When it comes to live-action movies about cartoons, anime, and video games; there are ‘certain’ rules by the fandom of those mediums that production companies, writers, and producers have to follow. We ALL know about the infamous ‘Human Sonic’ that Paramount was going to give the fanbase in 2019, but the fanbase wasn’t having it – like at all! Fast-forward to Present Day; we now have two installments of Movie Sonic (that are box office hits by the way) with a third on the way, and a spinoff origin story about a certain red echidna. With this year being the best time to be a Sonic fan, it seems like the movie franchise is setting the bar high for what live-action video game movies are supposed to be about. Although they don’t adapt the video games directly; the producers (God bless Jeff Fowler) and writers know what they’re doing.
On that same note, there are some live-action video game movies that seemed to have a good idea (as well as a decent budget), but the execution was a bit flawed. Its not that the movie did terrible or anything (though mostly that’s the case with a majority of them), but Hollywood seems to deviate from the source material of the video game that they’re trying to adapt; most of the time its usually the writers or directors who didn’t do any kind of research of the source material, or they’re just collecting a check. Its kinda weird that this movie didn’t live up to the expectations of many movie critics, even though they adapted the arcade video game sprites really well; and stayed faithful to their in-game appearance. The movie that we’re talking about…is Pixels.
Ok, its an Adam Sandler flick, and depending if you like him or hate him, the guy’s pretty funny to a certain degree. So Pixels is a movie about a 13-year-old kid named Sam Brenner (Sandler) who went to a gaming arcade in 1982 and can study patterns in video games. During a championship match against Eddie “The Fireblaster” Plant on Donkey Kong, Sam seemingly loses and for some reason videocassette footage of the event is placed into a time capsule and headed into space. One time skip later Sam is a home-theater installer while his friend, Will Cooper, is the most hated President of the United States since (*insert worst president here*). Somewhere along the line that videocassette tape made it to a group of aliens; who mistook it as a declaration of war, and are now on the attack in the form of the video games from that footage. Now Sam, Will, and his old rival Eddie have to join forces and convince the U.S. Army to help them fight against the aliens in three different rounds (or battles) the form of 1980’s arcade games like Galaga, Arkanoid, Centipede, Space Invaders, Pac-Man (yes even Pac-Man), Duck-Hunt, and more. Although its got a B-movie plot, the renders of the 8-bit arcade video game characters are faithful to how they appeared in their games.
A LOT of money was spent making the movie (between $80-130 million), and it even had a cameo appearance from Toru Iwatani himself; the creator of Pac-Man. Despite the movie getting anywhere between a D+ and a C- based on movie critics, they nailed it with the source material of the arcade games that they were trying to adapt. Many of these games we remember playing when we were young, and if you ask any 80’s kid, they’ll tell you that they were probably just as good at these arcade games, as the characters in this movie. It brought in $245 million at the box office, so despite the cheesy storyline, it did turn some kind of profit – by $100 million at least.
Pixels was one of those movies that had an idea and stayed true to its original source material, but the reception fell kinda flat towards the general audience due to its lackluster story. (Or maybe some of theme just aren’t fans of retro video games.) For some people who saw it; it might’ve been the best movie they ever saw, ‘graphics-wise’, because they stayed committed to the original source material. Regardless of its rating we think Pixels might be one of those forgotten gems of the 2010’s that most (if not all) people never talk about, however with the Sonic movies breaking box office records; setting the tone for the Sonic Cinematic Universe, its going to be one of those movies that people will vaguely remember.
Until next post, stay nerdy my friends! 😉