Lindsey Bahr
July 18, 2014 AT 04:00 AM EDT

In the high-concept sci-fi action comedy Pixels, aliens misinterpret satellite feeds of classic arcade videogames such as Space Invaders and Centipede as a declaration of war and launch an attack on Earth using the same eight-bit characters and strategies. So who you gonna call when Pac-Man tries to invade New York City? No, not the Ghostbusters. Instead, the U.S. president (Kevin James) recruits a group of washed-up misfits who were arcade prodigies way back in 1982. The would-be saviors of the planet include a TV mechanic (Adam Sandler), a felon (Peter Dinklage), and a conspiracy theorist (Frozen‘s Josh Gad).

The so-called Arcaders team up with a more up-to-date weapons expert (True Detective‘s Michelle Monaghan) to face a threat that is far more menacing than you might imagine. ”From a visual-effects standpoint, audiences are going to be seeing things that they’ve never seen before,” promises director Chris Columbus (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone). ”We’re taking classic eight-bit characters and turning them into fully realized, three-dimensional, pixelated characters that are quite threatening.” Didn’t you always wonder what Ms. Pac-Man was packing under that little red bow?

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