Pixels 3D Blu-ray review

Misconceived action comedy is only good for sullying your memories of classic arcade games

When extraterrestrials misinterpret footage from classic videogames beamed into space in 1982 as a declaration of war, they decide to wipe out all life on Earth using technology based on the likes of Galaga, Centipede and Pac-Man. And with the military hopelessly outclassed, humanity's only hope lies with a trio of former arcade game champions (Adam Sandler, Peter Dinklage and Josh Gad).

Based on Patrick Jean's brilliant two-minute short of the same name that set the internet alight back in 2011, the feature-length Pixels simply uses the idea as the backbone for an idiotic Ghostbusters knockoff that sees Sandler and chums performing the sort of slapdash idiocy that passes for comedy in every Happy Madison production. Meanwhile, talented actors likes Michelle Monaghan and Jane Krakowski are wasted due to the screenwriters either having no idea how to write meaningful parts for women or no interest in doing so, lest it detract from Sandler's annoying man-child schtick.

And who exactly has Pixels been made for? While the 'jokes' may just about keep kids amused, the nostalgia value of Q*bert and Galaga will surely pass them by completely. Furthermore, anyone old enough to have played those games in their youth will no doubt find the rest of the film insultingly infantile and imbecilic. Happy Gilmore, this ain't.
Movie rating: 1/5

Picture: Of course, a movie as life-sappingly dull as Pixels was always bound to look absolutely amazing on Blu-ray. And that's what's happened – at least where the 2D encode is concerned.

Another of Sony's 'Mastered in 4K' presentations, the flat 2.40:1 1080p encode delivers incredibly vibrant colours that explode from the screen. Detailing also astonishes with its intricacy, while blacks are spectacularly deep and inky.

Unfortunately, the 3D encode doesn't hold up quite as well. Outside of a few sequences (Chapter 2's swirling arcade screens, Q*bert poking his nose over the lower black bar when he's first revealed in Chapter 12...) the image lacks significant volume. More damaging still is the impact of the drop in brightness, with colour failing to pop and blacks crushed to the point of eliminating shadow detail.
Picture rating: 4/5

Audio: The 2D Pixels Blu-ray was Sony's first Dolby Atmos release in the US, but this delayed UK outing surprisingly arrived with an Auro-3D track on the 2D disc instead. At the time of writing we aren’t in a situation to audition this, so we'll to stick to commenting on the DTS-HD Mater Audio  5.1 mix: a perfectly well-rendered but not especially exciting affair that only really bursts into life during the movie's trio of major action sequences.
Audio rating: 4/5

Extras: The 2D disc includes a music video, a stills gallery and eight behind-the-scenes vignettes (including a piece about Pac-Man creator Toru Iwatani's cameo in the film). Notably absent is the original Pixels short.
Extras rating: 2/5

We say: It may look truly sensational (in 2D) and boast the first Auro-3D soundtrack, but Pixels still sucks

Pixels 3D, Sony Pictures, All-region BD, £28 approx