Pixels - Game Over - 1 star

1980's video games are back and they want to destroy the world.   

Walking into the cinema...
I am trying to think of something that makes me want to see this film. 

Nope, I cannot seem to find anything.

Overall Rating: 1 star

                  In 1982, the world was was enjoying the new arcade games of Pac-Man, Galaga, Centipede and Donkey Kong. Sam Brenner (Adam Sandler) and Will "Chewy" Cooper (Kevin James) lived for playing the latest arcade game and finding opportunities to show off their gaming skills. They decide to show off their talents at the World Video Game Championships where they come in contact with Ludlow Lamonsoff (Josh Gad) and Eddie "The Fire Blaster" Plant (Peter Dinklage). During the competition they show their knack for seeing patterns in the games and their joy stick dexterity. At the same time in human history, NASA sent off a probe into space to attempt to connect with intelligent life in outer space. In this probe they sent glimpses into the 80's culture of our world which included components of these iconic video games. 
               Fast forward to 2015, the lives of this band of nerdy brothers have gone down different paths. Sam is an installation technician and Will has become the President of the United States. Even though they are still close friends, their life responsibilities carry different levels of significance, until they are drawn back together when aliens attack the earth. The explanation for the attack is that the extra-terrestrials received the 1982 message from NASA and saw it as declaration of war on their planet. Their response to this unintentional call to arms is to send the classic video games to attack earth as pixelated weapons. Sam and Will have to re-connect with their former video game competitors and work with the world armed forces to fight off the nostalgic alien invasion. Similar to the life cycle in the video games, the team is given three attempts by the space invaders to apply their former gaming skills and to discover the answers to saving the world from an Atari- inspired annihilation. 
               Pixels, as a concept, is refreshingly original and has the potential to serve as a digital bridge between multiple generations. The other potential hope for this film is director Chris Columbus at the helm, he has produced some great family films throughout his career. This hope was for Columbus to take this convoluted storyline, which has the potential to go the way of fun and nostalgic hilarity or he could produce a mess of a film with catastrophic proportions, and make a great family comedy. Unfortunately, Pixels falls into the latter category as a mess. Columbus attempts to deliver a 1980's retro style film with ridiculous characters and situations with a modern computer-generated spin, but fails to deliver. This failure has to do with the inclusion of Adam Sandler and Kevin James as the lead characters. At this stage in their acting careers, they seem unable to deliver original comedic performances. Their roles are as predictable as the patterns in the old video games. They walk through their performances in this film with little enthusiasm and with a reliance on dated comedic styles that have worn out their welcome. Josh Gad provides the potential for originality, but he falls into the trap of overacting which attempts to compensate for Sandler and James' weak performances. Also, the only reasonable explanation for Peter Dinklage and Michelle Monaghan being part of this project was to potentially procure a comedy on their resume. Unfortunately, they are poorly cast in parts that any credible actor should have given a miss. 
         If all of these components were not bad enough, the truly frustrating thing about Pixels is not in the weak story line or the poor performances, but the fact that this is promoted as a family film. The humour and innuendo is not funny and is not appropriate for children. The marketing conveys that this film should be accessible for any generation to enjoy on a Saturday afternoon, but what happens is the potential for embarrassing conversations with small children on a multitude of levels. For example, why Eddie Plant is going to the White House's Lincoln bedroom with Martha Stewart and Serena Williams or the stalker-type mentality of the Ludlow character. So much of the film was creepy to experience as an adult, much less trying to explain it to children. This review should not be misconstrued as prudish, but more of holding the marketing team to account for the  disservice to families. In the concept stages, Pixels may have had the potential to be a fun adventure for people who grew up in the 80's and potentially for a new generation, too. In the end, it proves to be an embarrassment for those linked to this production and for anyone who might go to see it. 

Leaving the cinema...
Avoid the potential awkward conversations with your children and give Pixels a miss. It is one of the rare films that I would not recommend for any audience. 

Do not be fooled, it is not funny or a family film. Game Over. 

Bigger questions:
1. Do we all have a role in this life?  (Proverbs 16:9, Romans 8:28)
2. What is the Bible's view on war? (Ecclesiastes 3:8, Matthew 26:52)
3. Why do people still go to Adam Sandler and Kevin James films? (Proverbs 26:11)

Written by Russell Matthews based on a five star rating system @ Russelling Reviews #russellingreviews #pixels