“We now return to your regularly scheduled vacation movie recaps. Earlier I talked about my buddy and I going to see Southpaw while I was in Chicago. The story doesn’t end there. He might not see quite as many movies as I do, but he’s certainly up to the task of trying to keep up with me over a couple days. We were debating what movie to double with. Both of us had been eyeing Pixels, but the word on the street was that it was terrible. Before we continued the debate further, I stopped him. “”Look, I’ll probably end up seeing this movie either way, but I do not want to subject you to what is probably an awful movie unless you really want to””. I pride myself on being able to give great movie recommendations for people, and I won’t vouch for a movie that’s not good without at least a disclaimer.
As with Southpaw, we decided to let the scheduling gods decide our fate. Pixels timed up perfectly. Even more perfect was that we could see Southpaw first with a clear mind, and then grab a couple of those giant sized beers for Pixels. We assumed they’d be very much needed. Anyways, I don’t know if it was the beer or the very low expectations, but the movie wasn’t all that bad.
So because of reasons, aliens are invading Earth in the form of old school 80s video games. That means giant Pac-Man and Centipede, among others, are roaming the planet, destroying and pixelating everything in their way. Just go with it. In comes the geekiest gaggle of geeks, a quartet of former video game world champions to defeat them.
Here’s the gist. Adam Sandler was creepy. Kevin James was boring. Peter Dinklage was awkward. Josh Gad was kinda awesome. I’d expected most of those adjectives, but switched around a bit.
We know Sandler hasn’t had a winner in a while, but he still insists on sticking with his shtick, rather than branching out and trying something new. Please please Mr Sandler, go back to the mindset you were in circa Punch Drunk Love and Spanglish and try to stretch out a bit. The whole Sandler/Michelle Monaghan thing just felt wrong and uncomfortable. His buddy Kevin James is in a similar funk, role wise, and he just sorta coasted thru this one. I think the point where the suspension of disbelief failed for me was James as POTUS. Nope, game over.
I thought Dinklage would be our scene stealer, and was excited to see him in a big movie that’s pretty far removed from Game of Thrones, but something just missed the mark. A combination of a poorly written role and trying too hard. Our scene stealer actually turned out to be Gad, who, let’s face it, I should have expected greatness from. He jived with the tone of the movie, picked his spots to stand out, and just owned it. If it had just been him trying to save the world instead of the team, I think we would have had a much better movie.
So a lot of the jokes fell flat. The cast had some flaws. There were too many unintentional uncomfortable moments. But the few jokes that landed, landed well. Nostalgia abounded, each time we welcomed a new beloved character to the screen. And if nothing else, the effects were incredible. Visually amazing. There might be a decent 20 minute movie in there if you cut out most of the crap. Just have Josh Gad hang out with Qbert playing real life video games. That’s all I ask, and all we would have needed.
Please just ignore the rating. It’s the beer talking. I’m really not endorsing this movie unless nothing I said deterred you, and you accept that you have been forewarned and forearmed, and will not hold me liable for sending you to a bad movie. The circumstances were just right for it to be enjoyably bad moreso than painfully bad.
Pixels – \m/ \m/ \m/”