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Review Pixels (2015): A composed Sandler film that won me over because of heart and the huge nostalgia factor / And Sean Bean didn't die in this one!

genre: comedy, science fiction, action




More and more I am beginning to realize that the popular opinion is one that can't be trusted. It is simply astonishing of how some crappy films get praised beyond belief and how real sincere films that are made with heart get annihilated without remorse. Pixels is the victim of the latter and let me tell you that it is unjust.

Because Pixels for the most part is fun. Now I myself was a bit skeptical at first since when I first saw the trailer it reminded me of a youtube video I had seen. It almost looked like it was blatant copy. But I am happy to report that while there are some similarities the basic concepts are different. Watch the video I am talking about:



In this youtube video it was old school gaming versus new school. Pixels is all about the old school games and the era those games were made. A time where you only could play these games on arcade machines in arcade halls or wherever they had placed a machine. Any self respecting and smart business owner had to since these machines earned them a lot of coin. Games like Pac-Man and Donkey Kong were immensely popular and kids did not pass up the opportunity whenever the machine was free to play on. There was a huge social element to gaming of this kind as well since these games bonded people of all kinds. For me the arcades were magical places where fun simply was guaranteed. The movie Pixels ties into this. In one scene particularly where Brenner (Adam Sandler) does not understand the appeal of a videogame Matty is playing. 

Now I have to admit that I was expecting a lot more laughs than it delivered. Especially since the concept of Pixels of course is utterly ridiculous. As you know Adam Sandler's humour can be very crude. Only this time it rarely is and it is what made me appreciate the vibe they were going for. Nostalgia. Still that does mean that some people won't get it and very likely won't like this film. And I do think that is understandable. Some of the jokes do rely on having knowledge of old school games like Pac-Man and Q*Bert. Not that these joke and references are that deep but it does help in being forgiving. Naturally there should be more than a throwback and it is here where Pixels drops the ball. One little theme that passes by is Brenner not having reached his potential and basically has wasted his skills and talents. This could have been a witty take on underachievers but very little is done with it. Pixels also doesn't go far enough with it's concept. It could have gone far more over the top and maybe offer more on action and mayhem. It is exactly at these moments where Pixels is exciting. Bigger isn't always better but in this case it certainly would have been.

Despite it's flaws Pixels manages to entertain much more than I expected. It is not the super bad movie made out to be. Because Pixels is a film that compensates what it lacks in comedy with heart and nostalgia. Definitely one I can recommend to children of the Eighties and people who appreciate retro gaming. I forgot to mention one character that will probably steal the show simply because of his cuteness factor. Q*bert.






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