Movie Reviews: Pixels (aka what went wrong?)

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Pixels directed by Chris Columbus

From the same director that sailed the ocean in 1492 … I mean, directed Home Alone and Harry Potter, and Adventures in Babysitting, you would think he would have received the script for Pixels and automatically known what to do with a video game movie.

I mean, how hard is this? As a big budget summer movie ($88M) you would think the goal would be to target kids between the ages of 8 and 18. To do this, you would imagine a story involving kids right? You know, you are making a movie about video games and main characters who fight video games, right? Instead the do the most ludicrous thing possible.

They get Adam Sandler (age 48), Kevin James (age 50), and Michelle Monaghan (age 40) to star in the film . WHAT? Not only was the source material old (arcade games from 30 years ago), but they inflict double the damage with old actors, as ex-players. What kid wants to play a video game and imagine an old man playing the game to win? This is crazy.

In the Last Starfighter, the story revolves a teenager who lives in a trailer park, who achieves a high score in a game and then gets taken off to another galaxy after setting a high score. The movie was targeted toward teenagers. Did they go get Bob Hope to be the lead star of the Last Starfighter and expect kids to watch it? Nope. They took an Obi-Wan and fish-out-of-water approach.

But no, the only kid in the movie is a weakling who gets captured. Plus, let’s not make Sandler give a crap about anyone ever and just make him a single Geek-squad repairman. Who cares to make him even try to act anymore. Lame.

The sad thing is the story itself was ok. A story of has-beens could be decent if it was a father son story maybe. I would have had the main cast like the Goonies, where the kids play modern day games and the father tries to bond with his son with his old games and they make fun of it, but when the shit hits the fan, the father’s skills come into play. Make the father like an Obi-Wan character, but the cast as young. What kids want to see the banter between Monaghan and Sandler? Is there an Obi-Wan type character in the film? Yes. How, you ask? Go older of course! They get 61 year old Toru Iwatani, the programmer of PACMAN, to make a cameo. Does anyone in America know who he is outside of arcade circles? I think 99% of arcade players back in the day have no idea who he is. But yes, he loses an arm … then gets it back in the end (How? Why? Are you kidding me?)

What is especially disappointing is how awesome Peter Dinklage was. He played Eddie Plant, an ex-champion and bonafide asshole with a heart of assholeness, until the last minute, of course. He plays it so over-the-top, it is entertaining to watch. He tried to play a character while the three lead actors above essentially played themselves.

The special effects in the movie were actually pretty cool. The PACMAN chase was a good sequence. The Donkey Kong ending would have been epic if it was kids facing something foreign, and not Sandler playing the game. Come on, really? A 48 year old man has issues about a video game contest he lost? But wait, he has the confidence now to play?

So bad, but the concept had so much potential. I could have written 2 better scripts in a month. They could have done such cool stuff. What a waste.

GUEST POST: “DILLY DITCHELL”

What is with you? Are you out of your damn mind? This movie had everything a growing kid in 2015 wants. Pacman and Donkey Kong and Space Invaders will always be popular and relevant. These games age like fine wine. Did you see PACMAN chomp down five city blocks? Come on. That itself was worth the price of your Redbox 99 cent rental. The fine character study of Tyrion Peter Dinklage was a work of art. He was channeling his inner arcade champion like the best of them. They probably had some of the best consultants in the business on the movie set. You best back the hell up from this movie and focus on that art house shit you seem to love on your blog. Ditchell Out. 

Movie Rating: 4/10 PACMAN GHOSTS (2 of the ghosts is for Dinklage, 1 ghost for Donkey Kong, 1 ghost for PACMAN)

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