Ratchet and Clank The Movie
Runtime: 94 minutes
Release date: April 29, 2016
Budget: $20 million
Ratchet is the last of his kind, a foolhardy lombax who grew up without a family. Clank is a pint-sized robot with more brains than brawn. After stumbling upon a weapon that can destroy entire planets, they join forces with a team of do-gooders known as the Galactic Rangers. Together, they must stop the evil alien Chairman Drek from utilizing this dangerous technology. Along the way, Ratchet and Clank learn valuable lessons about heroism, friendship and discovering one’s own identity.
It’s no secret that I’m not a huge gamer. Of course there are a few games with which I am an avid fan of (mostly Uncharted), but for the most part I like to spend my time doing other things. When I was younger I liked to play video games (as much as the next kid), but it was my brother who was a big fan of games. Due to my brother and his taste for video games, I had actually heard of Ratchet and Clank before the release of this movie. I didn’t know the details but I did know the game.
When I first saw the trailer for the movie I was a bit surprised that they were making a movie from the video game. I mean video game adaptions to the big screen have, for the most part, been downright terrible. Complete disasters. I guess it’s just hard to capture a 10 hour game onto the 2 hour constraints of the big screen. Still, this movie caught my passing interest and I kept an eye on it as it got closer to release date. I was mostly interested to see how it was going to do in the box-office and with the fans. When it did come out I was disappointed that this movie got really bad reviews and totally bombed at the box-office. It didn’t even last a month in the regular theaters before it was moved to the cheap theaters. I was surprised by how badly it did. When it first came out I read a review on ign.com about it and the review said (paraphrasing) that although this movie wasn’t super exciting or memorable it wasn’t bad, per say. The main point that this reviewer was getting at was that the movie was underwhelming when comparing it to the games, which in all honesty, was to be expected. Nonetheless, regardless of all the bad reviews I still wanted to see it so I could judge it for myself. I went into the movie not really knowing what it was going to be about, but I did think that it was going to be a prequel to the game series. It was only after I watched the movie that my brother informed me that it was a retelling of the first game.
Ratchet and Clank Trailer
Before I get to my opinion of the movie I want to say that people were really hard on the movie and I knew that going in. To be honest, I’m one of those people that roots for the underdogs and that probably is why when I went into the movie I unconsciously picked out all the things I did like rather than the things I didn’t. And due to that fact, I probably am viewing this movie in a completely different mind set than other people. Instead of going in expecting to be wowed, I’m going in expecting it to be so bad I’m going to start booing at the screen. So when the scenes come on, instead of thinking, “That was lame” I think “It wasn’t that bad.” Regardless, I wanted to point out that I am vaguely aware that I don’t view all movies in the same mindset. For example, if Disney was the one that produced this I probably would start booing at the screen.
Now to get to my actual opinion of the movie: I rather enjoyed it. It wasn’t the best movie I’ve seen by a long shot, but I thought it was worth seeing. I enjoyed the characters (mostly just Ratchet and Clank) and I thought there were some really funny scenes. Not all the scenes were funny though. Which brings my to my first point: the humor. I felt that some of the scenes were trying too hard to be funny and of course, some of the humor was clearly only intended for 8 year olds in the theater. There were two or three funny quips that even us adults could enjoy, which I was thankful for, but neither the story nor the humor could be considered as appealing to all types of audiences. That being said, sometimes when I watch a kids movie I don’t need it to have all sorts of depth or be filled with laugh out load jokes. As long as it’s not potty humor (which I absolutely loathe), I can still chuckle at totally lame jokes. So honestly, the kid-centralized humor didn’t really bother me, in fact I rather enjoyed it.
For a budget of $20 million (says wikipedia) I would say that the movie looks very good. The backgrounds were all pretty standard stuff, but I thought the characters were very well designed and executed. For a such a low budget (I’m used to seeing animated movie with budgets in the 3 digits), I thought it turned out nice looking. The action scenes were very smooth as were the characters movements. Also, the voice acting was done really well. The producers definitely did themselves a favor by keeping the video game voices for the movie instead of getting Brad Pitt to voice Ratchet or something.
I would say that this movie suffers from a character overload. For a 94 minute movie, there were just too many characters with not enough character development. First off, there are 4 galactic rangers who don’t look anything like the galactic rangers from the games. Why are there four rangers in the movie? I have no idea. They weren’t given any backstories nor were instrumental to the plot. In fact, aside from the fact that two of them were solemn, trigger happy warriors and the other was a hyperactive nerd they had no personalities whatsoever. Personally, I think they should’ve been cut from the movie. It would have given Ratchet and Clank more screen time as well as leave some time to further develop Captain Qwark. For me, Qwark was sort of an enigma in all of this. His character arc was honestly a bit lame. He’s an egomaniac who doesn’t know how to share the limelight as well as a complete moron. He aligns himself with the bad guys due to his jealousy toward Ratchet, but the writers try to still make him look sympathetic by having him still show concern toward his previous teammates while he’s working for the bad guys. Because of that, when the redemption scene came at the end of the movie it felt completely pointless and anti-climactic.
In addition to the fact that there were a lot of heroes in the movie, there were also a lot of bad guys. There was Captain Qwark, Chairman Drek, Victor Von Ion, and Doctor Nefarious. Because there were so many bad guys none of them really got the attention they deserved. Each of the bad guys gets like one sentence explaining their reasons behind their evil plots. I’m pretty sure that the only reason Doctor Nefarious shows up is because he is the most recurring antagonist in the game series and the writers wanted to try to maximize audience appeal; he could have easily been cut.
My last comment on the cast of characters will be about Ratchet and Clank. The biggest thing I think this movie lacked was a relationship between Ratchet and Clank. When I see these types of movies I always feel that the two main characters should be absolutely the best friends ever. For most of the movie, Ratchet and Clank are actually separated from one another; Ratchet would be out in the field infiltrating the enemy base while Clank would be on the ship monitoring their progress. I really wanted there to be more Ratchet and Clank tag team action, you know, them working together and beating all odds! There friendship was nice and I do think that Ratchet was closest to Clank out of all the Galactic Rangers, but I think there could have been more there. If the writers had cut out the other 3 Galactic Rangers (who I can’t even remember the names of) along with Doctor Nefarious, then I think more proper attention could have been given to Ratchet, Clank, and Captain Qwark.
Overall, I can see why people would be so hard on this film especially if they are fans of the original games, but I thought that this movie wasn’t bad. It’s definitely geared toward a younger audience, but I was still able to find enjoyment in it. I went to see this movie at the cheap theater because I had nothing better to do that day so my ticket was only $2. For $2 I thought this definitely was worth watching, but I’m not sure I would spend $10 on a full priced movie ticket for it. It was a nice family friendly film with some humorous scenes that I recommend to watch with little ones. If you don’t have kids, and you don’t normally enjoy watching movies intended for kids (and only kids), this probably isn’t a movie for you to see.
NOTE: What truly irks me is that Ratchet and Clank couldn’t make back it’s budget, but Norm of the North did. There is no justice in this world.