Reviews: Pixels

Just As Bad As You Heard It Was

Me and my best friend get each other gag gifts every Christmas. This year, he got me an autographed picture of the host of Restaurant Stakeout. I got him Pixels on DVD. He made us watch it. I think it's fair to say that this year, he won 2-0.

Imagine you're the kind of 8 year old boy who steals his sister's laptop and uses it to Google 'Ben 10 big boobies', and you're daydreaming at school about how cool it would be if you could somehow save the world by having above-average skill at Pokémon. Pixels is that, plus Adam Sandler, so somehow even worse than the premise sounds.

In his childhood, Adam Sandler loses to Peter Dinklage at Donkey Kong in an arcade tournament, and it's a minor detail, but just to emphasize how little anyone involved in this film gives a shit, the Game Over screen that Adam gets is the fucking victory screen from Level 3, where Mario beats Donkey Kong, but with 'Game Over' pasted over it. Footage of this is shot into space to educate aliens about our pop culture and blah blah blah, years later, aliens attack Earth with video game references. Luckily, President Kevin James - wait, what? Kevin James? A clearly incompetent TV personality with no applicable skills somehow gets elected to - y'know, never mind, I can see it.

They're joined by Michelle Monaghan, a US government... person, who Adam was conveniently installing a TV for while comforting through a drunken break-up when this started, and Josh Gad, who runs around and screams a lot and fantasizes about a video game character named 'Lady Lisa' and later when they win a game against the aliens they're awarded Q*bert as a trophy and at the climax - poor choice of words - Q*Bert transforms into Lady Lisa because, erm, why not, and then Josh Gad has sex with Q*Bert and they raise a family of Q*Berts and everyone hopes you didn't notice that the second-billed female actress has no lines and is literally a trophy.

Peter Dinklage also returns to help, but it turns out that he's a cheater! Rather than Adam Sandler being not literally the best person in the world at video games, it turns out that he only lost because Peter cheated on... a Donkey Kong arcade machine? Huh. He also cheats during a Pac-Man sequence, in which he is chasing Pac-Man in a real, physical car. So his cheat codes are so powerful, he can teleport real-life vehicles at will. I repeat; Huh.

The two false-positives I'd heard about this film are the CGI and Peter Dinklage. The CGI is technically impressive, but since Adam, Kevin and Josh aren't really suited for action scenes, they mostly just slowly walk forwards, shooting plastic guns at CGI enemies. And I love Game of Thrones, but Peter's performance and lines are just as embarrassing as everyone else's.

In summary, if anyone can think of a better gag gift for next year, I'd be grateful, because I really don't want to sit through this again.

This movie has about two funny moments. Otherwise, it\'s trash.

While Pixels is nowhere near the worst video game movie, it is still trash. I usually watch movies like this, which are often criticized, and go "that's not so bad" or "So Bad, It's Good", but somebody was outright drunk when they wrote this. First off, while there's one-to-three pros, there's a good amount of cons for each one. It's a dumb action-comedy about gamer nerds, but it goes to Benchwarmers levels of inaccurate to nerds. First off, whoever was doing the research was... not trying. At all. Cheat codes in Pac-Man and Donkey Kong? How do they work in real life like they do? Yet worse, nerds are presented as sleazy-ass losers, universally. The military is useless, there's a gay joke for no discernible reason. (From a straight character, no less.) Sean Bean doesn't die. (But look at his eyes, he's dead inside.)

Adam Sandler is still really bad. Who let this idiot be the president? Why did Dinklage of all people sign on? Seriously, this movie raises too many questions, has too many bad jokes among the half-decent ones, has numerous Critical Research Failure moments, and, also like Benchwarmers, depicts the protagonists as complete losers, making it generic alpha-male trash, except with nerds as the protagonists. And this is not mentioning the terrible "Yogcast" (Yes, they said it Yogcast) marketing campaign, or the implications of sexism. Overall, even with Peter Dinklage, an awesome premise, a big budget,some fairly good jokes, it ends up being a half-assed attempt to appeal to nostalgia, while intentionally making a movie for people in their early teens. While I am fine with people from their early teens knowing about and playing retro video games, being one, they had no idea what the target audience was.

3.5/10, the lowest review I've given so far.

Although, if you want to see the film because Dinklage is in it, go ahead. He was pretty goddamn good. Seriously, though, I'd rather watch Jupiter Ascending than this. And I don't have a very high opinion of that either.

More fun than I thought, but Wreck-It Ralph did it better

I know what you're thinking: "How the hell could I enjoy something made by Adam-fucking-Sandler?" I'm well aware of his reputation for bad movies and when this came on the Starz channel, I went in fully expecting this to be as bad as people say. But after watching it, I strangely didn't have that feeling. I guess I had such low expectations for this film that I ended up enjoying it more than I thought I would. My opinion of this film is split between So Bad, It's Good and So Okay, It's Average.

  • Pros:
    • The special effects involving the video game characters are quite impressive and beautiful to look at. Anytime a character gets pixelated, it's equally impressive and horrifying.
    • The film has some genuinely funny moments at times and there were some jokes that got a laugh out of me. The part with Toru Iwatani was the funniest part of the film.
    • The action scenes were pretty awesome.
    • The songs that played in some scenes were fun to listen to and helped made the action scenes cool.

  • Cons:
    • We don't get much information about the alien invaders and at no point do any of the characters try to tell the aliens that the space capsule wasn't a challenge to them.
    • The Reveal that Eddie used cheat codes to both win the contest and make the car teleport is bar none, the most headache-inducing Ass Pull I've ever seen in a movie. How the hell do you use cheat codes in a fucking arcade game?!
      • Likewise, Q-Bert turning into Lady Lisa and making out with Ludlow is another Ass Pull and is just flat out disgusting.
    • Speaking of Ludlow, he's the most annoying character in the whole film. The others are tolerable at best, but he's the only character I genuinely hate. His constant screaming is ear grating and he's nothing but a walking stereotype of how people who play video games are basement-dwelling losers. As a gamer myself, I despise that stereotype with a passion.
    • The film also comes off as unintentionally sexist with the message that women are nothing more than trophies for men to be rewarded with such as Eddie asking for Serena Williams like she's just a prize and Ludlow's sick obsession with Lady Lisa.

Overall, It's not the worst video game film I've seen, but hardly the best. Like I said, Wreck-It Ralph did it better.

More Happy Madison trash

I don't know what's up with the other reviews, but do not take them at face value. The movie is absolute trash, pure and simple.

It's unfunny, immature, bland, badly acted, and very, very, VERY sexist. The ending will make you want to take a shower.

The visual effects are...okay. Six or seven years ago, they might have been stunning, but nowadays, they're pretty average for a popcorn blockbuster.

Anyways, don't see it. It's not even worth it for the video games, which are hardly explored anyways.

Watch Ant-Man, Southpaw, or hell, even Paper Towns. Jus skip this piece of shit.

Not the best video game film, but also not the worst

I don't get why people want to bash Pixels - except for the fact that it stars someone who had been in some poor movies. And while I'll admit that the visual effects are not as great as some, and some of the games featured doesn't get so much meaning, I must admit that the Pac-Man sequence is what really sold me, by showcasing how each of the three Arcaders worked.

It might had been a tie at the end (Three wins, although one called out as a cheat, for us, and two wins and no cheats for the aliens) but at least this film, while not the best example of how to make a film based on video games, at least is much better, in my opinion, than the Super Mario Bros Movie. And I would give it at least a 7/10, maybe a bit higher.

Actually really good

To be honest, the only thing I'd known about this movie before it showed up was its trailer and that it had Adam Sandler with it. It was only now that I've read Pixels' TV Tropes page and found out how much hate it gets. But you know what? It's actually a pretty awesome movie, provided you don't think too hard about it. It has a fun premise, really awesome action scenes and outstanding visuals. The characters are all quirky in their own ways and the ending kept me at the edge of my seat. Some scenes did make me chuckle, too, albeit probably not all the authors wanted me to laugh at.

Of course, it's not a perfect movie, as the first act, save for the 1982 beginning and the Guam base scene, is pretty cringeworthy, but believe me, It Gets Better. From the moment the cast arrives in London, it's a great ride, and at the end I wished it could take at least half an hour longer. And there are some... weird scenes, but if you hear people saying "Q*bert was raped in this film!", then they are dead wrong and it's much more complicated that they make it seem. After the first act was over, I loved all characters in this movie - yes, including the one which was supposed to do the raping - and I'm certainly going to see it again one day.

Long story short - nice no-brainer to watch with a pack of popcorn and I believe it Needs More Love.