Pixels (2010)

2010 #40a
Patrick Jean | 3 mins | download

Pixels falls somewhere between a commercial and a CGI showreel, albeit one with a definite narrative and a dizzying amount of fun.

The plot is simple: characters and graphics from old 8-bit computer games escape and run riot over New York City. We’re talking Space Invaders firing on real streets, Tetris blocks crashing onto buildings, Donkey Kong hurling barrels from the top of the Empire State Building, Frogger hopping across a road of real traffic… For people of A Certain Age (a little older than me, it must be said) it’s an explosion of nostalgia, but everyone can be impressed by the CGI on display. My personal favourite is the effect of Tetris blocks on that building, but I won’t spoil it here.

Rather than just being a high-concept showcase, director Patrick Jean relates a story. It’s slight and dialogue-free, true, but then this is only two-and-a-half minutes long and, really, is a showcase more than a fully-fledged film. Considering the film’s point — a series of videogame-inspired vignettes — a narrative is virtually unnecessary, but tying them together with one anyway is a pleasing touch.

The visuals and execution of the humorous premise easily hold the attention for the brief running time, however, and I’m sure the former are set to do the film’s real job proficiently — i.e. win One More Production lots of work.

4 out of 5

Pixels can be watched in full on the production company’s website.

A feature-length adaptation is released in the US tomorrow, 24th July 2015, and in the UK on Wednesday 12th August.