Director: Chris Columbus
Writer: Tim Herlihy, Timothy Dowling, Patrick Jean (short film)
Stars: Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Michelle Monaghan, Peter Dinklage, Josh Gad
Release Date: In cinemas now
Review by Dave Griffiths
Gamers have been calling for a film to be made about classic 1980s video games like Pac-Man and Donkey Kong for years now. When Pixels was announced it seemed like their prayers had been answered, then came the news that it would star Adam Sandler and suddenly those gamers were wondering what kind of abomination they were in for. Well, now Pixels is out and thankfully the film actually works and it isn’t the terrible mess that so many people feared it would be.
Sandler (Big Daddy) plays Brenner a man who has never really got over the disappointment of being the runner-up in the 1982 Arcade Game World Championships. These days he finds himself working as a N.E.R.D. who installs entertainment equipment into people’s homes, meanwhile his friend Cooper (Kevin James – Paul Blart: Mall Cop) is the President of The United States Of America. A chance meeting with the beautiful violet (Michelle Monaghan – Source Code) sets everything in motion and just as he realizes that he is a loser in her eyes he suddenly finds he has worth as Earth comes under attack from an alien species that are using characters from 1980s Arcade games against us. Now Brenner finds himself working with former-whizz-kid-turned-conspiracy-theorist Ludlow (Josh Gad – The Wedding Ringer) and the man who beat him in the World Championships, Eddie (Peter Dinklage – Game Of Thrones), in a bid to save the world.
The first thing to take note of with Pixels is not to expect a film that is going to come anywhere near an award winner. Director Chris Columbus (who has brought us films like Gremlins and some of the Harry Potter franchise over the years) is tasked with the difficult task of making this film accessible for both 30-40 year old gamers and younger children at the same time. Not such a simple thing to do and as a result you have a film littered with not-quite adult humor but entertaining enough to keep the whole family happy.
The references to the older games works well while Sandler and James play the character they have been playing for years… with the added fact that here James is the President. Dinklage steals the show despite his dodgy accent and somehow this film manages to work despite the fact it melds the genres of comedy, sci-fi and action together into one big ball.
Not brilliant but far from the mess we expected. Pixels is watchable! GAME OVER!