[EDITOR’S NOTE: We’d like to welcome back video game enthusiast, The Rube, to the clubhouse. If you haven’t read some of his previous reviews, they’re worth checking out!]
Okay, so here’s the deal… If you didn’t live through the year of 1982, or at least have a vast appreciation for pop culture history, the humor and nostalgia in PIXELS is going to leave you scratching your head… a lot. I was only 8 years old in 1982 but quickly became part of the video came craze and it was hardcore. The only way to explain it to today’s generation is this: Do you remember how Pokemon was the biggest deal ever when you were a kid? Well that’s how HUGE arcade gaming was back in 82′. It was everywhere and I mean everywhere like in tv/radio commercials, merchandising, novelty songs, board games… well, everywhere, in your face, 24/7… so was the pop culture of burger and soda wars with major ad campaigns and the second newest craze, MTV (and music videos in general). Popular culture was very big bright and flashy in 82′. It had to be to keep our collective minds form the fear of the Cold War (ask your parents, kids).
I only bring up all of this nostalgia because much of Pixels story relies on 80’s nostalgia to keep you interested and moving the movie forward. Not only does the entire premise revolve around battling real live video game characters of yesteryear, but the fictional aliens uses dubbed broadcasts of 80’s television broadcasts to communicate with the film’s heroes. I found very entertaining, but after filling my nostalgia tank does that make Pixels a good film?
Not quite. I think the story has promise but it just doesn’t fully deliver. Don’t get me wrong, I was clearly entertained but even with a run time of 92 minutes, a lot of scenes could have be shortened or reshot to add more impact—especially the ballroom and presidential scenes. The biggest letdown of Pixels is that there aren’t enough alien/video game battles to keep you interested, which was the main promise made by the film’s trailers and marketing campaign. Adam Sandler and cast are fine but with only a handful of action scenes, Pixels seems to just drag on (and on) with not much substance in between.
OUT OF 5
Pixels is good, but not great and mostly suffers from poor editing and a serious lack of action. If you’re bored on a Sunday and can see it at a bargain theater, by all means enjoy it on the big screen. But if not… just wait until it comes out on-demand or cable.
+ 80s video game nostalgia
+ Visual effects
– Poor editing
– Not enough alien action
– Limited audience