Ratchet & Clank (2016)
"Ratchet & Clank" stars James Arnold Taylor, David Kaye, Jim Ward, Paul Giamatti, John Goodman, Bella Thorne, Rosario Dawson, and Sylvester Stallone. Released on April 29, 2016, the film is about a Lombax and his robot companion who must team up with the Galactic Rangers to save the galaxy from an evil alien leader.
The film is directed by Jericca Cleland and Kevin Munroe. Munroe is known for directing TMNT and Dylan Dog: Dead of Night, and serving as a storyboard artist for Hey Arnold!. It is based on the video game series of the same name for the PlayStation. I'm pretty familiar with the source material, which started back in 2002, but I haven't gotten a chance to play any of them except Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One for the Playstation 3. Video game to film adaptations have proven to be quite a challenge over the years in terms of fan and critical receptions. There are those that weren't that good and those that sunk down to the bottom of the well. 2016 is not only filled with superhero films and sequels, but also a few film adaptations of popular video games that may have a chance to redeem this troublesome genre. So, without further ado, let's see if this film has what it takes to turn this mess around.
Insomniac Games, who worked on the Ratchet & Clank games, were involved with the film and they did a fine job at respecting their own source material, including the characters. The story is a proper retelling of the first Ratchet & Clank game, which was released back in 2002 for the Playstation 2, while also incorporating some plot details from the later games, such as the Galactic Rangers. It's basically a simple storyline with a few cliches, but it does have its enjoyable moments and it has a respectable lesson about heroism. It's something for the little kids to learn while they get invested in the adventure and isn't that what really matters in family films? Sure, it's not in the same level as Disney and Pixar, but that doesn't stop it from being a fun ride. James Arnold Taylor and David Kaye did a pretty good job with their roles as the title characters. The chemistry between them was impressive and sometimes funny, although I would like it better if the film had more room to further develop their relationship. Of course, like many other video game to film adaptations, they brought in some big name celebrities to voice the other characters, such as Paul Giamatti as Chairman Drek, who was voiced by Kevin Michael Richardson in the first game. At first, Giamatti was an unusual choice to voice the villain, but in the end, I thought he was all right. But the oddest casting choice of them all, in my opinion, has to be Sylvester Stallone as Drek's robotic lieutenant, Victor Von Ion. Yes, Stallone, the action icon/Oscar nominated actor, is in a Ratchet & Clank movie. For the most part, he fit the role pretty darn well. He was menacing, but also funny during certain parts. Jim Ward was also quite good as Captain Qwark, the leader of the Galactic Rangers. He was a jerk, but he's a funny kind of jerk. I would also give the filmmakers credit for the animation. For an animated film that's not Disney, Pixar, nor Dreamworks, the animation was actually quite good. It clearly resembles the style of the video game series, most notably the reboot game for the Playstation 4. There were times where some of the humor can come off as silly or awkward, but other than that, it'll surely make the young kids and their parents laugh.
Overall, with its solid use of animation, likable characters, and an enjoyable, yet predictable and cliched, story, "Ratchet & Clank" is the type of film that will certainly please fans of the source material while also being a fun ride for the little ones. It's not as great as the other animated films that were made by Disney and Pixar, but I was quite impressed on how it turns out. If you're a fan of the Ratchet & Clank games or are in a mood for a safe animated film to watch with the kids, it's worth a watch. Not a bad start, if I do say so myself.
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