I’m going to throw some titles at you: 'Harry Potter', 'Home Alone', 'Mrs Doubtfire', the mother freakin' 'Goonies'! Writer/director Chris Columbus has been responsible for these films in one way or another. While he hasn’t exactly been popping out the classics of late - or as frequently - he has now teamed up with Adam “haters gonna hate” Sandler for the nostalgic ‘Pixels’. Confession: I love Adam Sandler. Call me sentimental, call me tasteless, I don’t care. I’m not completely naïve, I’m well aware that not everything Sandler makes is golden, in fact I struggle to think of the last semi-decent movie he made *pause for quick Google search*... Okay, it was 2008 (and even that is subject to negotiation). However, under the experienced and talented guide of Mr Columbus, together they could make magic... possibly.
In 1982, Sam Brenner was an arcade game wiz, his best friend Will Cooper was his trusty side-kick along with weirdo friend Ludlow Lamonsoff. Their enemy was Eddie “The Fire-Blaster”, the arrogant bad boy of gaming with his own posse of statuesque bombshells. At the world championship, Sam and Eddie go head-to-head with a video record of the competition itself being a part of a time-capsule being blasted into space. Over 30 years later, Will (Kevin James) is a major success, Sam (Sandler) is a loser, Ludlow (Josh Gad) is a conspiracy-theorist living in his grandmother’s basement and Eddie (Peter Dinklage) is still Eddie. When aliens accidentally interpret the ’82 capsule as a declaration of war, they start attacking Earth, appearing as game characters. The Arcaders are assembled along with Lt Col. Violet Van Patten (Michelle Monaghan) to take them down and save the world from total annihilation.
The visual effects are great and the comedy... well, not every note is hit.
This high concept comedy is not only right up Chris Columbus’ ally but every kids' fantasy... without the real-life threat of death and destruction. The visual effects are great and the comedy... well, not every note is hit, but enough to keep you happy and satisfied. The four leads make a great team and fit the roles perfectly, having a heap of fun along the way. Side note: watching Josh Gad sing 'Everybody Wants to Rule the World' is both exhilarating and disturbing.
The film has many faults, which oddly, they’re well aware of and actually make fun of throughout the film. It also commits many cinematic crimes, the biggest of which is practically reducing comedic goddess Jane Krakowski to a background player. What!?
‘Pixels’ is supposed to be a slice of fun, and it is. Is it a classic? No. Is it funny? Sometimes. Good enough! This movie is not for the great thinkers of our time, it’s for those looking for a hit of nostalgia that their kids can enjoy too. Go for it.