Today: May 28, 2024

Pixels

Pixels feels like a missed opportunity. And a big one at that.

Classic ’80s video games (somehow) manifest themselves in our three dimensional world and come down from outer space to challenge the people of Earth/America to an arcade style Battle Royale. The winner takes all, with the planet’s very existence hanging in the balance. Who could possibly save all of humanity? Only a hidden hero, a true underdog, a brave warrior with honour in his heart? Nope, Adam Sandler.

All the ingredients are there: real-life space invaders, a retro soundtrack, an extremely cool concept, brilliant animation. But, nope, Adam Sandler again. And it’s not just that he’s bad, just that he’s bad again in this film. It’s not only Sandler; Kevin James as the President of the United States. Seriously? Then there’s Josh Gad being not-quite-Jonah Hill again. And all of them revelling in the flaccid, lazy screenplay of Tim Herlihy and Timothy Dowling. The best moments undoubtedly belong to Peter Dinklage as the self-proclaimed gaming champion ‘Fireblaster’ but disappointingly even those few glimmers aren’t incandescent enough to drag this picture out of the darkness cast by its own bloated shadow.

The reason why TV shows such as Family Guy or The Simpsons have worked so well over the years is because they offer fun-filled mad-capped cartoon entertainment for kids and a very hearty dollop of a more satirical adult humour that weaves its way knowingly in between all the silliness. When that clever comedy is missing, as it emphatically is here, then you’re left with a movie containing fantastic looking special effects sequences cobbled together with overweight, over the hill, middle-aged men being bawdy and unfunny amidst the framework of what could, nay should, have been a classic adventure movie for all the family.

Alright, alright, it’s not all bad. The Donkey Kong finale is perfectly balanced between nostalgia for the oldies and cartoon style climax for the kiddies; it’s the best bit of the film (admittedly that’s not saying all that much). Probably because there’s barely any dialogue, just fun. If director Chris Columbus could have replicated the pace and tone of those entertaining five minutes for the other 100 and built to that enjoyable end game then he could have had audiences going nuts.

As it is, Pixels is a movie mismatch of self-indulgent, outdated (and just not that funny) comedy and childhood nostalgia from the perspective of a generation who grew up with 80s arcade games but aimed at a generation who have no knowledge, connection or interest in that era. Bizarre. And unsuccessful. Maybe in 20 years they can remake it…

 

Previous Story

My Darling Clementine

Next Story

My Darling Clementine

Latest from Blog

Memory

Memory (2023)

Memory is an exquisite American drama in the tender embrace of Michel Franco’s cinematic prowess.

Abashiri Prison I-III

Constructed in the late nineteenth century to house political prisoners, Japan’s infamous Abashiri Prison served as the inspiration for a popular and prolific run of yakuza movies released between 1965 and 1972. In Abashiri Prison,

The Beach Boys

2024 sees the 50th anniversary of The Beach Boys’ chart-topping compilation album Endless Summer that threw the fading band back into the limelight. Whilst this double LP release was a big financial

The Valiant Ones

The Valiant Ones was King Hu’s last, great masterpiece. Indeed it’s arguably his last true wuxia film — but what a magnificent beast it is. Directed by the celebrated master of the

Enter the Clones of Bruce Unboxing

There have been so many books, documentaries, and even biopics of the immeasurably pioneering martial arts icon Bruce Lee. His life and work have been studied intensely, and his influence remains felt

BackBeat Unboxing

This month saw underrated Beatle-biopic BackBeat make its Blu-ray debut from Fabulous Films, surely delighting the band’s collectors and completists. Telling the story of the Beatles’ first bassist – the so-called ‘lost
Go toTop

Don't Miss

Oppenheimer

In a recent interview with The New York Times, Oppenheimer

Radiance Films Blu-ray Unboxings

There’s a new boutique label in town. Radiance Films promise