In theaters this Friday from director Chris Columbus and Columbia Pictures is a trip back in time that helps the future with “Pixels.”
It is the 1980s when summer was bike riding, good friends and quarters were equivalent to gold. Brenner, Cooper and Ludlow are friends who compete in a video game championship to find out who is the best. When Brenner goes up against Eddie “The Fire Blaster” a final show down sends Brenner away with second place.
Fast forward to present day and Brenner (Adam Sandler) is a tech installer, Cooper (Kevin James) is President of the United States and Ludlow (Josh Gad) still believes in conspiracy. The good news is that they haven’t lost their skills.
When aliens find an arcade game from the 80’s, they see it as war and now Cooper needs his buddies help to set things right. Now calling themselves the ARCADERS, they must complete challenges in the form of Galaga, Space Invaders and Pac-Man in order to win. After it’s discovered that someone cheated, there is one challenge that will decide it all!
He’s big, angry and has a thing for barrels!
Sandler as Brenner gets to play the role of a lifetime – a guy who gets to replay a video game that is his life. I was hoping that this role would be fun to watch and I have to admit I’m surprised. He has good give and take with Monaghan and seems to genuinely be having a good time in this film. Perhaps that’s what has been lacking in previous films, he just needed a joystick!
James as Cooper is the weirdly inept president who calls his boyhood friends to save the world. There are moments of grossness that deal with cupcakes and a Prime Minister and that’s all I have to say about that. Again, it looks like James is also having a good time.
Monaghan as Violet gets to be the yang to Sandler’s yin. Wanting to be a tough gal doesn’t really work if you can’t play Centipede lady! She is fun to watch as she lets her learning lose on some awesome gadgets. Lintz as Matty doesn’t have a big role but at least he gets to have some fun making the film.
Sean Bean gets to have fun as well as Corporal Hill, a military man who wants to take down the bad guy and then go have a beer. Brian Cox plays Admiral Porter, another military man who doesn’t see how the ARCADERS could possible win the battles.
Dinklage as Eddie is absolutely hysterical and fantastic. Of course I’m partial and I don’t mind admitting it. He plays a charming mullet wearing douche bag and yet – you gotta love him for it! Dinklage gets into the role so much so that even the ending, however disturbing, plays well for him. He’s a big winner here.
Other cast include: Dan Aykroyd, Affion Crockett, Lainie Kazan, Ashley Benson, Dennis Akiyama, Tom McCarthy and Jane Krakowski as the First Lady.
TUBS OF POPCORN: I give “Pixels” three and a half tubs of popcorn out of five. Look, this film isn’t going to get an Oscar but dang it was fun to watch. Perhaps it’s because I remember my sons in the 80s playing those very games – okay I played them too! I liked Qbert, Donkey Kong, Centipede, Burger Time (yea, I saw him in there) and so many more.
That’s what makes the film fun! I sat in the theatre with my son laughing at the same things together as if it were an inside joke between us. Also, my grandson was with us and he actually had a good time as well. That’s precisely what this film is – just fun. Not rocket science but a look back at some amazing video games that I would absolutely love if they brought back in there original format.
The graphics were pretty cool as well and the battle with Pac-Man just killed me. Trust me I’ve heard all the down play of the film but I have no problem saying this is just fun – pure and simple fun. It’s goofy, silly, and nostalgic in a way that is enjoyable and yes, Qbert is adorable!
In the end — it’s time to save the world!