“Don’t tell anyone I killed a Smurf” As a kid who grew up in the eighties those are words that you would never think would be spoken, even by Gargamel, since he could never catch the little guys. The only time I would think that comment is appropriate time to say that if you were referring to the 2011 film in general. My point was not to go on a tangent about the Smurfs but to present a scenario where instead of singing their song in the forest, that they instead were sent here by an alien race to destroy the planet. Not just Smurfs mind you, I am talking about every important character form an arcade game from the eighties, and with that I present you the plot of the film “Pixels”
In 1982 Brenner (Adam Sandler) was ‘the man’. No he didn’t do anything important, he just figured out the patterns in video games and became really good at them. With his friend Cooper (Kevin James) they enter the world championships of video games where Brenner loses to Eddie (Peter Dinklage) in a game of Donkey Kong. As part of the competition NASA recorded the event with a plan to send it out into space, so that whatever life was out there would find it. Well thirty years later they return the message, and that message is an act of war that they believed was sent to them. They don’t have threating looking ‘ID4’ space ships, instead they attack the planet in the form of old 8-bit video games and since no one knows how to beat them, Brenner and his friends are called in to save the day. The only question is can they do it before they run out of lives?
Based on the short film of the same title from Patrick Jean in 2010, the idea had some potential. Bring Characters like Pac Man, Donkey Kong, and Qbert and you got nostalgia overload. So based on looks and the idea, everything should work out right? Well you know the saying “never judge a book by its cover”, well there is also a lesser know one and that says “never think a movie with both Kevin James and Adam Sandler in it will be anything but bad”. Ok so maybe I made that saying up, but it fits perfectly with this film. Written by Tim Herlihy (Happy Gilmore) and Timothy Dowling (Role Models) the story in general is a solid idea, but the execution doesn’t even get close. Too often we are left with Sandler’s usual tired delivery of jokes, and James’s boring body humor, you know the whole fat guy in a little suit routine. Add to that an un-funny Josh Gad, and you are left with Dinklage and Monagham who seems to know what they are in and just decided to have fun with it. While it is not a surprise that “Pixels” didn’t turn out so well, it is surprising to learn that Chris Columbus is the man directing it, I mean he is the guy who brought us the first two Home Alone’s and Harry Potter films. Yet not even he could save this one. I know as you read this you still want to judge this movie on your own, I get it, it’s got that nostalgia factor and it has video game characters trying to destroy the world. But careful, while you may b expecting to play Pac Man, what you do end up getting is a game of Baby Pac Man, a game, just like this movie, you will want to forget immediately.