Pixels was one of the movies of summer that my four children (ages 13, 11, 11 and 8) have been waiting to see after being in hysterics every time they saw the previews. My twins were 6 before we even attempted to see a movie in the theatre – since then, we have been frequent attendee’s. There is something about the dark cloak of the theatre that enables them to barely move a muscle during a 2-hour movie; despite being hardly able to sit still for 5 minutes anywhere else.
It opened today and after reading some of the less than stellar reviews, I wasn’t expecting much. However, as is often the case with my kids , it became obvious that my twins were seeing something more during the opening flashback scene where the young Adam Sandler and Kevin James talked about seeing patterns in the retro video games. It highlighted seeing things differently than other people. Following that intro – where it got a little awkward when we were introduced to the present day adults; they continued to follow the progression of the “nerds” saving the planet.
I could understand why there were so many negative reviews such as casting choices; unrealistic scenes beyond the storyline (Josh Gad – the voice of Olaf in Frozen being forefront in several of those) and other inconsistencies. I usually don’t put a lot of faith in reviews when selecting one to take my kids to. The one thing that reviews CANNOT predict, is the value of the movie itself on my children. In the case of Pixels, the value was in the connection of the characters and how they were “different”. They connected to the love of video games and the characters contained therein. They connected to Adam Sandler who they find hilarious from watching Happy Gilmore (and a few other of his less profane movies). They think Kevin James is equally hilarious (yes, I took them to see Mall Cop 2 this year). I am happy to say that the adult situations involving Martha Stewart and Serena Williams, went over their head.
As expected, upon returning home they began researching Pac-Man, Tetris and Donkey Kong. It is likely that this genre will turn into a new special interest to join their other interests. The discussions have begun about (their) “sequel” in which 1990’s games will appear (in particular, Sonic the Hedgehog). . This is one way they process new material – by connecting it to familiar material. It’s also how I can gauge whether it’s a “good” movie for them by the reactions afterward. One movie from last summer that made me understand their way of processing, was Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. They didn’t connect to it and their takeaways were that it was ok to say “suck” a lot and throw trash cans when they are angry.
Pixels had some familiar scenes for me – although trying to explain who Hall and Oates were; and what Fantasy Island was about was interesting. IHowever, anything that generates reciprocal conversation and further exploring, is a yes for this autism family.