Back in 2010, visual-effects artist Patrick Jean delivered us Pixels, which imagined golden-age video game characters laying waste to Manhattan and leaving it in 8-bit rubble. It’s the type of thing you would have watched and forwarded on to your friends, who would point out that it should be called Voxels, not Pixels.
At some point, Adam Sandler saw Pixels, and decided that he’d like to forward it on to movie theaters. Happy Madison acquired the rights, and has been working on the project for years. Now, Sony has finally blown all the dust out of the trailer cartridge. For those expecting the inventiveness of the original short, the “pretend-serious exposition” trope of the trailer’s open isn’t reassuring. Also, this is an Adam Sandler movie with Kevin James in it, so please stop expecting inventiveness.
As with the original, classic-era (and now fully licensed) characters menace the city. This time, Adam Sandler is tapped to fight off the invaders, seeing as he’s the whole reason this movie exists. The bigger-budget effects do look nice, and a brief clip of Donkey Kong will leave you wishing his aim was just a little better. Eventually Sandler’s ragtag crew (Josh Gad, Peter Dinklage, and Michelle Monaghan) attempts to use MINI Coopers as bait for Pac-Man, probably because Adam Sandler also saw The Italian Job.
Finally, the trailer closes with Toru Iwatani, creator of Pac-Man, being enlisted to negotiate with his “son.” It’s a funny premise that falls flat, which may wind up being an apt metaphor for Chris Columbus’ Pixels, which opens July 24.