Pixels

Picture
3D-Ness
Sound
Extras
Traditionally, I avoid Adam Sandler films, for the simple reason that I just don’t think he’s funny. In the case of Pixels, however, I made an exception because the theme of retro arcade machines definitely appeals.

As aliens invade Earth, disguised as digitized characters from old-school arcade favorites, the military is stumped. Nothing could prepare them for an assault of video-game nemeses, and neither their tactics nor their weapons are a match for these attackers. That’s when the president calls upon old pals from his nerdy teenage days spent at the arcade, and with their lightning-fast reflexes and ingrained strategies, they set out to stop the onslaught of deadly avatars.

Pixels is a brand-new release, so it’s hardly surprising that it looks absolutely tremendous. Supported by deep blacks and solid highlights, this movie might just be the most colorful specimen to grace Blu-ray to date. We are given a phantasmagoric apocalypse wherein brilliant video-game graphics collide with the real world, and the luminous hues make the film itself look like an arcade machine at times. Rich in detail, the transfer does full justice to 1080p capabilities, with razor-sharp edges and a picture so vivid, you’ll want to reach out and touch it. This is especially true of the 3D version, which does a magnificent job adding depth to the image, drawing us into this credible video-game world. This 3D version, however, lacks some image detail and suffers from some color imbalances along with lost shadow detail.

The 2D version offers a Dolby TrueHD 7.1 track—with Dolby Atmos, too—although in 3D we top out at DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, most likely due to storage limitations. The 7.1 option is dynamic and aggressive, but somehow, not having it available for the 3D version feels like a missed opportunity, as it would have completed the immersive 3D presentation wonderfully. Nonetheless, the rock-solid 5.1 track serves its purpose every bit as dutifully. The mix is balanced and kicked up with vintage music, remixed to give it a full-bodied, modern feel. Dialogue is perfectly integrated and never drowned out.

Several extremely brief featurettes along with a music video comprise the on-disc supplements (2D only). A second-screen app allows us to play alongside our heroes.

I found Pixels to be an energetic and colorful experience that kept me well entertained. Just don’t question its logic… or its story… or the characterizations. Instead, simply tune out and let all of the goofiness wash over you.

Blu-Ray 3D
Studio: Sony, 2015
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Audio Format: Dolby TrueHD 7.1 with Atmos (2D version)/DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (3D version)
Length: 106 mins.
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Director: Chris Columbus
Starring: Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Michelle Monaghan

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