“it’s the world of grem­lins and the goonies ”

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Pixels -

dan­ger­ous, edgy, kind of love­able ver­sions of these game char­ac­ters,” Colum­bus says. “When my wife and I were dat­ing in the ’ 80s, we played Pac­Man and Don­key Kong at bars. I didn’t play the up­right ar­cade games, I played the table­top games. So I knew those pretty well but I had to go back and re­visit things like Centipede and Galaga and Break­out and Q* bert. Those games I had to re­learn – which was great. I’d rather be re­search­ing videogames than Win­ston Churchill!”

Colum­bus also cites the prospect of do­ing some­thing new vis­ually as a big draw. “I watched the short and thought, ‘ I’ve never seen spe­cial ef­fects like that.’ I hired my vis­ual ef­fects ad­vi­sor, Matthew But­ler af­ter he cre­ated this short video of a gi­ant Pac- Man eat­ing through a school bus. What I was in­trigued by was when Pac- Man ate through it, the school bus it­self would be vox­elised, and ev­ery­thing that came in con­tact with Pac- Man had this odd cube- like qual­ity. In other words, it wasn’t your nor­mal sum­mer movie de­struc­tion. I thought, ‘ You re­ally will be able to do some­thing that just freaks out the au­di­ence.’

“I also liked the con­cept of see­ing these kids, these four videogame cham­pi­ons who were at the top of the world in 1982, when they’ve grown up. One grows up to be Pres­i­dent, but he’s the worst at videogames. The other kids, their lives are in tur­moil. They’ve grown up to be losers.” Those losers are led by San­dler’s Sam Bren­ner – Pac- Man World Cham­pion 1982; Mi­crowave Din­ner World Cham­pion 2015. Af­ter the aliens in­vade, the mil­i­tary find them­selves hope­lessly out­matched and un­able to adapt to the in­vaders’ fast- paced, game- mim­ick­ing at­tack pat­terns. Bren­ner and his nim­blefin­gered child­hood ac­quain­tances are brought in and out­fit­ted as the Ar­caders to em­ploy the skills that saw them top High Score boards 30 years ear­lier. Also part of the Ar­cader line- up are Bren­ner’s neme­sis Ed­die Plant ( Din­klage), con­spir­acy the­o­rist Lud­low La­mon­soff ( Josh Gad), Pres­i­dent of the United States Will Cooper ( Kevin James) and Michelle Mon­aghan’s DARPA weapon spe­cial­ist Vi­o­let Van Pat­ten, who de­vel­ops can­nons ca­pa­ble of de­stroy­ing the light- based en­ti­ties. Once again the ac­tion hinges on an event in 1982.

“Back in 1982, which is where we start the film, Sam and Ed­die com­peted in the fi­nal of the World Videogame Cham­pi­onship play­ing Don­key Kong,” Colum­bus ex­plains. “The out­come of that par­tic­u­lar event wasn’t a good ex­pe­ri­ence for Sam. So Sam’s re­ally dis­liked and has an in­tense dis­like for Ed­die, which he’s held onto for all these years. So when they’re back to­gether, there’s a good deal of con­flict and anger and an­tag­o­nism.”

It’s no co­in­ci­dence that the pair com­pete over Nintendo’s beloved bar­rel- jump­ing ar­cade game with the ego­tis­ti­cal, mul­let­sport­ing Ed­die bear­ing a strik­ing re­sem­blance to 2007 doc­u­men­tary The King Of Kong’s Billy Mitchell. “It’s un­like any other per­for­mance by any­one I’ve ever seen,” Colum­bus en­thuses. “It’s just a joy to watch on screen, be­cause he takes this role to some crazy places. He’s been in prison for nine years at the start of the movie and he has some unique prison-

The at­tack­ing aliens are ac­tu­ally com­posed of vox­els, not pix­els… Will Q* bert out- act Adam San­dler?

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