Pixels

Well, it’s got pixels. And Adam Sandler.


Pixels

Starring: Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Josh Gad
Directed by: Chris Columbus

Consensus: 2 Stars
Meh!

Pixels

Starring: Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Josh Gad
Directed by: Chris Columbus

Consensus: 2 Stars
Meh!


Rated

PG-13

Starring

Adam Sandler
Michelle Monaghan
Kevin James
Josh Gad
Peter Dinklage

Written by

Tim Herlihy
Timothy Dowling

Directed by

Chris Columbus


coming up

What to Expect

Okay, so this is an Adam Sandler-starrer.

Really, what is there to expect? What in the good heavens is? There’s an Adam Sandler movie with Adam Sandler humor, starring Adam Sandler. Every Sandler movie has a particularly restricted sense of humor that’s grown paler and paler by the day. Save for last year’s strictly tolerable-to-pleasant Blended, there wasn’t much on the cards for Sandler. Except for the then upcoming Pixels, of course, because this had a mammoth budget in comparison to most films coming out of the Sandler-owned Happy Madison entertainment, and held promise for one very specific reason – this movie was proud to call out on its execution “From the Director of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone”‘, namely Chris Columbus.

Ironically, here I was, watching perhaps my first Columbus movie on the big screen. Which, additionally, also is a pretty dubious thing to be excited about, because his later films are no patch on Stepmom, or even the sadistic-humor heavy Home Alone for that matter. The people who don’t exactly get the reason why I’m so neutral on expectations here should really, really have a go at I Love You, Beth Cooper, for starters.

Of course, this is one movie that could be in Sandler’s better starrers, probably because he features in a film that has adventure, and a director who’s adept at handling low key humor – or used to be.

What’s it About?

Early eighties. Examples of pop-culture are videotaped and sent to outer-space to check up on alien life. Instead of the friendly gesture the Earth had intended it to be, however, the alien life forms take it up as a call for war. And they send lifelike pixelated formations of popular eighties games to – well – fight the humans.

And the only people who can save the Earth are pretty much Sam Brenner (Adam Sandler) and his “crew”, if you can call it that.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Um, okay then.

Um, okay then.

I didn’t laugh for more than three quarters of the film.

The rest of the cinema did, yes. But I didn’t, and I couldn’t. Made for the kind of audience that does actually like Sandler starring as a bumbling loser in film after film, throwing in some dry humor that feels like you’re watching a sitcom from the nineties, this film may definitely have a potential to work. That doesn’t in all honesty make it any good a film.

Columbus, who seems to have lost the charm of interpersonal relationships he’s built up his repertoire of films with, continues to wander in a rather large scope almost aimlessly. You have your cookie-cutter characters in a plot that seems like it’s more of a checklist to be that summer movie that wants to be for everyone. There’s a bunch of losers on their pathway to redemption. There’s the incredibly beautiful woman who falls for the loser because he’s not that bad. In Sandler’s case, let’s make that about a loser who’s been cheated on meeting another “wounded soul” who’s also been cheated on. Add to that a credible director who can handle possibly the only plot point that actually has a flicker of originality to it, and you have your mainstream box-office winning (?) formula.

Oh well.

Every movie – even those with meandering plots – depends on strong characters and consistent character graphs. Sandler ironically excels at that, ’cause he’s been playing the same character for almost a while now. There’s nothing really Sam-Brenner-ish left in his character when Sandler gets in. Additionally, Kevin James is Kevin James and Josh Gad is Josh Gad. There’s nothing exceptionally challenging about the characters they’re playing.

The cinematography is basically pleasing, but what really takes the cake – and that’s really why people would probably go and watch the film – is the exceptional visual effects compositing, which actually makes for a lot of the film’s runtime. Most of the eighties games that have been referenced around here have incredibly gorgeous detailing in design, lighting and movement, and I found that incredibly tasteful. The idea of having different parts of the world, despite the obviously shoddy stereotypes (the weird-Indian-Bollywood-romance, English archaism et al – also none of the people in London or India speak the way they regressively do in this film), for attack points is something That can definitely be (albeit vaguely) respected, as although the finale hits back home, as is the case with most mainstream Hollywood alien invasion movies, there’s an obvious urgency that’s – even minutely – felt happening around the world. The sound design is appropriate, fitting hand-in-glove with the visual dazzle-dazzle, and taking a spoonful of cues from the sound design in eighties arcade games and heightening them to a justifiable big-screen level. This, however, doesn’t exactly make for how drab and consistently humorless it is through most of the film.

Now hear me out; I’m perfectly aware that this wasn’t going to be a great film. I mean, a Happy Madison production starring its owner as the loser protagonist was always going to gather around a huge red flag. Add to that Kevin James playing the goddamn president (nope, even a simple act of metaphorically throwing the common sense away for the film wouldn’t allow me to process that), and you’re really given the kind of movie you always knew you were going in for. This doesn’t however pose any excuse for “the director of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” to make a film that’s not exactly in consistent standards with his previous work. Not that his recent history in the form of I Love You, Beth Cooper or Percy Jackson have been helping much. Which is a shame, since despite Sandler and his regular collaborator Tim Herlihy being a part of the screenwriting credits, there was still an inkling of additional emotional heft that could have come out of the execution.

Which didn’t.

To Perform or Not to Perform

Seriously why? Why this movie?

Seriously, why? Why this movie?

Adam Sandler has always been a good performer. However, his deliberate and strategic inclusion and support for some of possibly the worst projects he’s been a part of have unfortunately greatly overshadowed what an exquisitely underrated talent he actually is. Watch Reign Over Me. Or Punch Drunk Love. Hell, even pick up a copy of Funny People and you’ll know that way under the self-deprecatory metaphorical rubble of productions he’s taken up to star in and write, there is an extremely underrated talent hidden.

This film does nothing to help. Because he’s just Adam Sandler. So is Kevin James and Josh Gad. Michelle Monaghan is a pleasant presence, but she does practically nothing despite obviously being dubiously graced with a character of a woman who has in her hand stature and power. Peter Dinklage has the potential to extract the most laughs, despite most of the weirdly sexist humor coming directly from him. Sean Bean has a role of possibly the least significance in this film. And then there are others like Brian Cox, who’ve been roped in primarily to handle one particular expression for the entire runtime of the film.

Worth it?

Adam Sandler fans won’t hate it. They love his humor, and you’d definitely find that a whole lot in the film. And to be extremely honest, this is one of the more tolerable Sandler/Happy Madison films to have come out. That, however, doesn’t zero in the following things:

  • Chris Columbus is a comparatively strong filmmaker who’s delivered yet another example of being a part exclusively of washed up efforts directorially;
  • Adam Sandler’s trademark humor spawns literally no originality throughout even a single minute in the film; and, most importantly
  • The rather creatively high-in-potential concept, adapted from a short film that works on around the same lines, is colossally wasted and watered down to look like but a disappointing checklist of a film. And despite the gorgeous visual-effects compositing and fantastic animation, this is a film that unfortunately had it within itself to be light-years more dazzling than the poor excuse of the product it is now.

At the risk of repeating myself however (and despite the makers having unsuccessfully tried to convince us of Kevin James being a president), this is a film that still has the potential to be liked by many, and – at the very least – tolerated by even those who couldn’t get past Jack and Jill.

But hey, this is me. I mean, Conventional Adam Sandler! Yay! Let’s celebrate!

Right?

Consensus: 2 Stars
Meh!
About the Author

Ankit Ojha

Facebook

Ambivert. Intermittent cynic. Content creator. New media enthusiast. Binge-watcher. Budding filmmaker.

Watch the trailer

We’re viral

Like Us on Facebookand Twitter!


Rated

PG-13

Starring

Adam Sandler
Michelle Monaghan
Kevin James
Josh Gad
Peter Dinklage

Written by

Tim Herlihy
Timothy Dowling

Directed by

Chris Columbus


What to Expect

Okay, so this is an Adam Sandler-starrer.

Really, what is there to expect? What in the good heavens is? There’s an Adam Sandler movie with Adam Sandler humor, starring Adam Sandler. Every Sandler movie has a particularly restricted sense of humor that’s grown paler and paler by the day. Save for last year’s strictly tolerable-to-pleasant Blended, there wasn’t much on the cards for Sandler. Except for the then upcoming Pixels, of course, because this had a mammoth budget in comparison to most films coming out of the Sandler-owned Happy Madison entertainment, and held promise for one very specific reason – this movie was proud to call out on its execution “From the Director of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone”‘, namely Chris Columbus.

Ironically, here I was, watching perhaps my first Columbus movie on the big screen. Which, additionally, also is a pretty dubious thing to be excited about, because his later films are no patch on Stepmom, or even the sadistic-humor heavy Home Alone for that matter. The people who don’t exactly get the reason why I’m so neutral on expectations here should really, really have a go at I Love You, Beth Cooper, for starters.

Of course, this is one movie that could be in Sandler’s better starrers, probably because he features in a film that has adventure, and a director who’s adept at handling low key humor – or used to be.

What’s it About?

Early eighties. Examples of pop-culture are videotaped and sent to outer-space to check up on alien life. Instead of the friendly gesture the Earth had intended it to be, however, the alien life forms take it up as a call for war. And they send lifelike pixelated formations of popular eighties games to – well – fight the humans.

And the only people who can save the Earth are pretty much Sam Brenner (Adam Sandler) and his “crew”, if you can call it that.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Um, okay then.

Um, okay then.

I didn’t laugh for more than three quarters of the film.

The rest of the cinema did, yes. But I didn’t, and I couldn’t. Made for the kind of audience that does actually like Sandler starring as a bumbling loser in film after film, throwing in some dry humor that feels like you’re watching a sitcom from the nineties, this film may definitely have a potential to work. That doesn’t in all honesty make it any good a film.

Columbus, who seems to have lost the charm of interpersonal relationships he’s built up his repertoire of films with, continues to wander in a rather large scope almost aimlessly. You have your cookie-cutter characters in a plot that seems like it’s more of a checklist to be that summer movie that wants to be for everyone. There’s a bunch of losers on their pathway to redemption. There’s the incredibly beautiful woman who falls for the loser because he’s not that bad. In Sandler’s case, let’s make that about a loser who’s been cheated on meeting another “wounded soul” who’s also been cheated on. Add to that a credible director who can handle possibly the only plot point that actually has a flicker of originality to it, and you have your mainstream box-office winning (?) formula.

Oh well.

Every movie – even those with meandering plots – depends on strong characters and consistent character graphs. Sandler ironically excels at that, ’cause he’s been playing the same character for almost a while now. There’s nothing really Sam-Brenner-ish left in his character when Sandler gets in. Additionally, Kevin James is Kevin James and Josh Gad is Josh Gad. There’s nothing exceptionally challenging about the characters they’re playing.

The cinematography is basically pleasing, but what really takes the cake – and that’s really why people would probably go and watch the film – is the exceptional visual effects compositing, which actually makes for a lot of the film’s runtime. Most of the eighties games that have been referenced around here have incredibly gorgeous detailing in design, lighting and movement, and I found that incredibly tasteful. The idea of having different parts of the world, despite the obviously shoddy stereotypes (the weird-Indian-Bollywood-romance, English archaism et al – also none of the people in London or India speak the way they regressively do in this film), for attack points is something That can definitely be (albeit vaguely) respected, as although the finale hits back home, as is the case with most mainstream Hollywood alien invasion movies, there’s an obvious urgency that’s – even minutely – felt happening around the world. The sound design is appropriate, fitting hand-in-glove with the visual dazzle-dazzle, and taking a spoonful of cues from the sound design in eighties arcade games and heightening them to a justifiable big-screen level. This, however, doesn’t exactly make for how drab and consistently humorless it is through most of the film.

Now hear me out; I’m perfectly aware that this wasn’t going to be a great film. I mean, a Happy Madison production starring its owner as the loser protagonist was always going to gather around a huge red flag. Add to that Kevin James playing the goddamn president (nope, even a simple act of metaphorically throwing the common sense away for the film wouldn’t allow me to process that), and you’re really given the kind of movie you always knew you were going in for. This doesn’t however pose any excuse for “the director of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” to make a film that’s not exactly in consistent standards with his previous work. Not that his recent history in the form of I Love You, Beth Cooper or Percy Jackson have been helping much. Which is a shame, since despite Sandler and his regular collaborator Tim Herlihy being a part of the screenwriting credits, there was still an inkling of additional emotional heft that could have come out of the execution.

Which didn’t.

To Perform or Not to Perform

Seriously why? Why this movie?

Seriously, why? Why this movie?

Adam Sandler has always been a good performer. However, his deliberate and strategic inclusion and support for some of possibly the worst projects he’s been a part of have unfortunately greatly overshadowed what an exquisitely underrated talent he actually is. Watch Reign Over Me. Or Punch Drunk Love. Hell, even pick up a copy of Funny People and you’ll know that way under the self-deprecatory metaphorical rubble of productions he’s taken up to star in and write, there is an extremely underrated talent hidden.

This film does nothing to help. Because he’s just Adam Sandler. So is Kevin James and Josh Gad. Michelle Monaghan is a pleasant presence, but she does practically nothing despite obviously being dubiously graced with a character of a woman who has in her hand stature and power. Peter Dinklage has the potential to extract the most laughs, despite most of the weirdly sexist humor coming directly from him. Sean Bean has a role of possibly the least significance in this film. And then there are others like Brian Cox, who’ve been roped in primarily to handle one particular expression for the entire runtime of the film.

Worth it?

Adam Sandler fans won’t hate it. They love his humor, and you’d definitely find that a whole lot in the film. And to be extremely honest, this is one of the more tolerable Sandler/Happy Madison films to have come out. That, however, doesn’t zero in the following things:

  • Chris Columbus is a comparatively strong filmmaker who’s delivered yet another example of being a part exclusively of washed up efforts directorially;
  • Adam Sandler’s trademark humor spawns literally no originality throughout even a single minute in the film; and, most importantly
  • The rather creatively high-in-potential concept, adapted from a short film that works on around the same lines, is colossally wasted and watered down to look like but a disappointing checklist of a film. And despite the gorgeous visual-effects compositing and fantastic animation, this is a film that unfortunately had it within itself to be light-years more dazzling than the poor excuse of the product it is now.

At the risk of repeating myself however (and despite the makers having unsuccessfully tried to convince us of Kevin James being a president), this is a film that still has the potential to be liked by many, and – at the very least – tolerated by even those who couldn’t get past Jack and Jill.

But hey, this is me. I mean, Conventional Adam Sandler! Yay! Let’s celebrate!

Right?

Consensus: 2 Stars
Meh!
About the Author

Ankit Ojha

Facebook

Ambivert. Intermittent cynic. Content creator. New media enthusiast. Binge-watcher. Budding filmmaker.

Watch the trailer

We’re viral

Like Us on Facebookand Twitter!

What to Expect

Pac-Man's there for all of how many minutes?

Pac-Man’s there for all of how many minutes?

Okay, so this is an Adam Sandler-starrer.

Really, what is there to expect? What in the good heavens is? There’s an Adam Sandler movie with Adam Sandler humor, starring Adam Sandler. Every Sandler movie has a particularly restricted sense of humor that’s grown paler and paler by the day. Save for last year’s strictly tolerable-to-pleasant Blended, there wasn’t much on the cards for Sandler. Except for the then upcoming Pixels, of course, because this had a mammoth budget in comparison to most films coming out of the Sandler-owned Happy Madison entertainment, and held promise for one very specific reason – this movie was proud to call out on its execution “From the Director of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone”‘, namely Chris Columbus.

Ironically, here I was, watching perhaps my first Columbus movie on the big screen. Which, additionally, also is a pretty dubious thing to be excited about, because his later films are no patch on Stepmom, or even the sadistic-humor heavy Home Alone for that matter. The people who don’t exactly get the reason why I’m so neutral on expectations here should really, really have a go at I Love You, Beth Cooper, for starters.

Of course, this is one movie that could be in Sandler’s better starrers, probably because he features in a film that has adventure, and a director who’s adept at handling low key humor – or used to be.

What’s it About?

Early eighties. Examples of pop-culture are videotaped and sent to outer-space to check up on alien life. Instead of the friendly gesture the Earth had intended it to be, however, the alien life forms take it up as a call for war. And they send lifelike pixelated formations of popular eighties games to – well – fight the humans.

And the only people who can save the Earth are pretty much Sam Brenner (Adam Sandler) and his “crew”, if you can call it that.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Um, okay then.

Um, okay then.

I didn’t laugh for more than three quarters of the film.

The rest of the cinema did, yes. But I didn’t, and I couldn’t. Made for the kind of audience that does actually like Sandler starring as a bumbling loser in film after film, throwing in some dry humor that feels like you’re watching a sitcom from the nineties, this film may definitely have a potential to work. That doesn’t in all honesty make it any good a film.

Columbus, who seems to have lost the charm of interpersonal relationships he’s built up his repertoire of films with, continues to wander in a rather large scope almost aimlessly. You have your cookie-cutter characters in a plot that seems like it’s more of a checklist to be that summer movie that wants to be for everyone. There’s a bunch of losers on their pathway to redemption. There’s the incredibly beautiful woman who falls for the loser because he’s not that bad. In Sandler’s case, let’s make that about a loser who’s been cheated on meeting another “wounded soul” who’s also been cheated on. Add to that a credible director who can handle possibly the only plot point that actually has a flicker of originality to it, and you have your mainstream box-office winning (?) formula.

Oh well.

Every movie – even those with meandering plots – depends on strong characters and consistent character graphs. Sandler ironically excels at that, ’cause he’s been playing the same character for almost a while now. There’s nothing really Sam-Brenner-ish left in his character when Sandler gets in. Additionally, Kevin James is Kevin James and Josh Gad is Josh Gad. There’s nothing exceptionally challenging about the characters they’re playing.

The cinematography is basically pleasing, but what really takes the cake – and that’s really why people would probably go and watch the film – is the exceptional visual effects compositing, which actually makes for a lot of the film’s runtime. Most of the eighties games that have been referenced around here have incredibly gorgeous detailing in design, lighting and movement, and I found that incredibly tasteful. The idea of having different parts of the world, despite the obviously shoddy stereotypes (the weird-Indian-Bollywood-romance, English archaism et al – also none of the people in London or India speak the way they regressively do in this film), for attack points is something That can definitely be (albeit vaguely) respected, as although the finale hits back home, as is the case with most mainstream Hollywood alien invasion movies, there’s an obvious urgency that’s – even minutely – felt happening around the world. The sound design is appropriate, fitting hand-in-glove with the visual dazzle-dazzle, and taking a spoonful of cues from the sound design in eighties arcade games and heightening them to a justifiable big-screen level. This, however, doesn’t exactly make for how drab and consistently humorless it is through most of the film.

Now hear me out; I’m perfectly aware that this wasn’t going to be a great film. I mean, a Happy Madison production starring its owner as the loser protagonist was always going to gather around a huge red flag. Add to that Kevin James playing the goddamn president (nope, even a simple act of metaphorically throwing the common sense away for the film wouldn’t allow me to process that), and you’re really given the kind of movie you always knew you were going in for. This doesn’t however pose any excuse for “the director of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” to make a film that’s not exactly in consistent standards with his previous work. Not that his recent history in the form of I Love You, Beth Cooper or Percy Jackson have been helping much. Which is a shame, since despite Sandler and his regular collaborator Tim Herlihy being a part of the screenwriting credits, there was still an inkling of additional emotional heft that could have come out of the execution.

Which didn’t.

To Perform or Not to Perform

Seriously why? Why this movie?

Seriously, why? Why this movie?

Adam Sandler has always been a good performer. However, his deliberate and strategic inclusion and support for some of possibly the worst projects he’s been a part of have unfortunately greatly overshadowed what an exquisitely underrated talent he actually is. Watch Reign Over Me. Or Punch Drunk Love. Hell, even pick up a copy of Funny People and you’ll know that way under the self-deprecatory metaphorical rubble of productions he’s taken up to star in and write, there is an extremely underrated talent hidden.

This film does nothing to help. Because he’s just Adam Sandler. So is Kevin James and Josh Gad. Michelle Monaghan is a pleasant presence, but she does practically nothing despite obviously being dubiously graced with a character of a woman who has in her hand stature and power. Peter Dinklage has the potential to extract the most laughs, despite most of the weirdly sexist humor coming directly from him. Sean Bean has a role of possibly the least significance in this film. And then there are others like Brian Cox, who’ve been roped in primarily to handle one particular expression for the entire runtime of the film.

Worth it?

Adam Sandler fans won’t hate it. They love his humor, and you’d definitely find that a whole lot in the film. And to be extremely honest, this is one of the more tolerable Sandler/Happy Madison films to have come out. That, however, doesn’t zero in the following things:

  • Chris Columbus is a comparatively strong filmmaker who’s delivered yet another example of being a part exclusively of washed up efforts directorially;
  • Adam Sandler’s trademark humor spawns literally no originality throughout even a single minute in the film; and, most importantly
  • The rather creatively high-in-potential concept, adapted from a short film that works on around the same lines, is colossally wasted and watered down to look like but a disappointing checklist of a film. And despite the gorgeous visual-effects compositing and fantastic animation, this is a film that unfortunately had it within itself to be light-years more dazzling than the poor excuse of the product it is now.

At the risk of repeating myself however (and despite the makers having unsuccessfully tried to convince us of Kevin James being a president), this is a film that still has the potential to be liked by many, and – at the very least – tolerated by even those who couldn’t get past Jack and Jill.

But hey, this is me. I mean, Conventional Adam Sandler! Yay! Let’s celebrate!

Right?

About the Author

Ankit Ojha

Facebook

Ambivert. Intermittent cynic. Content creator. New media enthusiast. Binge-watcher. Budding filmmaker.

We’re viral

Like usFollow us

What to Expect

Pac-Man's there for all of how many minutes?

Pac-Man’s there for all of how many minutes?

Okay, so this is an Adam Sandler-starrer.

Really, what is there to expect? What in the good heavens is? There’s an Adam Sandler movie with Adam Sandler humor, starring Adam Sandler. Every Sandler movie has a particularly restricted sense of humor that’s grown paler and paler by the day. Save for last year’s strictly tolerable-to-pleasant Blended, there wasn’t much on the cards for Sandler. Except for the then upcoming Pixels, of course, because this had a mammoth budget in comparison to most films coming out of the Sandler-owned Happy Madison entertainment, and held promise for one very specific reason – this movie was proud to call out on its execution “From the Director of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone”‘, namely Chris Columbus.

Ironically, here I was, watching perhaps my first Columbus movie on the big screen. Which, additionally, also is a pretty dubious thing to be excited about, because his later films are no patch on Stepmom, or even the sadistic-humor heavy Home Alone for that matter. The people who don’t exactly get the reason why I’m so neutral on expectations here should really, really have a go at I Love You, Beth Cooper, for starters.

Of course, this is one movie that could be in Sandler’s better starrers, probably because he features in a film that has adventure, and a director who’s adept at handling low key humor – or used to be.

What’s it About?

Early eighties. Examples of pop-culture are videotaped and sent to outer-space to check up on alien life. Instead of the friendly gesture the Earth had intended it to be, however, the alien life forms take it up as a call for war. And they send lifelike pixelated formations of popular eighties games to – well – fight the humans.

And the only people who can save the Earth are pretty much Sam Brenner (Adam Sandler) and his “crew”, if you can call it that.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Um, okay then.

Um, okay then.

I didn’t laugh for more than three quarters of the film.

The rest of the cinema did, yes. But I didn’t, and I couldn’t. Made for the kind of audience that does actually like Sandler starring as a bumbling loser in film after film, throwing in some dry humor that feels like you’re watching a sitcom from the nineties, this film may definitely have a potential to work. That doesn’t in all honesty make it any good a film.

Columbus, who seems to have lost the charm of interpersonal relationships he’s built up his repertoire of films with, continues to wander in a rather large scope almost aimlessly. You have your cookie-cutter characters in a plot that seems like it’s more of a checklist to be that summer movie that wants to be for everyone. There’s a bunch of losers on their pathway to redemption. There’s the incredibly beautiful woman who falls for the loser because he’s not that bad. In Sandler’s case, let’s make that about a loser who’s been cheated on meeting another “wounded soul” who’s also been cheated on. Add to that a credible director who can handle possibly the only plot point that actually has a flicker of originality to it, and you have your mainstream box-office winning (?) formula.

Oh well.

Every movie – even those with meandering plots – depends on strong characters and consistent character graphs. Sandler ironically excels at that, ’cause he’s been playing the same character for almost a while now. There’s nothing really Sam-Brenner-ish left in his character when Sandler gets in. Additionally, Kevin James is Kevin James and Josh Gad is Josh Gad. There’s nothing exceptionally challenging about the characters they’re playing.

The cinematography is basically pleasing, but what really takes the cake – and that’s really why people would probably go and watch the film – is the exceptional visual effects compositing, which actually makes for a lot of the film’s runtime. Most of the eighties games that have been referenced around here have incredibly gorgeous detailing in design, lighting and movement, and I found that incredibly tasteful. The idea of having different parts of the world, despite the obviously shoddy stereotypes (the weird-Indian-Bollywood-romance, English archaism et al – also none of the people in London or India speak the way they regressively do in this film), for attack points is something That can definitely be (albeit vaguely) respected, as although the finale hits back home, as is the case with most mainstream Hollywood alien invasion movies, there’s an obvious urgency that’s – even minutely – felt happening around the world. The sound design is appropriate, fitting hand-in-glove with the visual dazzle-dazzle, and taking a spoonful of cues from the sound design in eighties arcade games and heightening them to a justifiable big-screen level. This, however, doesn’t exactly make for how drab and consistently humorless it is through most of the film.

Now hear me out; I’m perfectly aware that this wasn’t going to be a great film. I mean, a Happy Madison production starring its owner as the loser protagonist was always going to gather around a huge red flag. Add to that Kevin James playing the goddamn president (nope, even a simple act of metaphorically throwing the common sense away for the film wouldn’t allow me to process that), and you’re really given the kind of movie you always knew you were going in for. This doesn’t however pose any excuse for “the director of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” to make a film that’s not exactly in consistent standards with his previous work. Not that his recent history in the form of I Love You, Beth Cooper or Percy Jackson have been helping much. Which is a shame, since despite Sandler and his regular collaborator Tim Herlihy being a part of the screenwriting credits, there was still an inkling of additional emotional heft that could have come out of the execution.

Which didn’t.

To Perform or Not to Perform

Seriously why? Why this movie?

Seriously, why? Why this movie?

Adam Sandler has always been a good performer. However, his deliberate and strategic inclusion and support for some of possibly the worst projects he’s been a part of have unfortunately greatly overshadowed what an exquisitely underrated talent he actually is. Watch Reign Over Me. Or Punch Drunk Love. Hell, even pick up a copy of Funny People and you’ll know that way under the self-deprecatory metaphorical rubble of productions he’s taken up to star in and write, there is an extremely underrated talent hidden.

This film does nothing to help. Because he’s just Adam Sandler. So is Kevin James and Josh Gad. Michelle Monaghan is a pleasant presence, but she does practically nothing despite obviously being dubiously graced with a character of a woman who has in her hand stature and power. Peter Dinklage has the potential to extract the most laughs, despite most of the weirdly sexist humor coming directly from him. Sean Bean has a role of possibly the least significance in this film. And then there are others like Brian Cox, who’ve been roped in primarily to handle one particular expression for the entire runtime of the film.

Worth it?

Adam Sandler fans won’t hate it. They love his humor, and you’d definitely find that a whole lot in the film. And to be extremely honest, this is one of the more tolerable Sandler/Happy Madison films to have come out. That, however, doesn’t zero in the following things:

  • Chris Columbus is a comparatively strong filmmaker who’s delivered yet another example of being a part exclusively of washed up efforts directorially;
  • Adam Sandler’s trademark humor spawns literally no originality throughout even a single minute in the film; and, most importantly
  • The rather creatively high-in-potential concept, adapted from a short film that works on around the same lines, is colossally wasted and watered down to look like but a disappointing checklist of a film. And despite the gorgeous visual-effects compositing and fantastic animation, this is a film that unfortunately had it within itself to be light-years more dazzling than the poor excuse of the product it is now.

At the risk of repeating myself however (and despite the makers having unsuccessfully tried to convince us of Kevin James being a president), this is a film that still has the potential to be liked by many, and – at the very least – tolerated by even those who couldn’t get past Jack and Jill.

But hey, this is me. I mean, Conventional Adam Sandler! Yay! Let’s celebrate!

Right?

About the Author

Ankit Ojha

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Ambivert. Intermittent cynic. Content creator. New media enthusiast. Binge-watcher. Budding filmmaker.

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