In 2010 Patrick Jean made a short film about the invasion of New York by classic video games. It was cute, clever and said all you’d need to say about the invasion of New York by classic video games in a little over two minutes.
Then Hollywood came calling and decided it would be better if they expanded the story by more than 100 minutes and added Adam Sandler.
They were wrong.
“Pixels” isn’t a bad film. It’s just terribly pedestrian. Not a lot of original thought went into this baby. The special effects are decent and Peter Dinklage is somewhat amusing as Sandler’s arch-enemy at video games. That’s about all it has in its favor.
Huh. I guess it is a bad film.
Sandler stars as Sam Brenner, an ’80s video game expert who today installs video equipment in people’s houses. His best friend, the dim-bulb Will Cooper (Kevin James), somehow became president of the United States.
While installing electrical equipment in the home of Violet van Patten (Michelle Monaghan), Sam gets called to the White House. Violet gets the same call, as she’s a lieutenant colonel and presidential advisor. She thinks she’s better than Sam, but don’t worry, that will be worked out by the credits. For the record, the Sam/Violet romance was the most cringe-worthy element in “Pixels.”
Turns out that in 1982 NASA shot a time capsule into space that included scenes of kids playing the video games that were popular at the time. Aliens found the video and took it as some kind of challenge, so they’ve shown up to rain down hell on Earth in the form of Space Invaders, Centipedes, Pac Man and Donkey Kong.
Naturally it’s nerds to the rescue as Sam and Will team up with their conspiracy nut pal Ludlow (Josh Gad) and Sam’s rival as ’80s video game champ — the cocky Eddie Plant (Dinklage).
I pretty much laid out my opinion on “Pixels” up in paragraph four. It’s harmless enough. Very predictable. It does what it promises in the commercials and little more. If you found the trailers funny you’d probably enjoy it.
The rest of you would be better off checking out the original video on YouTube.