Adam Sandler, the man we love to hate, is back with his next feature and taking on the world of retro gaming, but is he still chasing the ghosts of his past success?…
As viewer blood-lust starts to subside after Fantastic Four it is perhaps unfortunate timing for Pixels release; so far the film has been largely slated, perhaps a little unfairly. As usual Sandler stars as a slightly bumbling fool, this time as a nerdy tech installer. It happens that this is the perfect credentials to save the world – as the footage of the World Gaming Championships is mistaken for a challenge by an alien race. Along the way we meet his team of world class ‘Arcaders’, who all happen to be local. This includes the president of the United States (Kevin James). To watch a trailer or glimpse a synopsis you may feel it’s just another summer movie to brush under the rug, however it did manage to redeem itself within the contexts of a Sandler movie.
Josh Gad, who plays Ludlow, brought his best game, be it hurling sexually confusing abuse/accolades at muscular Navy seals, or losing himself to hilarious freak-outs, he was a joy to watch. Sandler too acquitted himself well as he found an air of feistiness and wit to spice up his eternal goofiness. The banterous love story started out well with Michele Monaghan displaying plenty of sass, although Sandler’s charm winning out in the end was as irksome and unbelievable as usual. Josh Gad shows his talent in his attachment to the fictional Lady Lisa. This is amusing to witness and linked well with the plot, leaving you to wonder at the point of the second romance. Dinklage played his part as the rival gaming champion well but was perhaps not used to his full potential, his best performances coming from a drier style of comedy and more serious scripts. That said his out-there character with unrealistic expectations was an amusing addition.
There was no holding back on the visuals for the film as the retro characters merged perfectly into the real world. Be it Qubert, Pacman or Centipede, they were lovingly created and each with enough character to stop them becoming a pretty backdrop. The brief excursions around the world added a nice touch, Sean Bean did his best Sharpe impression to hilarious effect juxtaposed to the Hollywood buffoonery. We also got to see a great demo of the Sony Z3 mobile in India…
Pixels was never going to be an Oscar winner, it’s a Sandler; simple, easy to understand and slightly misconstructed in an almost deliberate way. If you were a collector of Sandler’s work you would probably agree it wasn’t his worst. It is fun and mindless and that is all it sets out to achieve.
Author – Joe, Bath store