For some people, Adam Sandler’s form of comedy just isn’t appealing. Whether it be repeatedly making fun of, or glorifying, stupidity or having poop humor in things that really have no reason for it, his comedy stylings can leave something to be desired. Sandler’s newest movie, “Pixels,” is a departure from the usual types of movies he acts in.
Released on July 24, “Pixels” has received a 5.3 on IMDB but is receiving largely negative reviews from critics, holding only a 27 on Metacritic. Are these hugely negative reviews really deserved though?
While “Pixels” isn’t a serious movie – we are dealing with aliens who are making 80s arcade games come to life – it does have a certain charm. Is it a mature comedy? No. Is it bottom of the barrel, screaming monkeys throwing feces comedy? No. It’s found a nice area in between and mixed some decent action sequences with some legitimately funny moments. But most of all, this movie drives itself on nostalgia. People who grew up playing arcade games, or even playing the remakes of the old 80s arcade games on a home console are going to be a little more excited to see their favorites wrecking New York, the Taj Mahal and other locations than someone who grew up in a time beyond these and beyond the pixelated graphics.
“Pixels” spends the opening half hour setting the scene with the nerds who will be the future saviors of the world both as children and what they did with their lives as adults. It’s rather unexciting, but it’s filled with some actual laugh out loud moments that help keep the pace flowing.
We don’t really get into the movie until after a pointless, and only mildly humorous, scene of training Navy Seals to play arcade games. The first game humanity combats, that they are actually aware they are fighting against, is a game of “Centipede.” As expected, Navy Seals aren’t as good at video games, even when brought into the real world, as a couple nerds. Aiming giant guns seems impossible for Seals,but nerds who only ever used a joystick and/or controller can do it just fine.
This scene rolls into a short celebration that’s quickly interrupted by another threat from the aliens. And the movie rolls right into the next action sequence. The “Pac-Man” scene seems set to be the rising action of the movie. And it definitely makes for a fun action sequence. Brenner, Ludlow and Eddie ‘Fireblaster’ drive cars colored like the ghosts from Pac-Man in order to stop an alien-created Pac-Man from eating all of New York. The bright yellow hero of the arcade destroying New York is much more enthralling and terrifying than one might expect. And when Pac-Man reaches a power pellet that turns the shield off around the cars, allowing it to eat them, there’s a thrill in watching to see how the main characters will handle it.
Sadly, following this fight, the movie falls a bit flat as it lingers on a non-comedic party scene that’s all about Sam Brenner’s love life. While romantic interests are not foreign to any movie genre, non-romantic movies do not benefit from hanging on these scenes, especially when the writing of it isn’t integrated into the rest of the movie. It felt like an entirely different movie that just happened to have all the same actors until the aliens made contact once again.
And then “Pixels” bounces right back into another amazing action sequence as the aliens send all their warriors to Earth and the alien boss, Donkey Kong, naturally, challenges them to one final match for Earth’s safety. This further makes the scene preceding it look out of place and, honestly, plain boring.
Let’s not even talk about baby Q-berts. Just… no.
The movie could have been better without some scenes slowing it down, or by at least spicing those scenes up with some comedy as the first half hour demonstrated the movie was perfectly capable of doing, but it definitely wasn’t a bad movie either.
Overall, “Pixels” gets a 3/5.
“I’m just a loser who’s good at video games.”
“Well thank God for that.”