I have to say that going into this movie, I did not have the highest expectations only because I haven't been a fan of Adam Sandler's more recent films such as 'Grown Ups 2' or 'Jack and Jill.' He's made some movies that have been alright in the past few years such as 'Just Go With It,' but the volume of good Adam Sandler movies was nowhere near what it was in the 90s and early 2000s; some of my favorites being films like 'Billy Madison', 'Big Daddy', 'Anger Management', etc.
So you can imagine how being slightly let down in recent years had an effect on my excitement for 'Pixels.' I wanted to be excited for the film; the concept of classic video games coming to life in such a horrifying way seemed like it would be great material for a comedy. Even the trailer looked a little more promising than I had expected it to:
The cast they assembled looked great and the inclusion of Peter Dinklage, who I'm only familiar with in very serious roles, was a brilliant move to bring fans of his in to see the film.
Return to Form for Adam Sandler
I have to say that this movie had me laughing the entire time. The humor was right up my alley and seemed to be a return to form for Adam Sandler (in my personal opinion). I really like Adam Sandler as an actor and I love his style of humor -- the characters that he plays usually end up being pretty snarky and sarcastic. He delivers on all points in that regard.
'Pixels' felt like the exact type of film that Adam and his company, Happy Madison, would release back in the good ol' days. Often times comedies try attempt to be a little more "intelligent," some strive to be overly raunchy and edgy, while some get too preachy about any number of things; 'Pixels' stays on point, it never boasts itself to be more than what it is which is simply just a good time at the movies.
It was also very entertaining to see classic video games come to life and I think that in today's generation, that's a welcome element in the cinematic world. I actually found myself anxious to see what game they'd bring to life next, hoping to see familiar faces to the video game world.
Video games are more popular now than they've ever been. Whether you game on console (like me), PC, Facebook, or your mobile device, you cannot deny that a video game of some sort is taking hold of some of your free time. The action sequences in this movie are surprisingly really good and a lot of fun. Anyone who's ever played a video game can appreciate this film whether you are a young gamer who enjoys all the modern day hits or a classic gamer who bask in their 8-bit glory days. This movie does seem to appeal to one more than the other but there's enough there that everyone can get the appeal.
Let's Talk About the Cast
Now, before we move on, there are a lot of actors who really delivered on this film and we've already touched on Adam Sandler, but I'd like to just give a shout out to actor Josh Gad for providing the film with a lot of truly hilarious moments in the film.
In a lot of ways, Josh Gad's character is the one you root for most only because you aren't exactly sure how his story will unfold. His paranoid, conspiracy-theoriest mind sure brings out the gags but you never know if he'll find what he's looking for in the film or if he'll have a comedic death of some sort by the end of the film at the expense of saving the main protagonists life.
Kevin James also shows up and pretty much delivers what you'd expect from him as he's pretty much the same character he always his, simliar to how Adam Sandler also plays the same role. The twist with him though is that even though he's Adam Sandler's character's best friend, he's also the President of the United States, which, the thought of that is enough to get you to laugh.
Michelle Monaghan did an alright job but pretty much just showed up to be the typical female lead albeit they did allow her to do more and take part in a much bigger way than some movies seem to do. But aside from her having a handful of some moments of humor, she's pretty much what you'd expect from an Adam Sandler film, or any comedy for that matter.
Another actor who brings a great deal of laughs to the film is Peter Dinklage.
Peter Dinklage really showed his silly side in this role by being one of the most animated and extreme characters. Though this character will either be the kind you love or hate, he offers more than enough of the comedy in the film. If he can't get you to laugh, he'll at least put a smile on your face as you shake your head at his crazy antics.
Fun But Formulaic
I mentioned above that the film try to boast itself to be anything more than a quick pop-corn comedy and that's both a good and a bad thing. This movie really didn't do anything different other than offer some very cool special effects. This movie is atypical of what we would come to expect from Adam Sandler's films which all seem to follow a set of rules:
- Open film establishing some 1980s flashback to provide some mildly funny throwbacks to that era as well as laying a foundation of what the main characters goals will be centered around for the entirety of the movie...spoiler alert...it's video games.
- Create a connection between Adam Sandler's role and the female lead which can lead to some stubborn head-butting intermingled with flirting.
- Let the guy win the girl in the end (surprise! surprise!)
But, even though this may be something a lot of people will look at and think, "why waste my time?", it's not all that bad. The worst things about the film is that it's more than a little predictable and not all the jokes really land well with the audience.
I like to think that Adam Sandler movies are like bands who sound the same; many will criticize the band for never doing anything different and then there are fans who like that same sound over again. One thing you have to ask yourself going into this though is, "am I an Adam Sandler fan?", if you are, then go see it because it's right up your alley no matter how predictable.
The truth of the matter is is that this film is fun. It isn't the best movie in the world, it's not the most memorable, smart comedy ever created, but it's a lot of fun and is very entertaining and definitely worth the watch. You have to go into the film knowing what you're going to get and this is just a good, one-and-done mindless comedy. I'd recommend going to see this film in theaters if you are a fan of Adam Sandler I'd say see it in 3D as it is definitely visually stunning.
All the actors will be sure to have you busting a gut a few times and you can relive the nostalgia of classic video gaming as you see Pac-Man, Centipede, and a few other great classic games come to life (along with a nice soundtrack of some 1980s classics).