Based on a short film that went viral, Pixels is about an alien race using pixelated icons from vintage video games to attack Earth in a twisted game of planet annihilation.

Which, I must admit, is really quite a cool concept.

PAC-MAN!!! ©Columbia Pictures

It all starts when aliens get hold of a time capsule containing footage of the 1982 World Video Game Championships, which the teenage Sam Brenner (Adam Sandler) was playing in.

Aliens view the footage as a challenge and, using their superior technology, develop giant-sized versions of the arcade icons which wreck destruction by shattering whatever’s in their way into giant pixel blocks.

So it’s time for the humans, led by Brenner, to save the world from obliteration. If you played video games in the 80s, you will LOVE the CGI.

©Columbia Pictures

Which is great and all. After all, everyone loves a story about the underdog.

But in the case of Pixels, the underdog happens to be Adam Sandler. Strike one.

Me no likey. ©Columbia Pictures

I guess the movie had a very light sprinkling of mildly funny jokes, like “Have you been playing Space Invaders? Because you’re invading my space.” Ha. Ha. Ha.

But the truth is that the script writers are so determined to prove the movie is genuine comedy that they inundate the audience with jokes, most of them cringeworthy attempts at humour.

So it’s statistically a failure that about 99% of the million jokes which were thrown at us crashed harder than Asteroids (geddit geddit?).

©Columbia Pictures

I had no problems with the casting. Brian Cox, Peter Dinklage, and Josh Gad clearly have more than enough talent to make up for Adam Sandler’s lack of it.

But the script was terrible and did not do any of the actors any justice.  One scene in particular had the US Admiral (Cox) and British Corporal (Sean Bean) clutching each other in fear. Why is that disturbing?

It’s essentially seeing William Stryker and Ned Stark in a tight embrace. Now, try to obliterate that from your mind.

It’s not all bad, though. The animated pixelated summary of the movie which plays during the credits is really cool.

DONKEY KONG!!! ©Columbia Pictures

And it plays to the track “Game On” by Waka Flocka Flame featuring Good Charlotte. Which was very enjoyable, compared to the rest of the film. I sincerely mean that. I would not mind watching the credits on loop.

I didn’t mind watching Pixels that much to be honest. But that’s probably because I was expecting much worse, seeing that I was accompanied by a friend who took it upon himself to regurgitate all the scathing reviews that the movie had received online.

But if you’re looking to watch a geeky nostalgic film on vintage video games, you’re probably better off watching this instead – it’s basically the movie, minus all the bad bits.


Pixels is playing in Singapore now. Tell us what you think of the movie!