Pixels 3D Blu-ray Review
I can’t remember the last time I enjoyed an Adam Sandler movie. But like some of his best films, I don’t really consider PIXELS an Adam Sandler movie. It’s more of a Chris Columbus film, featuring a lighthearted plot, family-friendly comedy and plenty of nostalgia throwbacks. And although Kevin James fulfills his contractual obligation to appear with Adam Sandler in every movie, Sandler’s other friends are nowhere to be seen and instead replaced with the always great Peter Dinklage. So I wouldn’t blame you if you’re avoiding PIXELS because you can’t stomach another Adam Sandler movie, trust that you’ll be missing out on a surprisingly fun film.
We pick up with best friends Brenner (Sandler) and Cooper (James) in the early 80’s playing classic video games. Brenner’s amazing skill with the games leads them to the World Championships where Brenner loses to Eddie (Dinklage). We then flash forward to them as adults, where Cooper is President of the United States and Brenner is working at an electronics store. When aliens attack in the form of old arcade games, Cooper calls on Brenner to help him identify what’s going on and eventually, form a strategy for defeating the aliens. It turns out the aliens received a message from the early 80’s in the form of a video game and have taken it as a threat. Brenner turns to Eddie and Ludlow (Josh Gad) to help him defeat the aliens.
The best part about PIXELS is that it doesn’t take itself too seriously. Yes, aliens are threatening to destroy the world, but this isn’t INDEPENDENCE DAY, this is just an excuse to watch four geeky guys play video games on a huge scale. It’s also helped by a short 106 minute runtime that flies by thanks to the fun action sequences and quick humor from Sandler and Dinklage. There’s a love story between Brenner and Violet (Michelle Monaghan) that doesn’t quite work, but it doesn’t get in the way of the overall story.
There’s also a lot of nostalgia at play in PIXELS as people in their 30’s and 40’s will fondly remember playing games like Pac-Man, Paperboy, Donkey Kong and countless others. But nostalgia is more of a supporting factor and not the primary driver of the movie. Although adults will appreciate the obvious and less obvious 80’s references, the idea of playing a giant game of Pac-Man with Mini Coopers as the ghosts is something everyone can appreciate.
Sandler has his haters and although I’m sick of his normal schtick, I still find him to be a funny guy in the right hands. PIXELS was the perfect amount of Sandler; he was able to be himself and tell a few jokes, then move out of the way for good effects and more one-liners from Dinklage. And I can’t believe I’m saying this about an Adam Sandler movie, but PIXELS might be the surprise of the summer.
PIXELS 3D BLU-RAY REVIEW
I have some mixed feelings about the 3D presentation of PIXELS. On one hand, it had a lot of depth and was overall a very nice transfer. But on the other hand, I felt they missed some opportunities. After all, the majority of the film features giant animated video games flying at the screen, so I expected more use of the 3D format. But although PIXELS didn’t wow me with the 3D effects, it was effective and I found it more enjoyable in 3D.
Video: The 2D transfer was just as nice as the 3D transfer. This is a hugely colorful film and it looks great on Blu-ray.
Audio: The audio was fine.
Featurettes (24:16): I’m lumping these 7 featurettes together because they’re way too short to be separate features. They’re all basically making-of featurettes focusing on the making of certain scenes. My favorite was a 90 second look at Toru Iwatani’s role in the film.
The Space Invader (1:38): A guy won a part in the movie by getting the high score in the Space Invaders video game.
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