Pixels - a real blast from the past!
Starring Peter Dinklage
The good news for Peter Dinklage (Tyrion Lannister, Game of Thrones) fans is that there is a big screen movie out starring their favorite. The bad news is that he only joins the action in his adult persona approximately one-third of the way through the movie and is more of an anti-hero than a hero.
“Eddie Plant” is a computer game wiz-kid who cheated his way to being the world Donkey Kong champion. In adult life, he continues his hacking activities until he lands in jail for fraud and possibly embezzlement.
When aliens attack the world by sending video game warriors, he is bailed out of jail by second runner-up (and rightful winner) Sam Brenner. Unfortunately, Eddie also hacks his way to victory in the Pac-Man challenges, which has the world facing a penalty battle and possible defeat.
Sprung as a cheater Eddie throws his special glasses away and battles the pixel warriors alongside the other characters. The world is eventually saved!
Succeeds despite being an Adam Sandler Vehicle
Due to Dinklage’s relegation to supporting character, the majority of the story-line is carried by Adam Sandler, whose on-screen presence is a bit hit-and-miss to me. He may be the bigger star and has made some good movies, but he has also starred in some very slow moving chic-flicks and played the fool in some barely funny comedies. So being faced with viewing Adam Sandler, I had to decide whether the movie could still make me “suspend my disbelief” and enjoy the action based Science Fiction premise. It could due to credible acting on the part of Adam Sandler and the rest of the cast.
Adam Sandler stars as Sam Brenner the “real winner” of the 80’s arcade game championship. Due to lack of demand for gaming in the current workforce, he works installing television and video equipment. However, when the aliens arrive, he is called to pick up an army developed laser gun and destroy gaming elements for real. At stake is the future of the earth, which may be gobbled up!
Where is Sean Bean?
Another draw-card for the movie is that it supposedly stars Sean Bean (Boromir from The Lord of the Rings, Eddard Stark Game of thrones). I spent most of the movie trying to identify his character and even checked the credits at the end. Yes he is there! He is Corporal Hill a leading SAS officer who provides the Nerds with his reluctant military support. While this character is humorous, it does seem to be a bit of a waste of a top billing actor.
A gamer's devotion is rewarded...
Josh Gad stars as Ludlow Lamonsoff, the not-so-lovable nerd who has a huge crush on “Lady Lisa” an arcade game beauty from Dojo Quest. The aliens animate this character and send her to earth to fight against the gamers, where against all the odds, Lisa begins to return Ludlow’s affections. This little bit of fantasy becoming reality give the film a romantic twist and forms one of the “end jokes” I won’t describe in case you have not seen the movie for yourself yet!
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Retro pleasure for viewers
The real stars are the old games. This retro aspect is what changes the movie from a child pleasing movie to a serious artistic offering in my opinion. To have played arcade games in the 1980s, (around 35 years ago) you need to be forty-five plus, because even indulgent parents would hardly take a child younger than ten to Timezone or another arcade parlour.
To have played at school or on a home machine in the early 1980’s, you needed to have been something of a computer nerd as games in those days required some skill in installation and operation. (Operating systems were not just point and click, but you had to type words like “load” and “run” and/or the name of the executable file depending whether you had a basic or DOS operated system. If you were very lucky, someone else had created a menu and you only selected the game or operation number you wanted!)
Great use of special effects!
Computer generated special effects are pretty much to be expected in today’s movies. However, in Pixels the effects do not have to disguise themselves and pretend to be part of the environment. These special effects can appear in multi-colours, fade and re-assemble at will and generally flaunt themselves because they are admittedly digital constructs sent to attack the earth!
Pixels was released in Australia on 10 September 2015. According to IMDB, it is dated 24 July 2015 in the USA. It was directed by Chris Columbus, written by Tim Herlihy and Timothy Dowling. It stars Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Michelle Monaghan, Josh Gad and Peter Dinklage. It was produced by: 1492 Pictures, Columbia Pictures & Happy Madison Productions.
See also my Hub on Retro 2D games
- 2D Games
2 dimensional computer games of the 1980s and 1990s were a delight to play. Graphics weren't as sophisticated as today, but colours were vibrant and imagination created many fascinating levels.