Before making the choice to rent this movie today, simply so I could see for my own eyes what all the hatred was about, I has the feeling that I was going through some unnecessary pain just for a review. But, that’s part of the job – checking out the goo as well as the bad. And this firmly resides in the latter of those extremes.
Based off of an already existing (and pretty cool) idea from a short movie, Pixels grabs it by the scruff of the next, dragging it kicking and screaming into the hands of Adam Sandler. What starts off as a cute and fun idea of the world being attacked by classic video game characters who mis-read the contents of a time capsule sent to space, fast descends into the slippery muck that has been seen in the likes of “Grown Ups”.
Now, let’s get a few story elements out of the way that if were mentioned on the Blu Ray case, would have you burning it in a pire in fury. Kevin James is cast as the man-child, bumbling PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES. Yes, him taking the role as one of the World’s most powerful people, how quaint. All the main male characters are buffoon-ish man-childs who look at women the same way as a hormone raging 13 year old kid would. And a movie set entirely around gamers and geek culture can’t find a way to not look down upon said gamers and geek culture. I can already smell the melting heathen plastic wafting in through the open window.
Now that I have that out of the way, I’ll start with the parts I kind of liked. Trust me, this won’t take long. I like the opening that is set in the 80’s, with the kids versions of the main actors playing in the World Championships. It is the only part of the movie that I enjoyed, it captured the Arcade Gaming craze in a way that although cheesy, is fun to watch. I liked the Centipede scene that had a bit of fun with the animation design, and lastly the cars looked pretty cool. So…. yeah, that about wraps that section up. I’m not saying the animators did a terrible job or anything, but it wasn’t in the hands of someone who REALLY knew where to go with it, how to make good scenes and utilize the creative aspects. I mean, one cool shot of a stream of Tetris blocks lasted only two seconds, it deserved better than that.
Now for the bad stuff, and I won’t bore with descriptions of the bad acting, completely flat script, lack of complexity to the story, or lame attempts at comedy. You’ll notice these straight away for yourself. If the movie had just been bad for these reasons, I would have been abke to cast it aside as being just a boring and uninspired attempt to attract the Gaming audience. Not the worst offence in the world, forgettable, end of the story. But this goes beyond that, falling into the bottomless pit of fuckery. And that is the portrayal of women.
Sure, other movies this year have had poor roles for women, but here it is EVERY female role. Michelle Monaghan starts as just someone for Adam Sandler to oggle at, designs the weapon that destroys the aliens, and then spends the rest of the film in the background completely forgotten and uncongratulated. She is woefully written into the screenplay in a way that sis pretty offensive considering the rest of the group get tonnes of time on screen front-and-centre. But that is nothing compared to the end of the story, where the sad, lonely, man-child gets his wish and is rewarded for no reason with a woman as a trophy. And I mean a literal and physical trophy. It is so out of nowhere and wildly insulting that it turned a harmless bad film, into utter horse shit. I cannot believe someone somewhere though this would be “funny” or “cute”, because it is just fucking disgusting.
And then there’s the fact that minorities barely appear on screen, no white person gets injured, the white guys are the heroes of the World etc etc…but then again, it’s Adam Sandler behind this. We’re almost used to his white-wash sexist racism by now, right?
How do I even sum up “Pixels”? Visually interesting but never to the level it deserves to be, stagnant writing, Peter Dinklage given not a whole lot to do, yawn-inducing storyline. If it had ended at just that it would reside in the regular level of badness. But then it takes a skydive into insulting so fast it broke the bullshit sound barrier. I…. hate this movie. It is everything wrong that can be done with “geek” culture, combined with so much of what makes Sandler’s movies unwatchable. What a waste of a good idea that in better hands, would have made for a fun and original rental. But not this, Game Over, out of quarters.
Thanks for reading!