Pixels appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The movie offered an excellent visual presentation.
Sharpness worked very well. Any instances of softness remained confined to a handful of interiors and seemed negligible, as overall definition appeared excellent. No signs of jaggies or moiré effects occurred, and I witnessed no edge haloes or print flaws.
In terms of palette, the movie often went with Hollywood Standard Teal and Orange. That said, the video game scenes allowed for a bit more variety, so other colors gave the film life. The tones appeared well-reproduced. Blacks were dark and deep, while shadows looked smooth and clear. The image satisfied.
I also liked the excellent Dolby Atmos soundtrack of Pixels. Because I don’t have an Atmos-equipped system, this played back as a Dolby TrueHD 7.1 mix, and it gave us an exciting presentation.
With so much action on display, the soundscape boasted many opportunities to shine, and it took advantage of them. The flick started a little slowly, but once the video game challenges entered the story, the elements used the various channels in an active, dynamic manner. Add to that nice stereo music and some directional dialogue to end up with an engrossing soundfield.
Audio quality also pleased. Music was peppy and full, while speech seemed natural and concise. Effects appeared dynamic and accurate, with solid low-end response. The soundtrack kicked into high gear often enough to earn an “A-“.
This package includes both 2D and 3D versions of Pixels. The picture quality comments above address the 2D edition, but I also want to talk about the 3D image.
In terms of visual quality, the 3D representation fared pretty well. Like most 3D Blu-rays, it looked a bit darker than the 2D version, but this wasn’t a notable problem. Sharpness was also slightly weaker in wide shots, but again, this didn’t turn into a significant distraction.
The 3D version benefited in the manner it used its potential. With so much action on display, the movie took good advantage of the 3D display and gave us a nice array of eye-popping moments. These didn’t seem gimmicky, but they added real depth to the real-life video game sequences and helped create a fun sense of the material. I thought the movie used 3D in a satisfying manner.
One potential negative about the 3D disc: while the 2D version came with Dolby Atmos audio, the 3D edition went with DTS-HD MA 5.1 instead. That seemed like an unfortunate choice, as folks who invested in Atmos systems should be able to watch the 3D movie with that format available.
When we shift to extras, we find eight featurettes. These include “Pac-Man” (4:32), “Donkey Kong” (4:07), “Centipede” (3:36), “Galaga” (3:33), Dojo Quest” (4:20), “Qbert” (2:32), “God of the Machine” (1:36) and “The Space Invader” (1:40). Across these, we get comments from director Chris Columbus, visual effects supervisors Marten Larsson, Daniel Kramer and Matthew Butler, picture car supervisor Ryan Herem, executive producer Patrick Jean, special effects supervisor Burt Dalton, property master Timothy S. Wiles, costume designer Christine Wada, Pac-Man creator Toru Iwatani, contest winner Carson Jones, producer Allen Covert, and actors Michelle Monaghan, Josh Gad, Adam Sandler, Denis Akiyama, Affion Crockett, Matthew Lintz, Jared Riley and Ashley Benson.
The featurettes look at the movie’s use of the video game characters as well as cast and performances, sets and locations, stunts and action, various effects, and related domains. The programs tend toward technical areas offer decent information, even if they remain brief and somewhat superficial.
A music video (3:59) also appears for “Game On” by Waka Flocka Flame Featuring Good Charlotte. Both the song and the video are terrible – and someone might want to tell Mr. Flame that if he plans to go shirtless in a video, he should work out more. Waka Flabby Flame is more like it – ha!
We also find a Photo Gallery. This presents 41 stills that mostly deliver images from the film. It seems forgettable.
The disc opens with ads for Goosebumps, Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2, Aloha, Hotel Transylvania 2 and Ricki & The Flash. Previews includes the same promos. No trailer for Pixels appears here.
Note that the 3D disc also includes trailers. It gives us promos for The Walk, Hotel Transylvania 2 and Goosebumps. All of these come with 3D imagery.
With a clever concept at work, Pixels looked like it would deliver lively summer entertainment. Instead, it brought us a lackluster action-comedy, one with too many poor choices and too little inspiration. The Blu-ray brings us excellent picture and audio but skimps on supplements. I can’t say I actively dislike Pixels, but it becomes a mediocre disappointment.