Pixels (2015)

I was really excited to see Pixels because I wanted to spot a name in the credits! (Go tell Briana she’s great and the movie was great on her Tumblr or Instagram!) I later learned that this movie is actually based on the short film of the same name, which is a cool watch in and of itself.

Going into the movie, I didn’t really know what to expect. I hadn’t really watched many trailers for it and just understood that it was about aliens that attack the Earth with classic video game characters. When I met my friends there and they indicated low expectations because it was an Adam Sandler movie, I thought, “Huh. I didn’t know Adam Sandler was in this.” His movies have been getting pretty tiresome, and some patterns still occurred in this movie that I wish would just stop like:

  • Adam Sandler’s character is…
    • … a genius but, at the moment he is called to action, is not currently fulfilling his potential.
    • … somehow able to woo a superbly beautiful woman with not much else but witty jokes and, if applicable, being kind to a child.
    • … actually in a cool story and situation and the romantic subplot is unnecessary.
  • His equally goofy friends, in contrast, do achieve their full potentials and are crazy successful.
  • The female love interest has shallow character development but looks banging and has mad bants with Adam Sandler so I mean whatever.

But with Chris Columbus directing, I figured it wouldn’t be that bad. And I was right, I liked the movie a lot more than I expected I would. Pixels also turned out to be REALLY funny! I laughed out loud a lot and at some points, was barely able to hold myself together in the theater. Gotta give the writers mad props for making this movie so hilarious. Especially withe the dialogue. Some moments were a bit corny/cheesy/too much/too predictable but I was laughing so hard that I let it slide.

Thoughts at the DC screening: Typical district traffic.

First of all, there was a lot more 80s nostalgia than I anticipated – in a good way. If you’re a fan of 80s pop culture in addition to those classic arcade games, you’re definitely going to love this movie. The aliens wound up communicating with Earth by using 80s video footage, so you could see Hall and Oates, Madonna, maybe even your favorite Fantasy Island characters. The soundtrack was also jam-packed full of great 80s tunes for you to bop along to. Definitely check out Pixels if you’re a big fan of the 80s.

I’m wondering how expensive this movie must have been and how they were able to get the licenses to all of these properties. I mean, there was Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, Centipede, Tetris, Space Invaders, Q-bert (which Sony actually does own), Duck Hunt. I’m guessing maybe the pop culture references via video footage are fair use after 30 years? (Dang… 30???) It was pretty cool to see all these classic video game characters together in one place, and to see how the VFX team brought them to life.

Donkey Kong in Columbia Pictures' PIXELS.

To really enjoy this movie, I say just strap in, prepare to laugh at jokes, and enjoy seeing classic arcade game being played out in real life. Enjoy Peter Dinklage’s hilariously absurd character, who was easily one of the highlights of this movie, and Josh Gad’s consistent role in Hollywood as the awkward goofy one. Don’t worry too much about the crazy caricatures of British people or how Michele Monaghan’s character lacked so much depth that she could have been replaced with anyone and it wouldn’t have mattered as long as they could smile, scowl, recite lines, and wear a dress.

Peter Dinklage with a mullet, though

Just enjoy the magic of these games being brought to life and being done so in a really funny way, and you’ll have a good time, really.

Side note: Is the person who keeps clapping loudly and inappropriately at these screenings I attend maybe the same person? There was someone clapping after the actor portraying Toru Iwatani was introduced as Mr. Iwatani and this person clapped for a full 30 seconds. S/he also clapped when Queen’s “We Will Rock You” was playing in the background of a scene. For the entire duration that the song played, about a minute. What was happening here, why were you doing this…

All in all, really solid movie. Super funny, great effects. It’s not perfect, the plot is a little mehh at times, but I liked it more than I thought I would and recommend it, for sure.

Pixels comes out Friday, July 24. Spoilers below the trailer.

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