Fantastic Pixels

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Remo D
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Fantastic Pixels

Post by Remo D » Fri Aug 21, 2015 2:19 pm

I never got around to reviewing these, did I? And it scarcely seems worth it as they no longer appear to be going concerns. Nor was I actually planning to see either of these in the first place. Still and all, still and all...

My wife treated me to a surprise trip to the drive-in theatre in San Jose last week... well, dinner and the drive-in experience itself (which I hadn't had in... good grief... eight years) was all terrific. Then there were the actual MOVIES. I could have seen MI5, but I hadn't seen 2-4 and didn't really want to try to catch up with who everybody was supposed to be at that point... I could have seen MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. but I was saving that one for my parents this weekend... well, I ended up choosing a double bill of two films I had originally taken a pass on--just because we were there and I figured a drive-in could save just about anything.

Well. Just ABOUT anything.

Now, I had originally anticipated that the new FANTASTIC 4 was easily going to turn out better than the last go-round (and by that, I mean that I didn't even bother with the Silver Surfer sequel, I was so disinterested in Part One), but I couldn't work up a head of steam to sit through yet another "origin" rehash. My lack of interest had nothing to do with the surprising pre-release hatred for this title... surely it couldn't be as bad as all THAT, right? Oh, could it ever. Words can scarcely describe how boring this rehash was, and it had nothing to do with the actors playing the roles, either. They, themselves, could make a fine FF, but the obligatory "how it all happened" saga is so utterly by-the-numbers that it didn't make a bit of difference how they changed it up; and we're still apparently in the phase of making so-called "superheroes" angsty and conflicted rather than enthused (okay, Torchie has some fun). So we see how they changed and then they have to squabble with each other, break up, regroup and banish Dr. Doom to his dark dimension yet the hell again. Victor Von Doom (in both his forms), however, was the one element in the film I actually enjoyed watching, and I could bring myself to sit through another one of his capers, I suppose. But this movie just sits there and withers from beginning to end. Yes, I liked the Jessica Alba movie better. I said it. But having said that, even the unreleased Roger Corman movie was better than that!

Which left us with PIXELS. As an 80s video game enthusiast, the trailer for this one originally had me convinced that this was one Adam Sandler movie I'd actually want to see on the big screen (making a grand total of three). But once again, nothing but hate, hate, hate for the movie when it actually came out. But since I was already there? It couldn't possibly be worse than FANTASTIC 4, right? This time I WAS right... PIXELS was ALIENS next to that thing. Which does NOT make it particularly good.

The video game tributes themselves were terrific, and the PAC-MAN car chase sequence was a worthy centerpiece for the film. It's just all the stuff that goes on when the characters AREN'T fighting video game characters that's the problem. And you know what? It's not Adam Sandler per se. He's well suited to the "nerd that saves the day" character and this certainly isn't one of his more shrill or obnoxious performances. I could deal with him painlessly; but there are no laughs bigger than the one in the early going in which it's revealed that his equally nerdy friend (Kevin James) grew up to be the President. Brian Cox is amusing for a while even though his character goes nowhere, and Peter Dinklage is always welcome (both he and the actor playing his younger self give this project the biggest shots of energy). Far less successful is the obsession over a Xena-type warrior who couldn't possibly have existed as such in the 80s, and there's way too much cutesy Q*bert business. The killer is the twenty-minute chunk between the PAC-MAN attack and the DONKEY KONG finale in which all the eleventh-hour crises are set up, character revelations aired, bla bla bla and oh, so excruciatingly boring.

80s fans will still want to check this out... the combination of a Blu-Ray and a fast-forward button will actually make PIXELS a lot of fun. No others need apply.


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