"Ratchet & Clank" Review

Title: Ratchet & Clank
Director: Kevin Munroe
Starring: Paul Giamatti, John Goodman, Bella Thorne, Rosario Dawson, James Arnold Taylor, David Kaye, Sylvester Stallone
Studio: Sony Pictures
Genre(s): Comedy
Rated: PG (For action and some rude humor)

“Ratchet & Clank” is based off a popular PlayStation game of the same name.  I bring up this blanket fact because while watching the movie I remember having memories of my parents, grandparents, and various aunts and uncles telling me how pointless video games were and how much of a waste of time it was to play them.  Oh, if only they could see “Ratchet & Clank” the movie and compare it to the game.  This is one of the few examples that actually makes a good defense for an entirely different medium.  The game this is based from encourages kids to solve puzzles, explore lots of buildings with weird gadgets, and try to outwit the various robot enemies on screen.  If you watch any kid playing this game, you will see more thought put into the execution of Ratchet & Clank than you will in this movie.


The movie follows that tired cliché of our main hero Ratchet dreaming of “doing something big” and “being a hero” stereotypes (which both seem to be different sides of the same coin, so I don’t understand why both need to be said in the same film).  He gets his chance to be that hero when an evil CEO villain alien starts blowing up planets and harvesting the best pieces to make a new private planet out of.  Because of these cosmic turn of events, the space government decides they can expand their hero force from four members to five, which gives Ratchet a chance to become the hero he always wanted to be.  You now…it just occurred to me that there seems to have been a wasted opportunity for this to be a clever satire of corrupt businesses and lazy governments.  There is no attempt at making any jokes out of these completely ridiculous scenarios.

As far as I can tell there isn’t even a screenplay at play here (ho ho).  Just a bunch of uninspired characters with clichéd motivations going through the basic motions of a kid’s films.  Did the studio behind this really think they were going to lure people away from “The Jungle Book” to see this?  I mean, seriously, when you compare the two in terms of story and imagination, did they really thing THIS was going to pose a big threat!  *sigh* Sorry guys, I must admit, I’m sort of at a loss for words.  “Ratchet & Clank” is bad in such a rudimentary, conventional way that critics might be forced to pull out their own book of clichés in reviewing it.  Instead, I’m going to point out that the fun of the games WAS the exploration, the interactivity, and puzzles!  You can’t successfully translate these things to a movie with good results.  All the audience sees is a lot of wasted energy.

The one thing is you COULD translate successfully into the movie (in theory) was the chemistry and witty banter between Ratchet & Clank themselves!  Amazingly, the characters spend a majority of the time not only fighting with each other, but not even sharing the screen at the same time.  In fact, let’s touch upon Clank for a moment, because despite sharing the title of the film, he does very little and is only in the movie thanks to circumstances that don’t really make much sense when you give them half a seconds thought.  If the movie was hinging on these two characters being interesting together then it failed in a very major (and surprisingly basic) way.  I assume the thought process behind making this movie was to launch a whole PlayStation film universe.  If this is indeed the plan, future directors might want to remember the audience can’t play these movies, and focusing on the non-interactive elements that work may help them avoid having another “Ratchet & Clank” on their hands. 

Parents, there is some mild science fiction violence, but none of it is terrifying or scary.  Recommended for ages 5 and up.