By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)
Movies based on video games are often a hit and miss affair with the masses. Not everyone will have played it. Very few end up as spectacular. Try as many studios might for a memorable blockbuster, most end up as a so bad it’s good category. Not many end up with sequels. Resident Evil, Tomb Raider and Silent Hill are the only exceptions to this list. Maybe the problem lies in who these films are intended for. The latest entry, Ratchet and Clank, is definitely aimed at the kids.
This tale comes complete with the obligatory lessons for youths to take home. This film shows how Ratchet (James Arnold Taylor) should never give up on his dream of being part of the Galactic Rangers. When the anthropomorphic world is filled with critters trying to make a difference in a dog eat dog world of humans glory hounding victories, just how this garage mechanic is going to become a soldier is going to be tough. He has to convince the egotistical Captain Qwark (Jim Ward) to let him join. From here, I thought I was watching Disney Afternoon’s Buzz Lightyear of Star Command. This cartoon was developed in 2000 and the game did not emerge till 2002. For instance, Mira wanted to be part of the galactic police force, but many people (Buzz and her royal parents) were hesitant. While the short robot X-R and Clank (David Kaye) are different personalities, both fill a very similar role. A part of what I loved in this series is in how a brotherhood of trust is developed, and this film moves in a very similar flow. A part of the plot that’s enjoyable is in how Ratchet wants to see the good in everyone, including those who have seemingly chosen to sell out.
On the criminal front, Although Zurg and Drek are distinct, they both share dreams of galactic conquest. I spent half the movie waiting for the LGMs to emerge. To round out this group, Victor Von Ion (brilliantly played by Sylvester Stallone) functions as the robotic right-hand man, commanding legions of soldiers, and Doctor Nefarious (Armin Shimerman is clearly having fun behind the microphone) is chief mad scientist serving Drek. I really liked these supporting characters more than rooting for the good guys. Sadly, there was no development to make Qwark’s team (Clora and Brax) interesting. I wanted to know more about them. They hardly helped move the story along.
This film is made for fans of the video game. I played the early games and was dismayed that this film is just a retelling of the game instead of a new product. When I realised this, I thought this movie is better off as a direct to video release for a new Ratchet and Clank Chronicles package. Playstation owners can play one of the many sequels after watching the movie. This collection is available as a purely gaming product on Amazon and the movie might get included in a repackaging of the games after this film leaves theatres. However, after seeing this movie, I’m not motivated to play the platformer again. It’s fun for those wanting an introduction to the games, but not every platformer is worth its weight in gold.
3 Stars out of 5