Quick Summary: Earth is attacked by aliens in the form of 1980s arcade games, and it's up to a couple of nerdy gamers to save the planet. It's a fun movie, but it falters more than a bit in execution.
More Info: IMDb
Pixels Official Trailer (Minor Spoilers)
I first saw the trailer for Pixels a few months ago during the previews before Age of Ultron, then again during the trailers for Jurassic World. I like the concept of the movie: it was silly and zany, but for the same reasons I was a bit wary about it in execution. Early reviews for the movie were strongly critical, with it averaging only 19% approval on Rotten Tomatoes (at the time of this writing). Were my fears about its failure correct? Sadly, yes.
The plot is fairly straightforward: A few dorky kids in the 1980s are big into the arcade games of the day. After a brief scene set during this time, they grow up and are at different points in their lives. One becomes the President of the United States, another works for the Nerd Brigade (essentially Geek Squad), and another is still a crazy conspiracy nutter like in his youth. Their lives have gone pretty different directions from each other. Of course, this being a movie, they're brought together to save the world.
For reasons I won't disclose (because spoilers), the world is attacked by aliens. For the same reasons I won't disclose, they take the form of old 1980s arcade games. This idea of the movie is a fun one (yeah yeah, I know, Futurama already did it, and yes, they did it better). It's zany, and odd enough that it sounded appealing to me. But like I said before, it has a lot of flaws in its actual execution. For starters, there's too much screen time wasted on things other than the earth being attacked by Pac-Man and Centipede. Sure, you need some of this sort of thing as set-up, but there's too much time spent on the set-up, and too much downtime from the aliens mixed in between attacks. Throw in a boring and predictable romantic subplot, and you've got a recipe for a movie that needs some serious trimming.
The movie being a comedy, we should mention the jokes. Sadly, most of the jokes are flat and unfunny, many of which are predictable as well. There's a few jokes that garner some chuckles, but none that earn hearty laughter, and most elicit only a "meh" response. Of course the meat of the movie pertains to pixelated monsters wrecking havoc upon Earth. There's some fun to be found here, and this is where the more successful comedy resides. It's not a high score, but it doesn't exhaust its stack of quarters too quickly.
The acting in the movie is pretty subpar, but I guess that isn't surprising when Adam Sandler is the lead. Kevin James doesn't exactly help to add anything to the movie. The only actor that manages to make an impression is Peter Dinklage, who does as well as he can with the material he's given, and you can tell he has more chops than the rest of the cast.
So Pixels manages to not be quite as bad as people make it out to be, but it's far from a good movie either. The trailer makes it look more interesting than it actually is, since it cuts all of the boring filler shit that pollutes an otherwise mediocre movie. The laughs fail to linger long, and the fun is faint and fleeting, but it's not entirely absent. Certainly not a must-see, and if it catches your eye, then you're best to wait for it to hit DVD or Netflix, as it's not worth the admission price to see it in theaters.
We also have a bonus review for the movie Pixels, courtesy of 52xMax! Max will be writing more articles for us in the future, so check out the first comment below for an introduction to his style.
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