Before Sony Pictures studio decided to make Pixels into an underwhelming, soulless, comedy about Adam Sandler shooting aliens that look like 80’s video game mascots, there was actually a very interesting origin story to the film. In 2010, Patrick Jean made a 3 minute short film entitled Pixels. It was very simplistic: a TV explodes and releases various 80’s video game characters into New York City, who then cause havoc and pixelate the entire city. It is clearly a passion project and the visual effects have a lot of personality and care put into them. The short is on YouTube and Vimeo for free right now and it is well worth the 3 minute watch time.
However, I think that this concept of 80’s video games attacking a city is only sustainable for a 3 minute short. Once it was given a 80 million dollar budget, the whole concept of the short seems to fall apart. The 2015 feature adaptation of Pixels is perhaps one of the most underwhelming films ever made. By 2015, Adam Sandler was far into his period where he stopped trying to be funny and this
movie shows that off wonderfully. Sandler and a majority of his castmates are embarrassing to watch in this movie. They recite the awful dialogue as written and collect their paychecks, but I can’t blame them. Everything is boring and uninspired, from the visual effects, to the awful direction by Home Alone director Chris Colombus. This is a deeply cynical movie and to treat it like anything else is to be far more of an optimist than the average person. Which is why Peter Dinklage’s performance in this film is easily the best part.
Peter Dinklage plays the role of Eddie “The Fire Blaster” Plant. Dinklage plays this character with such confidence and fun that you cannot help but enjoy the movie for the brief moments he is on screen. He revels in the absurdity of playing a horrible man who holds the world record in “Donkey Kong” and also happens to be in jail for massive phone-bill fraud. He understands how utterly childish the movie is and decides to play that immaturity as seriously as possible. From trying to get into a polyamorous relationship with Martha
Stewart and Serena Williams to giving himself his own nickname, Dinklage gives us a brief respite from the doldrums of the film in his delightful portrayal of “The Fire Blaster.” Without Dinklage, I think this movie would truly be unwatchable for me.
There are plenty of alternatives to seeing this movie. Look up the Dinklage scenes on Youtube. Watch the original short film. I would say you should even just check out the other Adam Sandler movies on Swank. I have not even seen all of them but I doubt any of them could be as bad as Pixels.