Director Chris Columbus, whose previous directing credits include “Home Alone” and the first two movies of the “Harry Potter” series, has yet again released a film that has a one-of-a-kind thrill with “Pixels“. Imagine Ghostbusters, only with popular ’80s video game characters instead of ghosts, Adam Sandler instead of Bill Murray, and absolutely zero sense of anarchic gonzo inspiration. His character is called upon to save the planet when an alien race attacks Earth after discovering a time capsule containing arcade games and taking it as an act of war.
Brennan, whose confidence was destroyed by losing to Eddie (aka “Fireblaster”) in the “Donkey Kong” world championships, hasn’t gone as far as Chewy. He has ended up as a self-deprecating, aw-shucks but defensive employee of the Nerd Brigade, installing Playstations.
Desperate to thwart the attacks President Will Cooper (James) turns to his lifelong friend Brenner and several other old-school arcaders (Dinklage and Josh Gad) for assistance.
Brennan and Ludlow are ordered to impart their finely honed game skills to the Navy SEALs.
“Pixels“, directed by Chris Columbus, delivers a blast of energetic fun, though there are no satirical winks at its “Godzilla“-like formula”. Humans decide to send a timecapsule to space containing videos of beloved video games. And Josh Gad as the shy loner who grew into an adult version of the same creature, and now must find his way out of his shell.
As Sam, Sandler doesn’t work up a sweat. At this point, Sandler seems to put in appearances only to get movies financed. “So we treated them all with tremendous respect”. “With a broadly humorous, PG-13 tone, it feels like a kids” film.
Plus when it comes to the arcade game that is Hollywood, it’s best to not dismiss a big, familiar name.
Aside from Gad, other cast members of the “Pixels” movie are doing their own thing to promote the film and have also been going on a lot of interviews about it as of late.
Alas, Fire Blaster is mostly sidelined in between, victim of a screenplay that’s long on bad dialog and short on developing any character or subplot. Poor Ashley Benson plays a “trophy” who has no lines at all. Eighteen-year-old Jackie Xerri, who picked up her diploma a few weeks ago and goes off to college next month, says the characters in the movie could have been her best friends in real life. But the special effects are competent rather than dazzling, and the whole enterprise quickly runs out of steam long before its end.