Musical Score Composed By: Henry Jackman

Distributed by: Varese Sarabande Records

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


                In Pixels, Sam Brenner (Adam Sandler), Will Cooper (Kevin James), Ludlow Lamonsoff (Josh Gad) and Eddie "The Fire Blaster" Plant (Peter Dinklage) are 1980s arcade heroes all grown up.  The pals have gone their separate ways, but one event serves to bring them back together - an attack by intergalactic aliens.  Having discovered video feeds of classic arcade games and misinterpreting them as a declaration of war, the aliens attack Earth, using the video games as models for their attack force.  Can these once video game gurus, joined with the best the military has to offer, save the world?

                The musical score of Pixels was created by British composer Henry Jackman whose musical career began quite early - his first symphony was composed at the age of six.  Becoming involved in the underground rave scene, Jackman cultivated a love for electronic music and began using it to create unique film compositions.  Jackman has created a number of musical scores for film, including Monsters vs. Aliens, X-Men: First Class, Puss in Boots, Wreck-It Ralph, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Captain Phillips, Big Hero 6 and more.

                Based on the premise of the movie, I expected a movie score containing 8 and 16-bit music mixes.  After all, the main characters find themselves fighting 8 and 16-bit creations, including Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, Centipede, Space Invaders and more.  What I heard on the Pixels Soundtrack was more of a superhero score, complete with horn fanfare and percussion.  The only track that gave me any indication that this was a movie about arcade heroes battling arcade-based real monsters was the last one on the album.  Arcaders has a distinct electronic quality, fast-paced and filled with electronic and electric sound.

                I was surprised when I read all of the poor reviews for Pixels, but was prepared to hear a terrific musical score despite the bad press.  The Pixels Soundtrack was excellent in its own right, but I felt it was more suited for a Justice League animated film than for this type of film.  I expected quite a different score than the one I received and, though it was a great score, I still walked away disappointed.  As a stand alone album, the music is fun and exciting, but for a film of this quality, I feel a bit let down.


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