Adriaan Roets
2 minute read
24 Jul 2015
2:40 pm

Pixels review (trailer)

Adriaan Roets

I don't hate Adam Sandler movies. In fact, if I want to put my brain in a box, I don't mind his face on the screen.

BIG MOUTH. Inky, Blinky, Clyde and Pinky take on Pac-Man. Pictures: Ster-Kinekor

His films are safe, sometimes funny (if you like slapstick) and usually involve a few scenes with relatively genuine sentiment. Movies such as Just Go With It, Blended and The Wedding Singer are drivel, but they mean well. Pixels is the movie where I can finally say Sandler has gone too far. The story is basic. Humans decide to send a timecapsule to space containing videos of beloved video games. Aliens see the games as a declaration of war and attack earth using their version of Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, Galaga, Centipede and Space Invaders. Earth’s fate relies on the dopey shoulders of Adam Sandler starring as Sam Brenner – a former Pac Man champ – who forms part of a team of “specialists” assembled by the president of the United States to save the world from game characters turning everything they touch into pixels.

Perhaps it’s that the film turns beloved game characters into antagonists, or the fact that skilled actors such as Josh Gad and Peter Dinklage take a back seat but this movie ended up vexing me. Game of Thrones’ Dinklage is especially underused. A comedy film is a departure from his role on TV – and Pixels never allows him to show what he can do. It’s a pity, because there is definite chemistry between him and some of the other cast members.

Kevin James stars as President Will Cooper – a poor casting. He fumbles in the role and shows you exactly what a president should never do during a crisis. Sandler is unable to lead the cast. His lovable slacker persona has become stale and nothing he does manages to lift this film from obscurity. Hopefully Pixels will be the blow that finally loses Columbia Pictures enough money that they back out of future film deals with him.

Pixels solely relies on heavy doses of nostalgia as it’s biggest selling point – and the truth is, it’s simply too late in the game. With cleverly executed films such as Wreck-it-Ralph that managed to anthropomorphise game characters in an endearing way a few years ago, it’s game over for Pixels even before it starts.