Film review: Pixels

This nostaligic story of retro arcade games invading the world features too many weak jokes and unimaginative visuals, says Michael Joyce.

The world is being attacked by ‘80s arcade video game characters – who you gonna call?

Well, Adam Sandler apparently. And the voice of the snowman in Frozen. And Tom Cruise’s wife in Mission Impossible 3. And Paul Blart: Mall Cop, who you will cast as the President of the United States. (Hell’s bells, I know America is in a dark and uncertain place right now, but I didn’t realise it had sunk to a level where you could make Kevin James its fictional president and not be arrested for treason and giving succour to the enemy.)

I tried to like Pixels, honest I did. For an hour before the film started Sony plied us with booze and ‘80s-themed snacks with which I over-indulged degenerately. (It was like Caligula imagined as an episode of I Love The 80s, a debauched man demeaning himself for scoops of Twiglets and a second bag of Pick’n’Mix.)

If you don’t show yourself to be corruptible, then no one will try to corrupt you. I couldn’t find my inner Lord Sewell though. Pixels has a relaxed, fun, easy going vibe; it has some laughs and it isn’t unpleasant company. Light-hearted is fine, but Pixels is also half-hearted: too many weak jokes and unimaginative visuals.

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Eighties nostalgia worked pretty well for Sandler in The Wedding Singer and if you are passionate about that period of gaming, and open minded about the star, then you can have a pretty good time with Pixels. The problem is that that’s now a fairly diminished demographic and not one you really want to be aiming a children’s film at.

Rating: 2/5

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