From Chris Columbus, the man that "discovered" America... Wait, I mean, the man that directed the first two Harry Potter and Home Alone films comes, Pixels, what is essentially 80s Video games and Nostalgia - The Movie.
Pixels is receiving a ton of negative reviews. Everyone is saying it is just another awful Adam Sandler movie. Many critics are even giving it their lowest rating. But does it deserve such hate? Is this old school nostalgia trip really that bad? Let's find out!
You are probably wondering why I am reviewing Pixels and not Ant-Man right now. Unfortunately, that is because I am still waiting for either Ant-Man to come to the local theater or to get a ride out of town. Until then, I will have to settle with Pixels...
Directed by: Chris Columbus
Genre: Comedy, Adventure, Sci-Fi, Video Games
Release Date: July 24, 2015
Running Time: 105 minutes
MMPA rating: PG-13
The Good: Video games brought to life!, 80s music rocks, Fun concept, Funny 80 referential humor, Peter Dinklage is great, One hilarious scene if you understand Japanese
The Bad: Kevin James is the President?, Many Jokes fall flat, Humor is completely lost to those not familiar with the 80s, One big plot mistake,
Plot Summary: A space capsule is sent into space with footage of earth's culture, including video games, and an alien species finds it and perceives it to be a threat. To retaliate, the aliens create warriors based on the old video games to challenge earth, and the best old school gamers must save the day!
Plot: 6.3/10- Conceptually, Pixels plot is fantastic for a comedy. With the concept alone, it should be fun, and while that is true, everything other than the concept is not particularly interesting or special in any way. There is a clichéd romance, and plethora of other clichés. Thankfully, the film never takes itself seriously, although the one glaring plot hole towards the end is a little too ridiculous.
Characterization: 3.2/10- From Sam Brenner, the Pac-Man champion, to Will Cooper, the President of United States, the characters are all goofy and not particularly interesting. What you are really watching the movie for are the video game characters like Pac-Man and Donkey Kong, and if you are not familiar with those classic games and 80s pop culture, then this movie is probably not for you.
Direction: 6.0/10- Chris Columbus actually makes good use of the video games to create entertaining sequences of the video games destroying cities. It is nothing special, but watching a giant Pac-Man wreck the streets of New York as the characters in "Ghosts" chase him is fun to watch
Acting: 4.5/10- Adam Sandler plays his usual self, although I have avoided most of his films from the last several years, so I do not dislike him as much as others. Kevin James plays a very unconvincing President with only a few of his scenes being funny. Michelle Monaghan is the obligatory romantic-interest, and Josh Gad plays a goofy and forgettable character. Peter Dinklage is the obvious standout of the cast, as he elevates the otherwise mediocre material. However, Jane Krakowski, who most known for 30 Rock, which I just finished on Monday, really should have gotten more than two lines, because she is a hilarious "Act-Tor." (30 Rock reference)
Soundtrack: 7.5/10- 80s music rocks! It is just the best, and the use of it makes scenes that would otherwise be just okay, far more entertaining with songs like "Everybody Wants To Rule The World," by Tears For Fears and "We Will Rock You," by Queen. Henry Jackman, who also worked as composer for Wreck-It Ralph, composes the original score, and it a fittingly video game inspired score for the film.
Humor: 6.0/10- Pixels' humor is not particularly smart. It is not particularly well written. But what it is, is funny if you enjoy 80s pop culture. About half of the non-referential humor is not that funny, but I always enjoy humorous references to 80s culture, like Fantasy Island, Hall & Oates, and Ronald Reagan. So, it was a strange feeling that my brother, mother, and I were the only people laughing at certain jokes in the movie. Also, I was the only person reacting to the scene when Josh Gad speaks in random Japanese to the creator of Pac-Man, which is funny if you understand a little Japanese.
The biggest problem with the humor is that Pixels is not necessarily a comedy the entire time, or at least that is what felt like. The novelty of fighting video game characters is the main part of the entertainment, not the comedy.
Mildly Funny: 35%
Not Funny: 35%
Entertainment Value: 7.0/10- Watching a giant Pac-Man attack New York is entertaining since Pac-Man is something that I have known for as long as I can remember. Sure, the majority of audiences probably will not find the film to be nearly as entertaining, but I had a fun time with it.
Overall: 6.0/10- Thanks to the fun video game scenarios and 80s references, Pixels is a fun flick to watch with friends and family, and ultimately, having fun is what matters most. It might be dumb, and the humor can fall flat, so if you do not have much knowledge or attachment to 80s pop culture, I would lower the score to a 4.0/10. Otherwise, Pixels is worth a rental, although I do not regret watching it in theaters.
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