Not only did 2016 see Ratchet and Clank make their current-gen debut, the review of which you can find in a previous post, it also saw the release of the movie too. Below is the review of that very film I did after I came out of the cinema happier than when I get given free ice-cream, and that’s very happy indeed.
Videogame movies often cause a divide amongst movie goers and fans of the videogame series in question. Some leave a bad taste in the mouth, with fans feeling their beloved characters didn’t get the silver-screen justice they deserved, whilst other films are a pleasant treat to both hardcore fans and casual movie goers alike. Thankfully Ratchet and Clank falls in to the latter half of these two categories.
Ratchet and Clank sees Insomniac giving us a movie that ties in with the videogame of the same name, based upon the original 2002 game. Whereas the game is a slightly biased retelling of events from Captain Qwark, the film shows audiences the events as they actually happened.
The plot sees Ratchet (James Arnold Taylor) and Clank (David Kaye) who, with the help of the Galactic Rangers, must put an end to Chairmen Drek’s (Paul Giamatti) dastardly plan to destroy planets and take fragments from each to build a new home world for his fellow Blarg. The plot is sadly the films biggest downfall, Drek’s plan, which is essentially mass genocide on multiple counts, never seems justified in the slightest. Not that mass genocide ever really seems justified, but you get the point. Drek’s reasoning being that his people have had to live underground on a polluted planet that he has seen fit to up and leave, in favour of genocide, to build a new one with the help of his Deplanitiser, created by the maniacal Dr Nefarious (Armin Shimerman).
Dr Nefarious is a character you’re not meant to root for, but his whole mad scientist act sees him as the stand out villain in the film, with Drek seemingly rather two dimensional and his lieutenant Victor Von Ion (Sylvester Stallone) just the muscle. Dr Nefarious really carries the antagonist team and despite this being a film aimed at kids, his ulterior and secret motives are far darker than a younger audience member may twig on to.
Of course, what’s a villain without the heroes? This is where Ratchet, Clank and the Galactic Rangers come in to play and show that, whilst the plot is nothing special, the humour and character dynamic that fans of the games have grown to love, blossoms within the film too. Ratchet and Clank soon form a close bond that looks set to grow in complexity over the inevitable sequels. Ratchet has a childish innocence about him but also a level of maturity and deep concern for the safety of others, whilst Clank provides the analytical reasoning to everything; slowly becoming more empathetic as he learns the ways of his non-robotic allies.
After both successfully join the Galactic Rangers we are introduced to the rest of the gang. Captain Qwark (Jim Ward) is as much of a bumbling idiot as he is in the videogames, often using false bravado to seem macho whilst ultimately being the biggest coward of the group, whilst the three new Galactic Rangers; Brax (Vincent Tong), Cora (Bella Thorne) and Elaris (Rosario Dawson), each provide their own personality that adds dynamic to the cast. Brax is your typical, shoot first think later grunt but with a big heart, Elaris is the enthusiastic science wizz and Cora is the seasoned baddass who doesn’t take no for an answer.
Throwing the Galactic Rangers in to the melting pot with Ratchet and Clank adds humour to the film that would otherwise be lacking and the relationships between the group that develops over the course of the film feels organic and only heightens your sense of likability towards them. The visual style of the film itself is close to the animation perfection of a Pixar film and really helps brings every detail on the characters faces to life with eerily realistic quality.
Scores on the virtual doors for Ratchet and Clank?
8/10- Despite the mixed humour, which is kid friendly but fitting to the target audience, and the rather lackluster plot, the characters of the film are faithful to what an old school fan, such as myself, wanted to see. Throw in the teases of weapons from the Ratchet and Clank universe, of which the film only scratches the surface of, and the various fan pleasing references and nods to the Ratchet and Clank lore and this film is worthy of the R&C mantle. Both fans of old and newcomers alike can certainly get a kick out of seeing such a visually gorgeous film that’s both lighthearted and refreshing in its style; if you get the chance to pick up the game as well the pair truly go hand in hand.