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Pixels review

Pixels review

by John Seedhouse

For some bizarre reason we managed to choose 2 movies with links to the video-game industry this weekend. First up was Hitman: Agent 47 and then the new Adam Sandler offering, Pixels… Back in the early 1980s my dad used to take me down to the local pub in our hometown. There was an off-sales hatch where we used to stand. He used to have a pint and I had a “red beer.” There was a bloke there who probably wore khaki flares, a hip jacket and a large collared shirt. He might have driven a Ford Capri. What he definitely did was play Space Invaders on the machine in the bar. I was not allowed in the bar (under 18, you see?) and so never go to have a go on the thing. Actually, that is a lie. It must have been 1982, because it took 20p pieces, and I was sh*t at it.

Anyway, this is all digression. I had no real interest in going to watch Pixels, based on the trailer but my mate “Comrade Jason” said that it was a decent diversion for him and his daughter…

In the olden days of the cinema (circa some point after 1972), and before video films were available from Leonard Broome’s store in Chadsmoor, films would come back into the local 2 screen cinema (as if on a lap of honour) after the initial release. I remember seeing Star Trek the Motion Picture around the same time as not seeing a Space Invader machine. STtMP was on the telly at the weekend, and it shares a major piece of plot with Pixels.

STtMP is one of those films that tries really hard to be “thought-provoking,” and as a result, has a similar effect to Tramadol… Pixels, on the other hand, is actually quite funny. It has had some fairly scathing reviews but these seem to miss the point somewhat – Adam Sandler films are popcorn fodder. They are meant to be daft, light-hearted and disposable fun. We had sat through STtMP, and really needed something to remind us that life was worth living.

Frogger: A tale of ecological disaster…

Pixels is not troubled by a two act set-up, we get to the action pretty quickly and with a couple of nice, if predictable, pay-offs on the way. Adam Sandler plays Adam Sandler, and it all moves forward with good humour and nothing too over-complicated.

Josh Gad and Kevin James provide the comic foils, and True Detectives’ Michelle Monaghan is the character by numbers female lead. Peter Dinklage is fast turning into Alan Rickman (circa Die Hard / Prince of Thieves) with some majesticly bonkers over-acting.

PacMan: 1 in 4 adults get type 2 Diabetes…

It’s probably no wonder that the aliens of the film manage to completely misinterpret the message the Americans sent into space. There is a cringe-inducing attempt to convey England which, although played for laughs, kind of feels borderline racist. It is saved by the casting of Sean Bean as a shoutier version of Sean Bean, and a joke about beer adverts.

Donkey Kong: Britain’s attitude to migrant labour…

There will be 3D screenings of Pixels in some multi-plexes. We chose a 2D because of convenience. I imagine that it would work well in 3D, so might be worth seeking out – just don’t expect the storyline to be worth the extra outlay.

INSERT some sort of Centipede reference here – that is sarcastic…

I have to stand in support of Comrade Jason, when it comes to Pixels –  it is a decent bit of silly distraction. There are some good visuals and although the characters are horribly generic, there is a a warmth to them that makes the time pass much less miserably than STtMP… I am sure that there are already lots of snarky threads on forums about the fact that PaperBoy wasn’t released till 1984 and therefore could not be part of the alien invasion – yes, I know I snarked at the Land Rover in Man from UNCLE – but it doesn’t really ruin the narrative flow of Pixels.

Worth 20p in the slot?

Pixels is still in the cinemas, so if you haven’t seen it, then it’s a decent ticket for a silly evening out. Mrs L likes pitufo flavour ice-cream so the Smurf moment was appreciated.

It is worth buying a bag of Big D salted nuts and throwing the rest of the change at.


John is traumatized that he was only an idle bystander during the Hednesford Space Invasion… He owns a PS3 that he never gets chance to play. He once worked at a company that had a Frogger clone game on the homepage of its website – he got no work done for 3 months.


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