The film, based on a short film by the same name, is directed by Harry Potter and The Sorcerer's Stone fame Chris Columbus.
What's it about:
The Earth is being attacked by aliens, who misreads a time capsule sent by us in the space during the '80s, and thinks we want to compete with them. They sent down famous arcade videogame characters from the '80s like the Galaga, Arkanoid to challenge us. The President of the US of A (Kevin James) enlists his childhood friends, Brenner (Adam Sandler, in a role that he had played umpteen times), an arcade video-game prodigy and Ludlow (Josh Gad, loud but bearable) a conspiracy theorist and fan of Lady Lisa from the Dojo Quest game. They are also helped by Lt Colonel Violet van Patten (Michelle Monaghan), a weapons developer for Pentagon. Although Brenner and Ludlow are able to thwart the alien attack once in the form of the Centipede game, they know that further attacks will get more dangerous. So they reluctantly enlist Brenner's brash former video game-playing nemesis Eddie Plant (Peter Dinklage, not given enough material to prove his potential...although his Marta Stewart reference is hilarious!). Will the group manage to save Earth from getting 'Game Over' is what the film is all about...
First things first, Pixels is not a gross-out Adam Sandler comedy like the Grown Ups series or Jack and Jill, and there is no irritating Rob Schneider either, so that's a huge plus. Adam Sandler himself is subdued this time, letting Josh Gad and Peter Dinklage take the spotlight. Kevin James also restrains himself and we can live with that. The special effects are real good. For all those who have been bred on those famous 80s games like Pac-Man, Tetris, Centipede, Donkey Kong will have a few nostalgic moments here (even Super Mario makes a cameo). The Pac-Man sequence is by far the best scene in the film (though how the gaming nerds suddenly turn out to behave like Dominic Torretto and his Fast and the furious team remains unexplained!). And Lady Lisa is quite hot! Also watch out for the cameos from tennis prodigy Serena Williams and TV personality, Martha Stewart!
The movie goes for a dive after that Pac-Man sequence. There is a party scene which does nothing but drag things unnecessarily. Though a lot of things happen in the climax, it's easily predictable and offer no surprises. Few jokes impress but most fall flat. Also the Q*Bert CGI character was irritating, and is totally targeted at the younger kids. The entire conflict with regards to Adam Sandler's character coming second in a World gaming contest as a teenager which made him turn out to be a loser later, also lacks meat. How can someone who became the second best be termed a loser? Talented actors like Game of Thrones' Sean Bean and 30 Rock fame Jane Krakowski are totally wasted. Also, as an Indian I have a little trivia to all Hollywood filmmakers - no locals in India speak with a foreign accent!
What to do:
Though movie certainly has a lot of flaws, it is still a decent entertainer, especially when you are aware that it came from the Adam Sandler stable. Go with the least of expectations, and you won't come out disappointed!
3.0 out of 5
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