Review: Ratchet & Clank

Three years after it was first announced via a fantastic video on PlayStation’s YouTube channel (and a year later than originally intended) Ratchet & Clank has finally made its way to theatres, and it is totally worth the wait.

Director: Kevin Munroe, Jericca Cleland
Exhibition: 2D
Rating: U
Run Time: 94 mins

BRB-Score-4

Although not quite on par with the likes of super studios such as Disney and Pixar, Rainmaker Entertainment (along with every other production company who worked on it, and there are a lot) have done a fantastic job of bringing one of PlayStation’s best franchises to life on the big screen.

The story is a fun re-imagining of the 2002 debut game of the same name, re-jigging the origin story of the titular heroes and adding elements and characters (including my personal favourite super villain of all time, Dr Nefarious) from latter games in a way that feels organic, and had me questioning if they hadn’t actually already been there in the first place.

Also it has a new game based on it, also called Ratchet & Clank, but I haven’t played it so have no point of reference and will not be mentioning it again.

01

Ratchet is a Lombax, the only one of his kind, and something of a mechanic, who dreams of one day becoming a Galactic Ranger, a super group of heroes sworn to protect the galaxy, led by Captain Qwark, an insufferable narcissist Buzz Lightyear-like A hole… I mean hero. He’s a real hero.

After being laughed out of his Galactic Ranger audition, Ratchet meets Clank, a defective robot who has escaped from Chairmen Drek, and is on a mission to warn the Galactic Rangers of Drek’s impending (and planet destroying) threat. Chairman Drek, you see, wants to build his own planet, so, with the help of the amazing Dr Nefarious, is destroying “uninhabited” planets and using the pieces to create his own.

The two quickly become friends and embark on an adventure spanning an entire galaxy, meeting new characters and seeing new worlds as they go. The story is simple and engaging, mirroring elements of movies like Star Wars: A New Hope, in such a way that it feels instantly familiar and completely new at the same time. Kind of like Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

02

There are twists and turns and plenty of jokes to keep viewers of all ages entertained too, so you can totally use your kids as an excuse to go and see it.

A stand out moment for me has to be the greatest use of the Wilhelm scream I’ve ever seen in a movie. I was laughing for a good five minutes after the fact, and still, almost a week later, find myself smiling whenever I think of it.

A huge part of my love of the franchise comes from the incredibly well written humour, and I’m happy to report that the same level of humour and polish is present in the movie. A combination of great script and excellent voice work had me laughing from start to finish.

03

Fans of the games will be happy to know James Arnold Taylor and David Kaye reprise their roles as Ratchet and Clank respectively, and are joined by a stellar cast including Rosario Dawson, John Goodman, AND Sylvester Stallone to name a few.

The cast do a great job bringing these characters to the big screen, and their experience shines through, bringing life and giving soul to even the smallest of characters. It’s especially great to hear the cast of the games interacting again.

Although not quite as polished as something from a bigger studio, the animation is superb. The feel and style of the series is recreated to amazing effect, making characters and locales instantly recognisable, and bringing to life a galaxy that has been crying out for a movie adaptation for almost 15 years.

04

Given some more time and a bigger budget, I could see a Ratchet & Clank movie franchise easily taking on the bigger studios, like Dreamworks, and dethroning the likes of Shrek, kicking him back into the swamp where he belongs.

I’ve been looking forward to Ratchet & Clank since it was first announced, even if I was quietly apprehensive. After all, it’s a video game adaptation and we have all been burned before.

It’s with a genuine sense of joy, then, that I can say that Ratchet & Clank is the best video game movie I’ve ever seen. The sheer love and respect for the source material is spellbinding. There are homages to the games everywhere, but they never feel forced or out of place, instead aiming for subtle or hilarious to brilliant effect.

Amazing voice work from an all-star cast
Faithful interpretation of a much loved game
Full to the brim with humour and heart
Not quite as polished as bigger studio animations

The Ratchet & Clank series has been very dear to me for a number of years now. Not only did I use Tools of Destruction as a reason I “needed” a Playstation 3, the series in general is responsible for the relationship between myself and one of my best friends, and it makes me so happy to see it finally be turned into the movie it deserves to be.

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Grapevine Digital provided a review screening of Ratchet & Clank
Official Movie Site

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