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If you’ve ever had nightmares or apocalyptic visions where giant, pixelated, 1980s videogame characters come down from space and wreck up the joint, your premonitions are about to come true. At least in the world of Chris Columbus’ latest Pixels, which just dropped a shiny new trailer that takes everything we’ve seen so far to absurd new levels.
The basic premise of the Adam Sandler-starring sci-fi comedy is that, all the way back in 1982, NASA launched a time capsule into space. It was full of artifacts of our culture, including videogames, intended as a message of peace to any alien intelligence that may be lurking out in the depths of space. The message was received and taken so, so wrong, and some kind of extraterrestrial presence attacks, using those very same beloved, if somewhat blocky characters as tools of destruction. Of course, the only way to stop this is to enlist the help of former arcade champions. Time for them to relive their glory days.
It’s a silly premise, and Sony, Columbus, and the key players appear to be well aware of that fact, and they even poke fun at themselves. When Josh Gad’s character, Ludlow Lamonsoff, lays out that aliens are using old videogames to attack Earth, Sandler’s Sam Brenner just nods and says, "That makes sense." And from what we see here, if you too can sit back and accept this inherently ridiculous idea, then you’ll probably have a damn fine time watching Pixels.
This trailer gives us a proper introduction to the core cast and shares a little about each of their respective skill sets. Sam Brenner is a former Pac-Man world champ, though we do learn that he sucks at Donkey Kong. Good thing for him that they enlist the help of Eddie Plant (an amazing looking Peter Dinklage), who happens to be the world’s best Donkey Kong player. Rounding out the trio is Ludlow Lamonsoff, who is apparently really good at Centipede. You also get glimpses of games like Galaga, Space Invaders, Q-Bert, and if you’ve ever wanted to see Kevin James playing the President of the United States and murder a pixelated Smurf, well, today is your lucky day.
Tim Herlihy and Timothy Dowling handled the writing duties on Pixels, and the film also stars Michelle Monaghan as some kind of military-nerd liaison and Jane Krakowski as the First Lady, as well as Brian Cox and Sean Bean. I don’t know how he dies, but you have to imagine Bean kicks the bucket, and that maybe, just maybe, he’ll get eaten by Pac-Man or crushed by one of Donkey Kong’s rolling barrels. Either way, that’s one hell of a way to go.
Pixels opens everywhere June 24.