Pixels - An Affront to Videogames and Gamers

Marter | 24 Jul 2015 12:00
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Pixels is the type of movie that gives those who play videogames a bad name.

Pixels is a far meaner movie than I was expecting. Sandler's character isn't a nice person, although that winds up being par for the course with both the other characters in the film and its overall tone. It doesn't celebrate nerds or nerd culture; it makes fun of them behind their back, all while pretending to be sincere. All of the characters have negative defining personality traits used to make fun of them. Josh Gad's character is an overweight conspiracy theorist obsessed with a fictional videogame character, for example. And let's not even mention the way the film treats women. Let's just say that by the point it makes a female character a literal trophy, I was sick of it.

"Sick of it" is a pretty apt way to describe my feelings toward Pixels, actually. It's boring, unfunny, mean-spirited, and no fun, but it didn't anger me the way other awful movies can. It just left me feeling apathetic - perhaps "defeated" would be a better way to describe it. I couldn't muster any hatred for it; I just wanted to move on and ignore the fact that it exists. It's a really bad movie, yes, but it's not something on which I wanted to spend any more of my time or thoughts. It passed through me as soon as it entered and failed to leave an impression.

About the only good aspect to Pixels are the special effects used to create the real-life retro videogames. They've got an interesting look, and the way they demolish things on our planet gives us a look you don't often see in films or videogames. They don't so much destroy things as transform them into voxels, which is accomplished with some pretty good CGI. All this does is serve as a reminder of what could have been done with this premise if it wasn't transformed into a bog-standard Adam Sandler comedy.

Pixels is the type of movie that gives those who play videogames a bad name. It represents them as awkward and mean manchildren, and despite allowing them to save the world, snickers at them at the same time. It has an interesting premise that's wasted on this story, good special effects that only serve as a reminder of how good Pixels could have been, and a complete lack of humor. It left me feeling more apathetic than I've felt leaving a movie in a while. It's an affront to videogames, gamers, and cinema.

Bottom Line: Pixels is an awful movie. It's boring, insulting, unfunny, and a waste of a good premise.

Recommendation: Forget that Pixels exists and go play some Frogger, Tetris, or Donkey Kong.


If you want more of Matthew "Marter" Parkinson, you can follow him on the Twitter @Martertweet and check out his weekly movie podcast.

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