Adam Sandler‘s retro-romp may have hit some unsightly speed bumps upon release, but could director Chris Columbus have saved the day on his own?
My initial impression of Pixels was much like everyone else’s. Not only is it a bland Adam Sandler film, it’s also a bland Adam Sandler film with our childhood heroes. Characters such as Q*Bert and Pacman, have been bought in without our consent and subjected to bad jokes, lame timing and recycled story-lines.
Watching the film the only part I took back as good, was the beginning. Set in 1982 it was a “King of Kong” style segment, with kids playing the retro games we grew up with. It is all to create the rivalry between Sandler’s and Peter Dinklage‘s characters. I enjoyed the film up to the point I saw the words “Present Day”.
This gave me an idea: what if we never saw the words “Present Day”?
With director Chris Columbus’ child-friendly 80’s adventure CV (Home Alone, Goonies, Young Sherlock Holmes) he would’ve been able to create a great kid-driven story without Sandler set entirely in the 80’s! So instead of mullets, sexist jokes, and Kevin James, we could’ve had a heart warming childhood adventure.
This would be a Goonies style film about a quartet of socially awkward 80’s kids for whom beating the high scores at their local arcade hall is their only outlet. This already makes them gaming heroes, even if it’s just a title they give themselves. But their world gets turned upside down when aliens masked as game characters come down and start invading . Where the army and the adults fail, these kids step up to protect their country and perhaps the world.
Instead of putting up with minis dressed as Pac-man ghosts (spoiler! But not really), the “would-be” film could have had retro 80’s tech as weaponry – maybe even a Nintendo power glove. Nods to the 80’s pop culture would be easier too, and could’ve included some cameos from the likes of Hasselhoff. The entire film could then end with these children getting the recognition they needed and the security of knowing they are cool and being treated like adults. This heart-warming ending would trump the oddly sexist trophy wife ending from Sandler’s film.
But alas, this Goonies-style arcade monster movie will never be. Instead we get another addition to the disappointing Sandler box-set. Why Chris Columbus didn’t get invloved in the writing is a complete unkown.