And like “Transformers”, “Pixels” has 1980’s nostalgia going for it. More than 30 years ago, NASA sent a time capsule into space that included popular arcade games, but the aliens misinterpreted the gesture as an act of war.
Director Chris Columbus helped define 1980s movies as the writer of “Gremlins” and “The Goonies“, before directing classic comedies like “Home Alone” and “Mrs. Doubtfire”. But the special effects are competent rather than dazzling, and the whole enterprise quickly runs out of steam long before its end.
He said “Pixels” was like a mixture of some of his past projects.
“I would start with a siesta every day for three hours”.
It’s actually the movie’s nominal star, Sandler, who drags things down here, caught up in another plot that requires a smart, hot woman (Michelle Monaghan) to fall in love with his grizzled man-child.
Production Designer Peter Wenham orchestrated the iconic video game characters that transition from their classic 8-bit forms to fully realized 3D threats. A comedy film is a departure from his role on TV – and Pixels never allows him to show what he can do. So they attack Earth, using video games as the models for their strikes. “We had to determine how that would work, what it would look like – when a Space Invaders bomb hits the asphalt, it blows a hole, but it also pixelates so that the asphalt turns into pixels”.
Along for the ride is Ludlow (Josh Gad), who Cooper and Brenner met at a video game competition.
“Adam had been developing (Pixels) for some time, and I was shocked that some of the rights were already in place such as Pac-Man and Centipede”.
Though it’s a less-horrifying idea than most of its siblings in the pits of ASM hell, “Pixels” is another story reverse-engineered so characters don’t mind that Sandler’s character, here a self-described nerd with no humility whatsoever, is a total asshole.
“When you have only put out four films in a year and only two made over $50 million, you can see why investors may get jumpy”, the Oracle said.
Then there’s hero No. 2, who exhibits some serious sexual confusion, first lusting after a video game character, then lusting after other men, then finally settling on an Amazonian princess. “But it’s more than that”.
When asked what he thinks about the film, Jean doesn’t give the usual Hollywood spin. But like any great heel, Mitchell plays mind games with Wiebe, and says things on camera like, “Oh, Billy Mitchell always has a plan”, to get under Wiebe (and the viewer’s) skin.