Video game movies are very interesting bests, as they are all over place on the quality scale. They can be okay and still be enjoyable, or really bad while also not being faithful to the game. What makes the Ratchet & Clank movie from Rainmaker so interesting, is that Insomniac Games had a big role in the movies production.
Assets and the original movie script were provided by Insomniac themselves, giving the team making the movie more then enough to make a film faithful to the series of iconic action/platformers. The movie released early this year in theaters and most recently on digital media, DVD & Blue-Ray. Is it a good movie that honors the game its based off of, or is it a flop not unlike other video game movies?
The story in the movie is very close to the plot of the game…..based on the movie, based on the game. Basically, Ratchet lives on Velden with his buddy Grim (voiced by John Goodman) who took Ratchet in after crash-landing on the planet when he was little. Over the years, he worked as a mechanic and has a desire for great adventure as he wants to be a galactic ranger. He later bumps into a little defective war-bot named Clank, who wants to warn the Rangers of the threat that is Drek & Doctor Nefarious. Both are taking parts of various planets after blowing them up and using pieces of said planets to make a ‘super planet’ for Drek’s race of species.
So its up to the duo of Ratchet & Clank to save the world! ……Well, the original PS2 game was that and it was interesting. The characters in the PS2 original had a bit of an ‘edge’ to them with more mature humor & Ratchet being quite mean to Clank but overtime growing into a more likable character. In the movie and the 2016 PS4 game, this is changed; Ratchet & Clank meet the Galactic Rangers early in their adventure and characters like Quark and the rest of the team (new character in the series voiced by A-list stars).
That isn’t a problem and this re-structured take on the original game works as a standard space-adventure for the younger audiences. But the game loses the ‘charm’ of Ratchet & Clank coming to the realm of movies a bit if you played the games. Ratchet doesn’t have the character growth he got across the many games on PS2 & PS3, so he feels a bit ‘bland’ in the movie. This applies to Clank but not as much considering his role is less of a side-kick to Ratchet but another supporting character to the movie.
One thing to note is that while the humor is subdued compared to the PS2 original, it is still a very funny movie with great nods to past games & weapons in the series, great references to PlayStation itself and some great moments that had me laughing hard. One is early in the film where Ratchet repairs a ship for a old creature and its too tricked-out, making it go out of control.
I have to comment on the voice acting though, as the voice actors for Ratchet, Clank & Quark are from the games. This is big, as it ensures the characters match up with our expectations regarding voices & they aren’t out-shined by the other voice actors in the film. Quark’s VA should be noted, as he is every bit as funny & dumb as he is in the games.
Overall, the story here is solid despite it being a bit generic at some points.
Over the years, many people said the PS3 Ratchet games are ‘Pixar quality’ with its production values & visuals. When Ratchet hit the PS4 early this year before this film released, that comparison was not really present as it was very close to the presentation quality we see in Pixar & other CGI films.
This movie matches up with the PS4 game (with it sharing the same assets and animations at some points thanks to Insomniac Games working with the animation team working on the film) with bright colors, detailed animation with a lot of squash & stretch, and it looks like Ratchet and Clank.
Many game adaptions to film radically shift the presentation and tone of the world/design to work within the realm of film, but Ratchet didn’t have this issue. It is as if you was watching game cut-scenes on the big screen.
Animation quality is great and while paling to things like Angry Birds (Sony Animation), it still looks great. Music also matches the games it comes from, mainly the PS3 titles where they pushed for a more orchestral direction for the games music.
Overall – Rental
I am a big fan of the Ratchet & Clank series and grew up with the series over the years. I was so happy to see the franchise finally get the big screen adaptation it deserves and while its lacking in some areas, the movie was very enjoyable to watch. While generic and stale at a few points, the movie is a Ratchet movie and accomplish’s its goal in introducing the world of Ratchet & Clank to new audiences.
I would recommend you rent this movie and play any of the games in the series (either through the Future series on PS3, the Ratchet Collection on PS3/Vita, or the PS4 game that released early this year). Ratchet is a great video games series and its nice to see the movie be faithful adaption of the series to the big screen.