It is no secret that Adam Sandler has not being able to capture the success that he once had with films like The Wedding Singer. His latest film, Pixels has him teaming up with director Chris Columbus alongside a good cast including Kevin James, Michelle Monaghan, Peter Dinklage, Josh Gad, Brian Cox, and Sean Bean, but is it enough to finally deliver that fresh new movie he has been looking for or will it be game over before it starts?
Pixels follows childhood friends who saved the world time and again in the 80s at the video arcade, but will now have to use their skills to save the world 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. The trailers to this movie were silly and looked like it could be a lot of fun and while there are some entertaining aspects as a whole it just misses the mark. The first issue with the film is that everything just felt to contrived and perfectly placed from the relationship between Sandler and Monaghan to the friendship between Sandler and James who just happens to be the President. Sure the President likely has normal friends, but when his just happens to be the exact person you need to save the world it is hard to accept. Throwing all of this aside would be fine if the first half of the film wasn’t so slow paced and dull. When things finally get to the 80s video game fun it picks up bringing some fun sequences to life. Everyone seems to be having a lot of making the film so it helps a bit, but somewhere along the way they dropped the ball. The one shining light of the film is Peter Dinklage who is over the top and steals every scene he is in which is really no surprise.
The idea is silly, but manages to be fun when you get to see these classic games invade the world. They have some clever ways of fighting back that brings some cool action pieces, but they never really push the limits to make it really stand out. The special effects and pixelated designs are great and easily the best part of the film. The issue here with it is that unless you are grew up in that time or were a hardcore video game junkie you will likely not know who half of the characters are. This makes it impossible to allow just the nostalgia to carry the film since it seems more like it was made for younger audiences. They will likely have a lot of fun with it, but it just misses the mark of what it could have been.
Whether you are a fan or hater of Sandler, there is a lot of things to enjoy in this film and it will no doubt hit some marks with the younger audiences just for the visual fun of it all, but the audience it should be for will likely not care. This is one of those movies that will likely split people so decide for yourself.