Adam Sandler vehicles are rarely films we look forward to seeing, but the sci-fi action comedy Pixels is primed to change that. Directed by Chris Columbus, the blockbuster centers on a group of old-school gamers who become an unlikely line of defense against invading aliens when extraterrestrials intercept feeds from arcade games, misinterpreting them as a declaration of war and launching attacks on Earth with the same eight-bit characters and strategies.
Faced with a powerful enemy he doesn’t fully understand, the President of the United States (Kevin James) recruits his childhood friends, including a TV mechanic (Sandler), a felon (Peter Dinklage) and a conspiracy theorist (Gad) to form the so-called Arcaders. Teaming them with a weapons specialist (Michelle Monaghan), the President entrusts the future of the world to this motley crew.
Speaking about the film with Entertainment Weekly, which debuted the above image, Columbus, who is still rolling cameras on Pixels, stated:
“I feel very fortunate to be able to do a movie that feels extraordinarily original and unique. It’s a little bit of an homage to Ghostbusters and all those great Amblin movies of the eighties—not only the movies that I was involved in like The Goonies and Gremlins—but the movies I loved when I was working there like Back to the Future.”
As part of paying homage to those types of movies, Pixels will incorporate many iconic video game characters. In the shot above, the Arcaders are on their way to battle Pac-Man. As for what other games viewers can expect to see in the film, Columbus played coy, though Space Invaders and Centipede are safe bets. However, just because the villains are from a time when video game technology was a lot less sophisticated than it is today, that doesn’t mean that Pixels‘ effects will be primitive as well:
“From a visual effects standpoint, audiences are going to be seeing things that they’ve never seen before. To be quite honest, a lot of visual effects movies cover the same territory whether it’s destroying a city or superhero visual effects, they tend to have a certain amount of intense HD reality. [Here] we’re taking classic eight-bit characters and turning them into fully realized, three-dimensional, pixelated characters that are quite threatening.”
Pixels opens May 15th, 2015.