Pixels is one of those films that – upon initial description – tends to give some moviegoers pause. That’s probably because at this point, hearing ‘it’s an Adam Sandler/Kevin James comedy about Earth being attacked by aliens styled after ’80s video games!’ has any combination of red flag keywords (Sandler, James) that indicate the opposite of “potentially great movie.” However, Pixels made it into our Summer 2015 movie picks list because as a popcorn family film it has, well, potential.
The first Pixels trailer was pretty much focused on selling the premise (’80s video games attacking Earth), as well as showcasing the pixellated CGI characters and real-world video game scenarios that will be the film’s main attraction. Trailer #2 does the work of actually explaining the characters played by the high-profile cast (Sandler and James are joined by Game of Thrones star Peter Dinklage, Wedding Ringer star Josh Gad, as well as True Detective‘s Michelle Monaghan).
The main takeaway from the trailer – aside from a more extensive look at the movie’s pixellated action sequences – is that there will be a theme of how these characters were gods back in their days of arcade game glory, but have since become losers. This unique invasion scenario gives them a chance to prove their worth all over again – presumably so long as they can each get over some kind of personal hang-up we’re sure to learn all about during the film.
It’s not a bad story approach, but at this point it’s formulaic or even clichéd – especially for Harry Potter 1 & 2, Goonies, and Home Alone director Chris Columbus. Still, as we’ve repeatedly stated: Pixels isn’t so much for the hardcore geek or gamer crowd so much as it is a fun family summer adventure – and from the look of things, there’s enough visual pop and thrill in those action sequences to thoroughly entertain the kids, while mom and dad get a kick out of the ’80s nostalgia and references.
In short: could be another pile of money that people hate to see Sandler and James making (see also: Grown Ups, Paul Blart, etc…).
Pixels will be in theaters on July 24, 2015.