Pixel Perfect

Movie review by
Tom Cassidy, Common Sense Media
Pixel Perfect Movie Poster Image
Disney hologram movie is mean-spirited and judgmental.
  • NR
  • 2004
  • 85 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Messages of being yourself are present but are inconsistent. The rights for artificial intelligence entities are explored. A character romantically pursues another despite that person's mean behavior. A teenager is told they are overweight when they are in fact perfectly healthy.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Roscoe invents a "perfect" holographic singer to replace his friend in her band and frequently acts in a selfish and controlling way. Sidelined singer Sam is regularly upset by Roscoe's behavior but still romantically pursues him. A club owner judges Sam negatively for being herself. Roscoe's distant and work-obsessed father eventually bonds with him.

Violence

Some shoving and a threat of "smacking" someone. A character is hospitalized with a brain injury after falling off a stage.

Sex

Some kissing between teens. Characters date and flirt.

Language

One use of "butt." Some mean dialogue including a character being told they are "overweight."

Consumerism

Teen's bedroom is covered in posters of singer Avril Lavigne and her music is included in the soundtrack.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Pixel Perfect is a live-action Disney TV movie about a teenage boy, Roscoe (Raviv Ullman) who creates a "perfect" hologram to replace his friend as the singer of her band. The movie addresses the issues of being true to yourself and emotional rights for artificial intelligence but is inconsistent in its messaging. Roscoe is controlling, manipulative, and insensitive until a change of heart that comes out of nowhere. Young singer-songwriter Sam (Leah Pipes) is in love with Roscoe and continues to pursue him even after she finds out he screens her calls and rejected her body image while making the hologram. Sam later falls off a stage and ends up in a coma -- she makes a quick and full recovery. There is some flirting and kissing between the teenage characters but it's all relatively innocent. The hologram, Loretta Modern (Spencer Redford) calls the slim Sam "overweight." A club owner running a music competition harshly judges the talented Sam for being herself. 

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What's the story?

In PIXEL PERFECT, teenager Roscoe (Raviv Ullman) invents a hologram, Loretta Modern (Spencer Redford) to front his friend Sam's (Leah Pipes) band. But as the band becomes more successful, Sam begins to feel increasingly left out.

Is it any good?

Disney's 2004 movie has some fun musical moments and captures the basement band to stardom path well, but these are undermined by its muddled messages. It bumbles towards being a satire of the early 2000s manufactured pop scene, but unlike Josie and the Pussycats from three years before, Pixel Perfect has no affection for its characters other than the near-sociopathic Roscoe. Pipes successfully wrings the best she can out of the badly written Sam, who has to step aside in her own band to make way for the high-kicking hologram Loretta Modern. So much of Roscoe's controlling behavior is brushed over, including a segment in which Sam finds out he screens her calls. It's hard to move along with the story when these issues need to be addressed.

Director Mark A.Z. Dippé comes from a visual effects background and Pixel Perfect was clearly a vehicle for him to showcase his skills. The holographic effects and extended cyberspace sequences are where the movie feels most alive. The film wraps up with the right messages, but all changes of heart come out of the blue, with no pay-off earned. Despite the cheery Avril Lavigne pop-punk tunes and attempt at a happy ending, the takeaway tone is a nasty niggling feeling of discomfort.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the idea of perfection presented in Pixel Perfect. Roscoe creates Loretta out of images in magazine advertisements -- are these realistic ideals to aspire to? Can any one thing be perfect? Discuss the idea of something or someone being perfect to one person but not another.

  • Discuss the character of Roscoe. Did you like him? How did he control people around him? How would you have responded to Roscoe if he had treated you the way he treated Sam?

  • Some characters think Loretta's feelings need to be considered while others see her as just an object. Do you think artificial intelligence needs to be treated kindly?

  • What do you think are the overall messages from the movie?

Movie details

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