Movie Review: Ratchet and Clank

So, I went to see Ratchet and Clank: The Movie, which is the movie based on a game that just released a game based on the movie which is based on a game. If that didn’t make your head hurt, then you have what it takes to be a Galactic Ranger! Sorry.. movie propaganda still floating through my head.

Ratchet and Clank retells the story about how a Lombax mechanic meets his destined partner Clank, and their journey to stop Dr. Nefarious from wiping out the entire Galaxy. If you’ve played the new game, like I have, then the movie’s story, plot twists and conclusion are already known to you. The movie tends to clean up and streamline a few things, like the training camp segment and how Ratchet is able to carry a whole arsenal with him, which is kind of cleverly conceptualized here.

The series is known for its killer weaponry and the movie has a few flashy moments to show off the gear, but never really nails it. A few weapons get their screen time, but a huge problem I had was that the Omni Wrench, Ratchet’s own weapon, was used maybe once. I also found it odd that the movie didn’t once use the mag boots or have Ratchet grinding rails, and the resolution between Ratchet and Nefarious just didn’t sit right with me, it was too easy and not as impactful as the boss battle you have with him in the game.

A few familiar voices are injected into this movie with a few not really working for me. John Goodman plays Ratchet’s boss Grimroth and felt sort of out of place here. Rosario Dawson is Elaris and I really enjoyed her character. Ratchet, Clank and Qwark are voiced by James Arnold Taylor, David Kaye and Jim Ward respectively, which thankfully are the voices from the game, which is something I am glad they didn’t change for the sake of making it more ‘Hollywood’. Paul Giamatti is Chairman Drek and is ok here in his role, but didn’t win me over.

While not on the same level of Pixar or Dreamworks, Ratchet and Clank is a mostly gorgeous film. Ratchet looks great, with fantastic detail to his fur and then everyone else just looks ok. A few of the characters, mostly the evil side’s grunts, look plain and not nearly as detailed as our Lombax friend. The environments in the film are basic to mostly not there. I can’t honestly think of one area of the film that wowed me over.

Another component of the film that I found lacking was the use of Clank. I felt that they didn’t really do too much with him. There are some great moments sure, but overall I found long segments of the film where he was just underutilized or absent. For a movie called Ratchet and Clank, it definitely didn’t do that little defect robot justice.

The film also tends to speed through its plot at an incredibly fast pace, not giving it much time to breathe. It could be the script, or maybe the director, but the movies’ pacing is bizarre. I also found that each time the movie has a joke or a visual gag it feels the need to have a backup joke at the ready, in which much of the films humor just doesn’t land.

Overall, Ratchet and Clank is frankly a movie that didn’t really need to be made. The game series has always survived on its remarkable environments, killer weaponry, and the believable relationship of its two main leads, and sadly, the film struggles with each of these concepts. As a movie tie in to a solid game, I can see the movie getting people interested into playing the game, which may be its overall goal, but as a series known for its stellar quality and history of excellent game design and character moments, the movie just doesn’t live up to the pedigree of Insomniac’s gaming franchise.

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