DIRECTOR: Chris Columbus
May contain spoilers!
Kevin James as the President of the United States! If that does not sum up this movie then nothing does! But having said that, he was clearly a metaphor for G. W. Bush, an inane, illiterate joke of a President but still, ‘The King of Queens’ as the head of state… seriously?
Well, the fact that it was stuff like this which stood out to me rather than an alien invasion by vintage computer game characters does highlight a flaw in the writing, with a brand of childish and self indulgent comedy which gets in the way of a much more fun and intriguing premise.
The idea is simple: A tape of computer games from the 80’s was sent up to space in a probe, like you do and decades later, after interpreting this as an act of war, an alien race which had intercepted this probe has come to Earth to answer this aggression.
The fact that the defence to this ludicrous invasion is formulated and executed within just days of the threat first becoming known aside, a team of Arcaders led by geek and gaming champ Adam Sandler, is sent to beat the Pixels before they destroy the planet.
The best things about this film are Peter Dinklage as an arrogant gamer who thinks that he is the best thing since sliced bread and Frozen’s Olaf, Josh Gad, as a middle-aged virgin conspiracy nut, both of which join the team to fight the invaders, the only way they know how, playing the games on a life sized stage.
The concept is fun and puerile and if it was just left to this Futurama inspired plot then this could have been a gem but since this is another Adam Sandler and friends effort, with a cast made up of just that, a bunch of mates getting together for a laugh, the film’s comedy is distracting at times. Not always, with a few silly laughs along the way and there is no doubt that this is entertaining for kids.
But a movie about 80’s arcade games is surly aimed at a 30 to 40 something audience, yet its tone is very childish and in being so, limits its appeal accordingly. This is good solid entertainment and may be better than it first appears and I suspect that it may also garner a much greater and loyal audience in years to come but right now it feels like a missed opportunity.