Pixels DVD Review

DVD Review by Jon E Clist

The Premise
When aliens misinterpret video-feeds of classic arcade games as a declaration of war against them, they attack the Earth, using the games as models for their various assaults. President Will Cooper has to call on his childhood best friend, '80s video game champion Jules Brenner, now a home theater installer, to lead a team of old-school arcaders to defeat the aliens and save the planet.

The Review
Okay so let's start off by pointing out that this is a Happy Madison production. What does that mean? It's a film made by Adam Sandler that stars Adam Sandler. So there's going to be a grown man yelling at other people in silly voices. There's going to be silly infantile jokes and he is likely end up with a girl who is arguably way better looking than him. Now that we have those expectations out of the way we can kind of look at this film a little more fairly. Most of the time you get what you expect from Adam Sandler. With the exception of Punch Drunk Love and Reign In Me, he is certainly pretty consistent with the style of comedy that he makes.

Here’s the thing though, while there is still his Grown Ups buddy Kevin James, the majority of this cast is not the typical team that you expect to be in a Sandler film. For so long he has relied on his old buddies to prop up the cast. Although in some cases we would say that those buddies have kind of pulled him down at times in some films. It is no surprise that the majority of Sandler flunkies have not gone on to have big careers outside of Happy Madison productions and I would guess that they have all thought that gravy train was going to keep them working.

Anyway, the team is different here and we see the welcome addition of a few more hot actors at the moment such as Peter Dinklage and Josh Gad. These guys have been putting themselves out there over the past decade and then of course Dinklage is massive thanks to his central character in Game of Thrones. He is super funny here and does a great job of playing a douche-bag to the extreme.

The laughs are there and for the most part they aren’t too bad, however it is the typical Sandler film but for those of similar age to me, the arcade connection from the eighties video games makes for a nice throw back. I enjoyed seeing the games come to life around them and it took me back to hitting the timeout zones and playing the classic games as a kid. Part of the allure of the games, was trying to beat your vest score and even attempting to get your name on the high scores and seeing how long it sits there for. Thanks to all the home gaming consoles the business of heading out to arcades has certainly slowed and it then lead to the growth of more experiential gaming activities such as Basket Ball tossing etc. So Pixels is a nice reminder of the different time.

The Verdict
It is an Adam Sandler film and you get what you expect, however this is one of the better ones and is still a rather fun film to watch.

The Trailer

The Info
Releases: 16th December 2015
Rating: PG – Contains Violence, coarse language & sexual references
Duration: 106 minutes 
Genre:  Comedy
Starring: Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Michelle Monaghan, Peter Dinklage, Josh Gad and Brian Cox
Director: Chris Columbus (Mrs Doubtfire, Percy Jackson and Harry Potters)

The Extras
Although Denis Akiyama plays a fictionalized version of Pac-Man creator Toru Iwatani, the real Iwatani also appears in the film as an arcade repairman. Iwatani did not portray himself because he doesn't speak English.

The movie's video game high scores are based on real scores. Sam Brenner's Pac-Man high score of 3,333,360 is the highest attainable Pac-Man score, first achieved by Billy Mitchell (a higher score is possible on the Namco Pac-Man Anniversary edition machines). Ludlow Lamonsoff's Centipede score of 16,389,548 is one point higher than the real-life marathon world record set by Jim Schneider. Eddie Plant's Donkey Kong score of 1,068,100 is 100 points higher than Hank Chien's former world record.

According to Chris Columbus, Eddie Plant is based on a number of 1980s video gamers, including: Richie Knuckelz (tattoos), Patrick Scott Patterson (sunglasses & pose), Ken House (aversion to sleeves), and Billy Mitchell (haircut).

Dan Aykroyd co-founded and co-owns Crystal Head Vodka, which the two main characters drink in the pub after the Centipede battle in England.

Lamonsoff is a recurring surname in Adam Sandler's films under the Happy Madison label. It's a tribute Sandler's college roommate, Eric Lamonsoff, who has made cameo appearances in Sandler films.