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Pixels Review

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Adam Sandler is a bit of a conundrum when it comes to reactions to his movies. Anyone who spends any time on a movie website would surely believe that the actor is one of the most loathe of his generation, and yet critics are often completely at odds with audiences for his movies, as his massive box office appeal is testament to.



With that being said, it does help to go in to his movies of late with somewhat lowered expectations, and Pixels is no different in that regard. This movie isn't going to feature heavily in the Oscars promo next February. The plot, is simple enough; Sandler plays Brenner, an electronics salesman whose only real claim to any kind of glory was coming second in the 1982 Worldwide Video Arcade Championships. NASA broadcast footage of said competition and an alien race found the footage but interpreted it as a declaration of war. Now, with the space invaders coming to Earth to wreak havoc in the form of Pac-Man shaped bundles of energy, the president of the USA (Kevin James...no, really) decides to enlist the help of Brenner, his childhood buddy, and a gaggle of uber geeky gamers to take down the alien menace.

If you're still on the fence about this, then it really is one to avoid. This movie is going to appeal to kids and to a specific demographic of thirty-something-year-old guys who lived for pumping coins into arcade machines. Pixels is neon-drenched trip down memory lane for 80's kids, with a pulsating, retro beat soundtrack and some surprisingly old school charm. The movie treats these classic games and game characters with much more respect then Sandler usually affords his audience, and the slapstick / fart gags are kept to the bare minimum here.


Credit is due Tim Herlihy, whose screenplay has enough fun and child friendly action to keep it interesting for kiddies both small and big alike. Director Chris Columbus gets the most out of this rag tag bunch of actors and uses enough restraint to keep the Sandler / James combo from drowning out the support players and swallowing up the charisma of the movie. Sandler will never be the most popular actor around, but judged on his performance here he still has what it takes to carry a big budget comedy and play to a pretty wide audience. Columbus also deftly handles the visuals, and the sugary sweet pixelated invaders soon take on a life and personality of their own on screen.

While Pixels has it's problems and is undeniably silly, it's also undeniably fun and infectiously entertaining; crammed full of great cameos and bursting with 80's nostalgia. If you have still have a special fondness in your heart for Pac-Man, Donkey Kong and the era that kick started the arcade boom then brush aside whatever concerns you may have, go in and embrace the colourful silliness and fun of the movie.


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The Movie Bit: Pixels Review
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