What if the guy/dude/bro made a movie about nerds and starred as the nerd? You get Pixels, and it is a mess.
Even though our gaming culture is hotly divided, I've never seen a thing that has all sides agreeing on its shitty-ness. This movie was supposed to be for gamers, but it ended up pissing off everyone into gaming. Pixels isn't the non-narrative mess that were the Grown Ups movies, but it is in the trend of keeping up with Sandler's bad movies.
Pixels is based on the short film of the same name with some added Sandler bullshit. Old school videogames come to life and attack the world. This is Wreck it Raph without the charm. And, the world has to combat these aliens/VG character...in the form of Adam Sandler. Enjoy.
Sandler doesn't give a shit about this movie. I mean Adam looks so disinterested at this point, I'd tell him to retire. Of course, he's playing the same man-child. However, he is not playing the super rich man-child he's been playing for the last ten years. I'll give him credit for that. But, it is the same character as That's My Boy. Just stop doing movies, Sandler.
This movie does feel different and probably has to do with this story being more of a Chris Columbus story than an Adam Sandler one. Columbus also directed this and it sort of feels like a CC movie. However, the flashbacks are pure Sandler garbage with his over-fetish-ized of the 80s. It even goes as far as the enemy aliens talking to Earth via famous people from the 80s. (That kind of worked.)
Why was Sandler cast in this movie? I never viewed Sandler as a nerd or a VG fan other than Madden and NBA games. He's too much of a dude/bro here to make it believable that he's that good at videogames. Anyone but Sandler would be better.
Let's get into the worst aspect of the movie and that is King of Queens/Paul Blart himself Kevin James. James plays the President of the United States. This is so out of place with the rest of the movie and isn't funny at all. Plus, James is playing a dumber version of Bush. I know Sandler wanted to include his buddy, but did he need to be the president? I know they wanted to have Sandler's character have a direct connection to the White House, but not like this. It isjust lazyand clearly a way to include some bros.
The special effects do shine though. I enjoyed seeing the old school videogames coming to life and interacting with the real world. That stuff plays pretty good despite the foolishness of the plot. The movie does a good job showing these 2D characters in a 3D world. Okay, that's fine. I grew up on these old school games. There is a fondness to seeing these old VG characters and it is good to see them again.
However, the movie doesn't really keep up with its own rules. The movie says the VG creatures have to follow certain rules within the VG world. The movie then totally disregard those rules. Then, there is a plot reveal about a character using cheat codes, except most arcade games didn't have cheat codes. Most of the home versions of the games used cheat codes. Plus, people would have noticed this character using cheat codes. Why hang the plot on such a faulty premise that is the cheat codes?
-Pac Man chase: This entire action sequence works and I wished the entire movie was like this scene. Pac-Man looks great and it looks cool interacting with things in the city. And, this scene has one of the best jokes in the movie, which was spoiled by the trailer.
-People do die: From the sides of the screen, you can see people actually dying. One extra can be seen losing their legs after the centipede runs past him.
-Josh Gad: He's not roughly the same age as the other two leads. The movie wants you to believe he is though. And, he plays a 4chan/reddit conspiracy nut, but it really never goes anywhere.
-Donkey Kong was cool in 3D: First, it is cool to see the bad guy verison. Second, the final battle was pretty interesting to watch despite the fact Sandler is telephoning it in.
-Peter Dinklage is pretty bad: I loved him in the X-Men movie, but not here. He plays another VG champ.
In the end, the movie doesn't fully fill like a stupid Adam Sandler movie and more like a Chris Columbus film. Most of the Sandler jokes feel forced and just plain bad. The FX shots are fun and we needed more of this stuff and less of human comedy bullshit. There is a good VG movie buried in this lame comedy, but it is too bad it is wrapped in this silly dude/bro comedy. Sandler looks and sounds bored at this point and usn't even the highlight.
This is not a total failure, but watch Wreck It Ralph instead.