Congratulations Tomorrowland, you are no longer the biggest disappointment of the year! Yes, it would seem that Pixels (which markets itself as the biggest block buster of the Summer) disappointed me more than a film whose third act ruined what was otherwise an A movie. Why is this? Read on to find out! Pixels is directed by Chris Columbus (Director-Home Alone, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Mrs. Doubtfire), and written by Tim Herlihy and Timothy Dowling. Stars-Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Michelle Monaghan, Peter Dinklage, and Josh Gad (the voice of Olaf). Premise-Aliens interpret classic 80s video games we sent into space to look for signs of life as a declaration of war, so they create tangible, pixilated versions of the video game characters and send them to Earth to destroy us.
I’m going to get the negatives out of the way because I want to forget this cinematic misfire as soon as possible and end on a high note. First, the comedy, or, lack thereof. This movie’s secondary genre is comedy. I recall laughing one time throughout the duration of this movie. So Like Paul Blart 2 it fails one of its primary goals: be funny. Remember the Grown Ups films? Yeah the jokes in Pixels are just like those: lazy and bland. Another Adam Sandler trope that can be found in this movie would be some of the worst acting I have ever seen! Not just from Sandler, but the entire cast puts no effort into their performances (probably because they know it’s a Happy Madison movie). The only respectable actor is Peter Dinklage, too bad his character is a completely unlikeable jerk. Speaking of the characters, all of them are either stereotypes, annoying, unfunny, or all three *cough, Josh Gad, cough*. By the way, the trailers give away way too much. There are so many emotional moments and plot twists (including the climax itself) that the trailer gives away. Finally, the first 12 minutes. This is one of the worst movie openings I have ever seen. It’s clichéd, uninteresting, mean-spirited, and is so incredibly implausible, that it immediately defenestrated my suspension of disbelief.
The best part about this movie is the action and CGI. Whenever the video games attacked, I instantly got excited. The video game characters look incredible! Fluid movements, faithful designs, and great detail make the animation and CGI in Pixels look almost as impressive as the animation in The Lego Movie. You can tell all the effort of this movie went into the CGI. Apart from that, Peter Dinklage is enjoyable, the direction is very impressive (good old Columbus), and the nostalgia meltdown older viewers could get (heck, even I played a few of these games on Plug & Play ports) from just seeing their iconic characters brought to the big screen will be appreciated.
Aside from the CGI and direction, there is next to nothing worth spending your hard earned money on (I bet you worked harder for those ten dollars than Sandler did producing this movie). Bland or annoying characters, unfunny humor, and phoned-in acting ruin a potentially great movie with an even greater premise. Pixels gets Guy’s Guru Grade a D.