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Ratchet & Clank Review

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2016 promises to be the year where video game adaptions might turn a corner, with Warcraft, Assassin’s Creed, and maybe even Angry Birds promising to undo the untold years of damage done by lacklustre movies based on previously pixelated properties. Before those though, we get the animated Ratchet & Clank, based on the delightful Playstation platformer/shoot ‘em up that first came our way in 2002, which attempts to kick off this particular revolution.


For the uninitiated, Lombax Ratchet (James Arnold Taylor) and robot Clank (David Kaye) are a pair of galaxy spanning adventurers, and their first big screen adventures goes back to the beginning and re-imagines the events of the first game as the pair meet for the first time, after Clank escapes the death factory of the evil Chairman Drek (Paul Giamatti) with knowledge of the villain’s nefarious plans for the galaxy. Been a problem too big for them to deal with, they seek the help of the Galactic Rangers, led by the egotistical Captain Quark (Jim Ward), setting the stage for adventure.

So does Ratchet & Clank throw off the problems that have plagued previous video game adaptions? Well, yes and no. This is clearly a movie aimed at children, but it’s real target audience, those who grew up with the game since its inception, are well catered for. While the main selling point of the games, an ever expanding array of insane weapons, isn’t really exploited as much as it could be, enough elements (including the look of movie) are incorporated into proceedings to keep fans happy, and it successfully plays to both sides of the audience with enough jokes here for adults to chuckle away at. Hell, even if you’re just a movie fan, you’ll get a kick out of all the references, from Aliens to Ferris Bueller’s Day Off to the Wilhelm Scream. But it never really finds this sweet spot when it comes to the story. Chock full of cliches and well worn tropes, the narrative just sort of trips from one scene to another, and the minute the plot kicks into high gear, it starts to become a mess to keep track of, with the second being incredibly uneven.

It’s also just a bit too safe, never aiming above standard kiddie fare. But despite all these problems, there is still an overwhelming charm to it. Some of that is the aforementioned humour, but the lions share belongs to the superb voice cast. The holdovers from the game, Arnold Taylor, Kaye, and Ward, slip into their roles effortlessly, with Ward’s Captain Quark (think a kid friendly version of Futurama’s Zap Brannigan) knocking it out of the park on more than one occasion. They are given able support from the likes of Giamatti, John Goodman, Rosario Dawson, and Sylvester Stallone, but the show really belongs to the old guard.


The video game adaption revolution we’ve being promised was never going to happen overnight, and, despite it’s problems, Ratchet & Clank is a step in the right direction. Fun and charming, this will put a smile on the faces of children and adults alike.






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The Movie Bit: Ratchet & Clank Review
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