brenner and Violet van Patten (Michelle Monaghan) appears forced; it’s hard to buy the idea that this two are a couple or should be a couple.
“Pixels” does a wonderful job of taking Americans who grew up in the ’80s or who were avid fans of video games back to an era of simplicity. The only problem is the chaos that ensues in this movie is so far-fetched it becomes difficult to take the film serious in any aspect.