On July 24, the movie “Pixels” was released into theaters. The premise behind the movie starts in 1982, when NASA launched a space shuttle in hopes of contacting extraterrestrial life forms. Along with movies, TV shows and other forms of popular culture of the era, NASA sent the footage of the 1982 Arcade Game World Championship, featuring games such as Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, Asteroids and Centipede. Participating in the competition were a young Sam Brenner, played by Adam Sandler, Will Cooper, played by Kevin James, Ludlow Lamonsoff, played by Josh Gad, and Eddie “The Fire Blaster” Plant, played by Game of Throne’s Peter Dinklage.
Fast forward to the present day, where Brenner is a software installer working for what is called the Nerd Brigade. Cooper has become president of the United States, Lamonsoff is still living with his grandmother and is usually indulging in his conspiracy theories. Plant is now a convict, having defrauded people using their credit cards to make millions.
Things get a little weird when the United States military base in Guam comes under fire from an unidentifiable military force. Cooper calls in his old friend from the ‘80s, Brenner, and together they decipher that the attack resembled that of an old arcade game. The aliens had got a hold of the shuttle and mistook the video game footage for a declaration of war.
This was a classic Happy Madison film. Sandler plays an adult who is not accomplishing much with his life who meets a giant twist in his story and becomes a public figure.
The biggest surprise to me regarding the Happy Madison part is that the only other actor out of several that I would expect to see in a Happy Madison film was Kevin James. Neither David Spade nor Rob Schneider made appearances. This is not to say that Sandler does not play a good role. Conceptually, the movie was a good fit for him as it allowed him to play the role that he’s been playing his entire career. In the ‘90s when he was actually young he could get away with playing the younger roles. As of late though, he has aged but his performances have not and “Pixels” was a nice recreation of his childish roles in an appropriate setting.
Not much was new in terms of Kevin James either. He plays a role where he’s higher up in society with a struggling family life. As president of the United States, he is forced out of a lot of potential time he could be spending alone with his wife. It plays a much smaller role in the movie, but so does James. I don’t think the President role really fit him that well and a lot of the time in a professional setting he did very little of the talking.
After seeing Dinklage for so long as Tyrion Lannister in the “Game of Thrones” series, it was really weird to see him step down to a relatively immature role. He played similar characters in both roles, a witty man with the ability to take control.
However, his role in “Pixels” turned out to be much brasher. In Game of Thrones, he was playing a character in a world where his snide remarks were hidden inside a bit of class. In “Pixels,” however, he was allowed to let loose in his role and never seemed afraid of making statements regardless of the situation he was in.
The arcade games served as little more than nostalgia, and although they gave Q*bert the ability to speak English, his jokes were hardly what I would call funny. The humor was more prominent in off-topic scenarios, such as when they made England’s Prime Minister speak random words for the sake of stereotypes against the British. It still had the classic charm of a Happy Madison film and it was certainly a movie worth watching for those who enjoyed “Grown Ups,” or “The Benchwarmers.”