If videogames pose a threat to national security, it’s the country-wide dip in productivity that comes to pass every time there’s a new Candy Crush update. But the new sci-fi action-comedy Pixels imagines a world where videogames can do more grievous bodily harm than the occasional numbed buttock or carpal-tunnel-warped hand. Columbia Pictures’ hopeful tentpole-to-be tracks an invasion from aliens who’ve learned all their moves from the OG Space Invaders. Apparently, Reagan sent a probe containing golden-age arcade games into deep space during the ’80s. When it was found by extraterrestrials, they clearly chose not to read the instruction manual (though, who can blame them?) and instead interpreted the games as a manual full of war tactics. A couple decades down the line, Earth’s hostile neighbors have come to collect with a city-devouring Pac-Monster in tow.
It falls upon Paul Blart: President Cop (Kevin James) to rally his troops and combat the 8-bit onslaught, but such a situation requires soldiers a little out of the ordinary. To defeat a videogame, you need a videogame master, and so President Blart calls up his childhood best pal and former arcade champion Sam, played by Adam Sandler. Peter Dinklage and Josh Gad join the team of crack joystick commandoes, who may be Earth’s last hope before a permanent game over. Please deposit four quarters and watch the trailer below. Ready Player One:
The trail of the tape
Director: Chris Columbus
Screenwriter: Tim Herlihy, Timothy Dowling
Cast: Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Peter Dinklage, Josh Gad, Michelle Monaghan
Release date: July 24, 2015
The entire trailer in one line of dialogue: “We are all gonna die... yeah.”
The entire trailer in one screengrab:
The most pressing, immediate concern for Pixels is, naturally, that it stars Adam Sandler. Whereas the Sandman once punctuated his output of studio-fronted pabulum with off-beat auteur projects (Punch-Drunk Love, Spanglish), he’s now settled into a steady hot streak of garbage. (Mmmm, hot garbage.) Like King Midas on Opposite Day, Sandler turns everything he touches to crap, and there’s no reason to assume he won’t similarly sap the life from Pixels, enabling him to live forever.
But because the Dissolve News Team’s in-house analyst suggested that accentuating the positive may bring us more satisfaction in our day-to-day lives, let’s concede that the concept is certainly a novel one, even as it repurposes the most cherished videogame properties of Generation X’s youth. The film runs on the clean-burning fuel of nostalgia, and there’s no motivating force in this world more powerful than nostalgia. (Except, maybe, for sex.) And Peter Dinklage has a mullet! Can’t go wrong there! Plus, that bit with Denis Akiyama making a gentle appeal to Pac-Man as if he’s the perfectly circular, yellow fruit of his loins—pretty funny, right? Right?