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Pixels: where Pac Man comes to life

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In 1982, teenager Sam Brenner was an arcade champion, competing in the US Nationals.

Footage from this competition, along with snippets of televised pop culture, was blasted into space (this was the time of President Regan, and space was big on his agenda, so there’s no need to question these motives, particularly in a PG movie). The footage was retrieved by aliens, who believed it to be a threat of war.

Twenty-three years later, these aliens attack Earth in the form of old-school video games such as Galaga, Centipede and Donkey Kong. Brenner, now an electronics installation “nerd” played by Adam Sandler, is called on by his old arcade buddy Cooper, now President of the United States, played by Kevin James, to save the world.

This is a family movie that your kids will want to see because it’s all about gaming and the trailer looks as funny as the best of Adam Sandler movies, though it is PG. Look for some bad language and sexual references from Eddie “the Fire Blaster” Plant (Peter Dinklage), and offensive sexist language when the Wonder Boy (hilariously played by Josh Gad) plucks some nerve out of nowhere and gives the Navy Seals a talking to.

Pixels 2

Children will love the huge pixelated characters, like the iconic Pac Man and everybody’s favourite Q*bert, while parents will get a kick out of all the ’80s references and music. Opening with Cheap Trick’s “Surrender” sets the tone perfectly, while Hall and Oates and Tammy Fay Baker delivering messages of alien intent are very laughable.

The film does get a little scary, like when innocent bystanders get caught in the pixilation and scream as they watch their bodies disintegrate inch by inch into puddles of computer blocks. But at the risk of overstatement, Pixels just might be this generation’s answer to the original Ghost Busters, and did any of us who watched it under the age of 13 get nightmares? If we did, do we remember them? No. We remember the bad-ass goofy guys who killed the Pillsbury Doughboy in the streets of New York and saved the world.

Such is Adam Sandler and his crew of misfits fighting Pac Man in the streets of New York and saving the world. It’s really good fun.



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