I know it’s another Adam Sandler film that clearly means it’s not going to be the best of the best but I was actually surprised at how much I enjoyed it. When it was released in 2015 it was the film that in the trailer looked decent but all the reviews were awful. You only have to look at a score of 17% on Rotten Tomatoes to realise how bad it potentially is.
However, I don’t believe it’s as bad as people make out…
The film appeals mainly as a 80’s nostalgia to begin as young Will Cooper, Kevin James, and Sam Brenner, Adam Sandler, discover the love for the arcade. Brenner is noticeably better than others- quickly setting high scores and drawing a crowd. From this it leads to the world championship where Brenner ultimately loses to Peter Dinklage’s character Eddie Plant at Donkey Kong.
Fast forward 30 years and Cooper is president whereas Brenner is an I.T installation guy. A run in with a divorcee Violet Van Patten ( Michelle Monaghan) and her son Matty leaves Brenners called to the white house for an emergency. Aliens are attacking with Galaga (retro game).
With a run-in with ‘the wonderkid’ or Ludlow Lamonsoff. (Josh Gad), a conspiracy arises. A capsule sent so space including footage of the 1982 videogame arcade championships has been misinterpretted by extra terrestrial life to be a challenge for the planets.
Things escalate here as the ‘aliens’ have created real life pixels to create arcade characters like Donkey Kong, Mario etc. Of course we’re able to rapidly engineer the pixels into weapons and then Adam Sandler and co. go on a mission to defeat the aliens in combat in three games. Legit that easy.
So once all the crew are on board, they take part in the games which eventually leads to a final battle of pacman. This actually is quite a good part of the film as the creator of pacman steps up to help win the game. Yet when pacman turns out to be a bad guy- the creator goes to speak to him and actually loses his hand in an emotional yet funny scene. One of the scenes which made the film slightly better than what you expect.
I think the problem is that it’s just a bit of a decent plot but done badly and therefore adds another film of disappointment to Sandlers collection. Remembee ‘just go with it’? Yeah? It’s along the lines of that…
However, it does pick up when a twist happens when game of thrones man Peter Dinklage, cheated #spoilereventhoughivegaveawaythefilmanyway. Anyhow, the ‘aliens’ find out and decide to take on the planet and a half decent final game of beat the boss against donkey kong throws Brenner back to his game against Plant when he was younger and overcomes fears to beat kong and win the battle. Ends on a high note with Brenner then finding love with Violet Van Patten, a storyline often associated with literally any Adam Sandler film.
Anyhow, despite the major fatigue in the plot at times, there were times where it was interesting to watch and had humour too. The cast was brilliant but the script didn’t do them any justice. On the whole I would watch it again but maybe on the off occasion.