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Triangle Downtowner Magazine

Movie Review: Pixels

Jul 29, 2015 10:39AM ● By Davis Johnson
    Adam Sandler’s new movie, Pixels, fails to pull in opening weekend. The movie is based off of Patrick Jean's video-game themed short film of the same name. Frequent Happy Madison screenplay collaborators: Tim Herlihy and Timothy Dowling had a good premise to work with, only to fall into the usual lackluster pitfall. The film is filled with only brief moments of laughter and immature humor that leaves audiences regretting even spending the money to see it.

                                                 WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD

    The story begins with a flashback from 1982 of young Sam Brenner (Anthony Ippolito) and best friend Will Cooper (Jared Riley) playing in an arcade where Sam discovers he has a knack for them. He decides to enter the Arcade Game World Championships to become the best. The tournament’s MC reveals that a time capsule will be launched into space for any potential extraterrestrial life to find. Included in the capsule would be footage of the tournament’s participants and the games they played. Sam and Will befriend eight-year-old Ludlow Lamonsoff (Jacob Shinder) who is obsessed with video game character Lady Lisa. Sam makes it to the final round of the tournament where he faces off against renowned gamer Eddie Plant (Andrew Bambridge). Eddie wins the competition and lords it over Sam’s head.

    The scene shifts to a now grown up Sam (Adam Sandler) working at a Geek Squad knock off called Nerd where he installs electronics and still best friend Will (Kevin James) is now the President of the United States. While installing an entertainment system at a Violet Van Patten’s (Michelle Monaghan) house, Sam finds her crying and drinking in her closet over her recent divorce. The two drink and talk about their failed relationships. Believing there was a moment between the two, Sam tries to kiss Violet only to be pushed away.

    It’s at this point where Will calls Sam to the White House where he reveals that a military base in Guam was attacked and it looks like the ships from “Galaga" are the culprits. When Will and Sam try to convince the National Security Council, they are laughed at and humiliated. On Sam’s drive home he finds, now conspiracy theorist, Ludlow (Josh Gad) waiting for him. Ludlow shows him a tape of aliens reaching out to Earth believing that the footage of the arcade video games was a declaration of war. Each side would have three lives and the classic arcade games would be used as a challenge while the battlefield would change locations after each round.

    Ludlow and Sam are tasked with teaching a group of soldiers how to beat the video games. Violet turns out to be a high-level scientist who help create an array of weaponry that shoots out particles of light that interfere with the alien’s pixelation. The soldiers can’t handle their pixelated foes and so Sam and his team recruit Eddie (Peter Dinklage) to help defeat the aliens and save the world.

    Pixels is by no means a great movie. In fact, several of the cast members did not even seem to care about the film and it shows in their performances. Adam Sandler was constantly half-hearted in his role and moved almost sluggishly, like it was pain to even be on set. The plot often ran flat and did not leave much to be desired. One of the hardest things to believe was that Kevin James managed to become President. Even Academy Award nominated Chris Columbus seemed to only show up for a quick paycheck. I’m still wondering how he was persuaded to even direct this film. The biggest question I’m asking myself is why on earth did Peter Dinklage bother with this movie? It will in no way help his career, and he’s definitely not in desperate need of work.

    One of the few good things about this film was the quality of the special effects. This aspect of the film seemed to be the main priority as they overshadowed the cast in almost every way. One of the main highlights was Q*bert and the hilarity he brought. Although definitely not the worst Adam Sandler movie, Pixels is definitely one you can wait to watch online at home. A sequel to this film seems to be highly unlikely.