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  • Alternate Character Interpretation: Delving deeper into the "character" part; Q*Bert never showed any shapeshifting abilities before turning into Lady Lisa - did she somehow hear Ludlow and then forcefully overwrite Q*Bert with her own data just to be with him again?
  • Ass Pull:
    • Q*Bert becoming Lady Lisa... somehow.
    • Eddy using a cheat code to teleport in the Pac-Man fight. The movie doesn't even try to explain how a code from a video game could be used to make a real car teleport, plus it makes no sense to have a code that applies to the villain characters rather than the player one.
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    • Eddy also apparently used this same cheat code in "Pac Man" to win during his competitive arcade days, which opens up a whole host of Fridge Logic. For one, Pac Man doesn't have any cheat codes, and being one of the most popular arcade games ever, almost anyone could tell you that. Not to mention how did he enter it at a tournament in front of dozens of spectators with no one noticing??
  • Audience-Alienating Premise: Part of the reason that the movie was so off-putting to fans is the presence of Adam Sandler, whose films in the New Tens (most infamously Jack and Jill and That's My Boy) had not exactly given him a positive reputation. Others felt the reliance on 80s games and/or references alienated both younger audiences (who wouldn't get said references) and older audiences (who are more likely to be familiar with the Video-Game Movies Suck problem). The gamer stereotyping specified below didn't help.
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  • Awesome Music: "Game On", from Good Charlotte and Waka Flocka Flame, is an incredible adrenaline rush.
  • Cliché Storm: The film contains the worst of the Adam Sandler movie tropes, such as the quirky Loser Protagonist that society thinks will amount to nothing, The Bully who puts him down and a Will They or Won't They? subplot. If you're familiar with any of his past films, you could predict where every plot point would go long before it resolves itself in-story.
  • Critical Dissonance: The film seemed to fare marginally better with audiences than with critics. It's rated 50% on the Rotten Tomatoes user scores and 5.7/10 on IMDb, indicating a pretty even split between those who liked it and those who hated it.
  • Critical Research Failure: It's a major plot point that one character used "cheat codes" in a Pac-Man tournament. First of all, Pac-Man doesn't have cheat codes. Second of all, the film never explains how said cheat codes were inputted, how they somehow functioned on the Ghost cars during the Pac-Man fight, or why there are cheat codes for the ghosts, characters you normally never play as in Pac-Man games.
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    • Many admitted to liking Q*Bert, mainly for being relatively less annoying unlike some of the human characters he is paired with, though the ending where he turns into Lady Lisa just so Ludlow can marry and eventually produce children with him pretty much kills that enjoyment afterwards for almost all who saw it.
    • Eddie is usually considered the highlight of the movie, thanks to Peter Dinklage putting effort into his performance.
  • Fandom Rivalry: Fans of the Yogscast did not like fans of this film due to its advertising that tried to exploit the Yogcast fanbase. The Yogscast were originally approached to help promote the movie, but the group backed out of the negotiations when the Pixels people wanted full creative control over the promotions. But then marketing was made to specifically target the Yogcasts' various Youtube channels, using ads where the film's stars acted like the Yogscast wanted their fans to see the movie. This was all without including the Yogcast in the production of new adverts, paying them for using their channels as an advertising platform, or even pronouncing their name properly. High profile members of the group such as Simon Lane, Hat Films' Ross Hornby and artist Teutron all slammed the film (plus Sandler specifically) for what they view as poor effort, as well as shady conduct and poor behaviour at best.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: The doctored '80s footage used to spread the aliens' message looks a little different now that the spread of deepfakes became a legitimate concern for the actual US government.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • In 2015, Josh Gad and Peter Dinklage fought iconic video game characters with Adam Sandler. In 2016, Josh Gad and Peter Dinklage become video game characters in The Angry Birds Movie.
    • Wreck-It Ralph, an early video game-based movie that was greatly acclaimed, yet failed to feature Mario. This movie was the exact opposite since Mario gets a 3 second cameo. Although director commentary makes it clear that Wreck-It Ralph was perfectly capable of including Mario; they simply didn't have a good role in the film for him to perform that was worthy of the legendary mascot.
    • Eddie is found to have used cheat codes for Pac-Man and Donkey Kong, invalidating his actual records. This character was based off of Billy Mitchell, the "King of Kong" (who even got a movie documenting this), who in 2018 was stripped of his records after he was found to have cheated by setting them via an emulator as opposed to a physical cabinet. Some were even happy to note that Billy looked sort of like a taller version of Peter.
    • We get a scene with Odysseus and Agamemnon screaming like girls and hugging each other when they think they're about to die.
  • Just Here for Godzilla:
    • Most people were expecting, and got used to the fact that this ended up being yet another horribly reviewed Happy Madison Productions movie, but went to see the movie anyway for the 80s video game references.
    • Some watched this film just to see Peter Dinklage or Ashley Benson.
  • One-Scene Wonder: Some fans admitted that the inclusion of Duck Hunt, of all characters, was a pretty nice bonus. Notably in a coincidental case that occurred a few months earlier, Nintendo themselves had revoked his Scrappy status by having him appear in all his glory in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS.
  • Rooting for the Empire: Why wouldn't you want to root for an alien race that brings your childhood favorite video game characters to life? The cool visuals, and the fact that they're fighting a group of annoying humans led by Adam Sandler, also helps.
  • The Scrappy:
    • Sam, half because he's played by Adam Sandler and the other half being because the film seems to be merely a vehicle for acting out a fantasy for his actor (as many reviews noted) - a former arcade master who never grew up emotionally gets to both save the world and start a relationship without having to really develop as a character.
    • Ludlow, Josh Gad's character, also garnered a lot of hate due to his constant screaming. His creepy tendencies towards Lady Lisa just made it even worse.
    • Surprisingly, NOT The Duck Hunt Dog, as shown above.
  • Shallow Parody: President Will Cooper as a parody of the President George W. Bush. He's introduced during a riff on the "The Pet Goat" incident on September 11, 2001. To put it mildly, the parody was no longer timely in 2015. Aside from the general idea of being a buffoon, there was little else to tie the fictional Will Cooper's behavior to the behavior of George Bush Jr.
  • Snark Bait: As soon as the film was announced, many people immediately started hating it because it starred Adam Sandler and Kevin James, as well as looking like another generic Adam Sandler comedy. The poor attempts at marketing the film did not help the film's reception either. It got so bad that it actually prompted a review from The Nostalgia Critic, a scenario that's only happened one other time with Jurassic World earlier in 2015, and was the first time that the web personality reviewed a reviled film that was still in theaters at the time.
  • Squick: Q*Bert becoming a human woman and then having sex with Josh Gad's character. Sam even lampshades it near the end: "Doesn't anyone find that weird? That was just Q*Bert!"
  • Strangled by the Red String: Despite Sam being a loser and acting like a creep, Violet is still interested in him for some reason.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: Many reviews remarked that the premise (while rather nonsensical) could have made for a fun movie with the MST3K Mantra in full effect. Instead, the film never really does much with the characters.
    • Those who found the concept interesting also found themselves disappointed that the film devotes itself more to being an Adam Sandler vehicle that also doesn't use the film's concept to its full potential.
  • Took the Bad Film Seriously: Peter Dinklage seemed to be fully aware that the movie wasn't good and still gave it his best shot. Ham and Cheese also applies, given that his character is a Boisterous Bruiser.
  • Unfortunate Implications: Several reviews accused the movie of sexism and stereotyping:
    "[Ashley Benson is] a fictional video game heroine with zero lines of dialogue who exists only to look beautiful." (Dallas Morning News)
    "Worse, in Pixels, women are rewards: If the guys save the world, their prize is a beauty — even Eddie's fantasy of a threesome with Serena Williams and Martha Stewart. Kudos, I suppose, to Williams and Stewart for braving a cameo." (LA Weekly)
  • Video-Game Movies Suck: Not based on a direct film adaptation to a specific game, but counts by using their characters, Pixels received very negative reviews from critics, and was one of two victims of this trope in 2015 (the other being Hitman: Agent 47).
  • What an Idiot!: Really, movie Toru Iwatani? You think that because you created Pac-Man means you're able to tame an alien weapon designed after him and only shares the yellow orb's appearance?
  • What Do You Mean, It's for Kids?: The film overtly features dozens of surprisingly raunchy sex jokes, Family-Unfriendly Death scenes, mild swearing and various other inappropriate stuff, but that hadn't stopped the film from getting much publicity for children, with outlets such as Nickelodeon featuring promos and tie-ins for the film in the time up to its release.
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not Political?: The President is a down-to-earth nice guy beset by all sorts of tiny problems (like low popularity ratings). Nevertheless, he is a fundamentally decent guy, enjoys a meaningful relationship with Great Britain, has an aggressive foreign policy, the film suggests that he is picked upon by the U.S. media because he is not educated or refined, and his disappointing polling numbers receive a boost from a series of high-profile attacks that result from eighties chickens coming home to roost. He's the President you’d most like to have a beer with. Indeed, the actor’s very first scene features a riff on that famous scene of George W. Bush reading the children's book "The Pet Goat" to a crowd of school children, and was then informed of one of the attacks at the World Trade Center in New York City in 2001; he stumbles over words, making it clear that he may not be the most eloquent individual to hold office.
  • What The Hell, Casting Agency?
    • Why the hell were Peter Dinklage and Sean Bean in this movie, if not to ride the Game of Thrones hype? The same can also be said about Brian Cox, who never appeared on that show (though Sharpe and Troy fans may be pleased to see Sharpe and Hogan/Odysseus and Agamemnon together again).
    • Kevin James plays the President of the United States. Pretty much every review of the film felt compelled to put up a "Not Making This Up" Disclaimer when they mentioned his casting. Some suspected that he was made the President purely so they could do the joke revealing his career after he complains about how much it sucks, as he otherwise acts exactly the same as any other Kevin James character.

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