Well Pixels is not the worst film ever made but it's not very good either.


A film with a promising set-up in which alien invaders believe a time capsule launched into space in the 80s including footage of a video game competition is a declaration of war and send down real versions of the likes of Pac-Man, Donkey Kong and Centipede to battle Earth. A group of former arcade gamers turn out to be Earth's only hope for survival.

I had moderate hopes for Pixels. The best case scenario was a harmless high-concept ensemble comedy blockbuster that just happens to have Adam Sandler in it. Sadly you get a film that is essentially an Adam Sandler comedy awkwardly welded to a high concept idea.
So while the video games come to life stuff is fun for the most part, you also have to put up with obnoxious emotionally stunted white men and thinly written female characters in a film where Kevin James plays the President of the United States.

A film where nerds win the day is all well and good but did we really need the rather unpalatable misogyny where women who don't put out are snobby prudes, those who do are sluts and, at the end, women who are literally awarded as trophies and rewards for the male characters.
Unforgivably it also casts Jane Krakowski, hilarious in 30 Rock and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, and gives her absolutely nothing to do.
Adam Sandler and Kevin James are their usual charmless selves and Josh Gad alternates between funny and annoying as per usual. Only Peter Dinklage makes an impression and it takes him over 45 minutes to show up.

There's a fun concept here but it doesn't get the script that would have made it really work. It gets a script co-written by someone who also wrote Grown Ups 2 and with it everything that implies. It's also an incredibly lazy script, making up rules to how these video game battles would work in real life but with little logic or sense. Reaching a real low point when we find out one of the characters has used an arcade cheat in the fight against Pac Man on the streets of New York. Exactly how he achieves this is unclear, we are just told it happens despite it being physically impossible.

Pixels is a frustrating watch. It's an idea that had potential. Futurama tackled a similar idea back in 2002. So watch that instead. Alternatively hunt down the original 2010 short on youtube that this was based on, it has all that's good about this in just under 3 minutes. And no Adam Sandler.


Review by Kevin Knapman


Pixels (3D) (12A)
1hr 46min

Director: Chris Columbus
Starring: Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Michelle Monaghan, Josh Gad, Peter Dinklage


UK Release: Wednesday 12th August 2015

www.pixels-movie.com