Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Review: Pixels

World of Blackout Film Review

Pixels (2015 film)
Pixels (3D) Poster

Pixels is a 2015 American comedy film [citation needed] produced by Columbia Picures and Happy Madison Productions, based on a 1982 video game in which the players control Adam Sandler and Kevin James, urinating over the smouldering ashes of a generation's charred memories of adolescent fun.

The film is directed [citation needed] by Chris Columbus, rated 12A in the UK, runs for 106 excruciating minutes and holds an overall score of 18% on review-aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes.
It is a longer, much more painful version of its trailer.

A sort of shoddily re-hashed Ghostbusters, filtered through Wreck-It Ralph, but with the wit, warmth or inventiveness of neither. After NASA send a video-cassette of gameplay footage into the solar system in 1982, a race of aliens misunderstands the… y'know, what? Fuck it. That's already more effort than the film makes to explain itself.

Evil pixel-y things fall from sky!
Adam Sandler must save world whilst hitting on MILF!

That's about it.
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Adam Sandler as a charmless, underachieving man-child in a dead-end 'cable guy' job who's chosen to save the world because he's special, see? (and is friends with the US President) Like all the best [citation needed] Adam Sandler characters, he doesn't have to change one single iota throughout the entire screenplay, as acceptance by his superiors, the admiration of his peers and the awe of humanity's enemies is all handed directly to him in return for no effort. Most importantly, for a champion video-game player, Sandler himself is never seen actually playing any video games. Not once.

Kevin James as Adam Sandler's best friend who has inexplicably (ie, it's not explained) been elected US President. At first I thought this could be a subtle play on Bill Gates' 'be nice to geeks' quip, but since his character is demonstrably thick as pigshit and every bit as charming, it hardly underlines the point.

Josh Gad, who's mostly there because Adam and Kevin are. He plays a geek and conspiracy theorist who is a closeted gay when it suits the script for cheap laughs, but is mostly enamoured by a fictional female game character (Ashley Benson) whose incarnation as an actress is markedly less lifelike than her 8-bit pixelated form.

Michelle Monaghan as Lieutenant Colonel Van Patten of the US Military who is also a single-mother, but who is still reduced to being The Girl One™ on account of this being an Adam Sandler film.

Peter Dinklage struts around the film as a cocky, self-absorbed video-game champion with no redeemable qualities until the third-act reveal that he cheated in the Finals, after which he struts around as a cocky, slightly contrite video-game ex-chamption with no redeemable qualities. Dinklage can do comedy, he just doesn't do it here.

Brian Cox as another X-Men alumnus mistakenly believing that Pixels would be a good way to show that old guys can have fun, too! Plays a constantly angry Army-major stereotype who's so crudely pencilled into the script he's more of a monotype.

Sean Bean as a Professional Yorkshireman, again, whose role as a British Army major is to unconvincingly yet unquestioningly spout a script full of Americanisms.
The entertainment industry's search for Bean's self-awareness continues.
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Sandler clumsily ad-libs his way around a script which took longer to read back than it did to write, whilst the other performers recite their lines with a a combination of disbelief and world-weary acceptance.
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All things considered, the CGI interpretations of 1980s video-game classics are relatively good. Still not outstanding, but certainly more accomplished than anything else in the film. The 3D presentation is thoroughly under-used, given the film's penchant for having digital creatures flying around the screen at frequent intervals.
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Critical Response
Movie-blog World Of Blackout scored the film 1 out of 7, the site's lowest rating, stating "Pixels is a towering monument to lazy and inept screenwriting and performance; the living embodiment of everything that's wrong with focus-grouped, Hot Topic nostalgia. It's the Hollywood studio-system's equivalent of Peter Kay asking you if you remember Pac-Man for two hours, by the end of which you'll wish you didn't."
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The film Pixels comprises of an attack on Earth by extra-terrestrials who learned about human civilisation from a VHS cassette launched into space in 1982. The film doesn't go so far as explaining why the alien forces then go on to make references to both Paperboy and Max Headroom, both of which were developed in 1984.

If a film about popular culture can't even get its own references right, why should an audience bother?

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And if I HAD to put a number on it…

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
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