Ratchet & Clank Review

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With Angry Birds The MovieWarcraft, and Assassin’s Creed coming to theaters later this year, most forgot that Ratchet & Clank was coming out this year too. It makes sense as Ratchet & Clank doesn’t have the same allure as Warcraft or Assassin’s Creed or the mega-popularity of Angry Birds. However, Ratchet & Clank has plenty going for it since the video game’s cartoony look translates well into a cartoon. But video game adaptations doesn’t really have the greatest track record when it comes to the quality of the film itself. Since Ratchet & Clank has the great formula for a children’s film, it has to break the trend of bad video game films, right?

Unfortunately, Ratchet & Clank does continue the trend of lackluster video games. It’s a film that’s chock full of juvenile jokes/puns and sci-fi action. Adults may enjoy the film with a few of the gags involved, but Ratchet and Clank is a film that’s primarily catered to kids and fans of the game.

Ratchet & Clank follows Ratchet, a foolhardy lombax, and Clank, a brainy pint-sized robot, who must join forces with the intergalactic peace-keeping force known as the Galactic Rangers after discovering a weapon that can destroy entire planets. Together, they must stop the evil alien Chairman Drek from utilizing this dangerous technology.

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There’s some charm to Ratchet & Clank. The film, like the video game, is full of ridiculousness. The gags are hit or miss, but they come in at an energetic pace. In addition, there are a lot of sarcastic and self-referential jokes scattered in there for the adults. But the jokes can only carry the film for so long. After a while, the narrative descends into predictable territory as Ratchet & Clank is highly inspired by Star Wars — all the way down to the Death Star itself. For something that is supposed to be an extended retelling of the original PlayStation 2 game, the film feels a bit generic and underdeveloped.

Just like the gags, the animation is a mixed bag. Because the film references assets from the video game, a good amount of scenes were all animated beautifully. However, one can tell that some scenes don’t get the same care since the animation looks pretty bland and lacks the refinement of a Pixar or DreamWorks animated film.

James Arnold Taylor and David Kaye have been doing the voices of Ratchet and Clank, respectively, for more than a decade now. That long familiarity with the characters definitely shows as every slight emotional nuance can be heard in the voice acting. Also, the same thing can be said for Jim Ward, the voice of Captain Qwark. Like Taylor and Kaye, he’s been voicing Qwark for as long as the series has been out. As with the other installments, Ward does his best Zapp Brannigan impersonation and hams it up big time; he’s always a scene stealer. Be warned that there is a lot of Qwark in the film, so if the loud and stupid persona isn’t your cup of tea then prepare for a long film.

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The rest of the voice cast houses plenty of Hollywood’s heavy-hitters including Rosario Dawson, Paul Giamatti, John Goodman, Sylvester Stallone, and Bella Thorne. Unfortunately, everyone’s talents are needlessly squandered away. Goodman, Thorne, and Dawson have such minor parts in the film that their characters doesn’t have much of an impact in the film. Dawson does have a lot of fun in her role, though. Stallone could’ve stolen the show as Giamatti’s robotic lieutenant, but his role in the film is minor as well. Whenever Stallone’s character is on screen, it’s always a treat to watch. Paul Giamatti’s Chairman Drek is a static villain that never really used as anything else but a tool to progress the story.

Overall, Ratchet & Clank is a colorful but uninspired film. We, adults, can criticize the film all we want, but realize that it’s first and foremost a film for children. It was never made to appease a casual moviegoer over the age of 13, but to a very niche crowd. But there isn’t enough wit or invention to entice young teens, let alone generate enough word-of-mouth from those adults who grew up on the game.

Rating: 2.5/5
NR 2_5 Atoms - C-

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Mark Pacis
Mark Pacis 1442 posts

Self-proclaimed "Human IMDb" and comic book geek. Biggest Iron Man fan you'll probably ever meet.