Ratchet and Clank Review


It’s seldom seen for a movie based on a video game to be any good. You can’t fault the studios for giving it a good go, but with the likes of Max Payne, Resident Evil, Silent Hill and more recently, Hitman: Agent 47, it tends to be a rather challenging stomping ground. The latest silver screen endeavour is Ratchet and Clank, which regrettably, does not buck the trend but merely enforce it. While we have an investment in the characters when playing these games, the joy is born out of the freedom of controlling them, an element you’re without when indulging in a movie.

Set in a fictional universe that thrives in the notion of interplanetary travel, we meet Ratchet (voiced by James Arnold Taylor), an idealistic mechanic who dreams of one day being considered a protector of the galaxy – if only somebody gave him a chance. So when trials commence to join The Galactic Rangers, he has the chance to prove his worth. It seems they’re going to need all the help they can get too, for the tyrannical Chairman Drek (Paul Giamatti) seems intent on destroying every planet he can. But alongside his trusty friend, and robot, Clank (David Kaye), Ratchet sets off to put an end to this nefarious plan, and preserve the safety of the Solana Galaxy.

There’s undoubtedly a playful, adventurous tone to this congenial piece, that attempts to subvert the tropes of the genre, and ridicule them accordingly. This much is evident in the opening scene, as we see a view of the solar system, and then in the bottom right hand corner there’s a timer, counting down until the ‘bad guy’s speech’ – and when it reaches zero, a very archetypal, booming villainous voice plays out.

But the film suffers from Ratchet’s immediate rise to prominence. Titles of this nature work best when dealing with a character who has to surpass all expectations, and one of the more entertaining scenes comes in the early stages when the title character repairs an elderly alien’s ship, only for it to go horribly wrong. He’s endearingly flawed, but when becoming a big shot so early on in proceedings, we lose that sense of him being an underdog, as he’s heroised too prematurely.

The game has been so popular throughout the years for its ability to appeal to both kids and adults alike – similarly to franchises such as Crash Bandicoot or Mario Bros., but this title is aimed far more predominantly at the former, without that same sense of accessibility that will feel inclusive to the older members of the audience. Though what we do have is a fun game of putting star studded vocal performers to the characters, as directors Kevin Munroe and Jericca Cleland have assembled quite the stellar cast. With Sylvester Stallone, John Goodman and Rosario Dawson all on board, it does make you wonder quite what was in it for them, because to say that the screenplay would have tempted them all in is rather unlikely to be the case.

Ratchet and Clank hits cinemas on April 29th – while the PS4 game is available now.