Pixels *SPOILER ALERT* Review
Director: Chris Colombus.
If you think this is going to be a Sandler/James movie, it really isn’t. In fact Kevin James gets hardly any Gameplay that the trailer suggests. When you discover his role in the movie you’ll be shocked and i guess the reason why they leave it out the trailer is so not to put viewers off. Adam Sandler actually takes second place behind the CGI. And Michelle Monaghan, I can’t decide. I’ll get to the rest in the next levels.
Yes it’s about a Space Invasion in the shape and form of 8bit arcade characters from the early 80s, my childhood which is actually awesome. There are those moments of going.. Whoa! Q-Bert! Paperboy! Frogger!… Max Headroom?? And is that Hall & Oates!?? However Wreck-It Ralph had more pixelated cameos than this and that was brilliant. It’s certainly retro and there is a nice scene where boy meets man (kinda boy still) and they discuss the differences in games over the years. The 3 lives, the patterns and cheat codes. It did make me think having always been a gamer, right from Defender and Pac-Man to GTA5 and Warcraft.
What it definitely is, is silly, outrageously so and I would say the only things that didn’t seem out of place was the Invaders themselves! The CGI is actually really really good! Which brings me to the real life parts of the movie, bad. Ironically out of place! Imagine a real life actor actually snuck onto the set of Toy Story, just wrong. So silly are the real life bits you imagine the actors look at each during the film in question “what are we doing here!?” I am quite sure Brian Cox was sitting there in his scenes thinking that very same phrase. I think the only two actors that actually look like they belonged there were Peter Dinklage and Josh Gad.
There is a key moment where I thought this is a dream, a geeky dream of Wolowitz from Big Bang. It’s undeniable as Gad’s character is called Ludlow and has a screaming grandma from a distant room. Gad is brilliant and gives up most of the comic relief. Step aside Sandler and James. Especially Gad’s karaoke version of Tears for Fears “Everyone Wants To Rule The World”. Talking of songs, this film does have great tracks but no way enough to tribute the 80s. This soundtrack should have been amazing even if the film isn’t.
It felt very rushed and poorly edited and even though the unbelievable plot had some nice touches, it just didn’t work. Maybe too ambitious as some sets and scenes are so over done, like the London scenes with Sean Bean and the PM. Again making the NPCs and pixelated critters be the stars of the show. The beginning felt like a remake of The Wizard (89) which I love, and then comes in the sillier version of The Last StarFighter, which was, little movie trivia, the first feature film to use CGI for all its special effects back in ‘84, it wasn’t even called CGI back then.
I’m not sure which audience this is aimed at, as many of the in film jokes won’t relate to the younger viewers. The mention of Weird Science I think will be missed by many and do kids even know the dog from Duck Hunt? *wants one* I believe the only 8bit kids of today can relate to is Minecraft which is a cool game.
It’s retro, it’s silly, smart and silly don’t mix well so it doesn’t get a hi-score. Wouldn’t even make the leaderboard. Though the CGI, awesome! Bonus points to the team for that! I went in there with low expectations and didn’t find the “actual" Surprise. Just a extended version of the trailer.
Running Time: 8
The Cast: 5
Job Description: 7
The Extra Bonus Point: 5 for the cameos, especially the Duck Hunt Dog.