Pixels: Viewing Guide

Image: Pixels: Viewing Guide

While it's probably not worth seeing this movie, it does bring up some interesting ideas.

Who’s it for?

Recommended viewing age: Children under 15 should have some form of parental guidance. It’s a film supposedly aimed at families as a whole, but there’s quite a few sexual references.

What’s it about?

In the 1980s, Sam Brenner (Adam Sandler) is an arcade game whizz, nearly winning the national gaming championships with his skills at games like Pac-Man. 30 years later, his life has not progressed very far and he is working in an unglamorous job that he hates. When aliens invade earth in the form of the games he loved as a kid, Brenner and his arcade gaming friends are the planet’s only hope of survival.

What are the big ideas?

  • How the ‘least’ in society can have great importance 
  • The problems of being judgemental
  • Challenges to what a hero looks like

What to think about

Adam Sandler offers us yet another version of his ‘my-life-is-going-nowhere-but-I’m-actually-really-important’ character in the form of Brenner. Someone who is exceptionally gifted at video games as a child, his skills are of little to no value as he gets older and so finds himself in a job he hates and is looked down upon in society. This is the same for all of his friends, even Brenner’s best friend Will, who has become The President, is at an all time low approval rating.  

Yet when the Earth is in trouble Brenner’s niche talents are humanities best shot at defeating the invaders. Pixels presents us with the idea that everyone has their gifts and that we are all of importance, no matter what we may think.

For the Christian, this is good to remember. You may feel that you don’t have any special talents or skills that can glorify God like those who can sing, preach or draw for example. Don’t be disheartened, God has created you just the way you are for a specific reason and he has given us all different skills and gifts. God has created us all different but with our own purpose, like the parts of our body.

Talking about spiritual gifts, Paul writes:

Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.” —1 Corinthians 12: 15-19

Ask yourself:

  • What gifts do I have?
  • How might I use them for God’s Kingdom?
  • What gifts do I see in my friends and how can I encourage them?

What we thought

In the 90s, Sandler had a string of great comedies, but in the last few years he hasn’t been able to recapture that same fire. Pixels falls flat in most aspects. TV cartoon Futurama did a better job of the same concept in less than ten minutes. Like its cast of characters, it seems lost, jumping from family comedy to the type of cruder humour Sandler is known for. They don’t mix well together. Most of the jokes don't work well and the characters are pretty one-dimensional. Josh Gad’s Ludlow manages to steal some scenes and the Pac-Man sequence is good fun, but overall Pixels doesn’t work.

2 out of 5


 

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