If we're being honest, the original Ratchet & Clank's story wasn't that stellar. Insomniac Games deserves recognition for establishing memorable characters, exhibiting its unique brand of dry, mischievous humour, and building an outlandish universe that makes its story seem all the more interesting. However, the actual plot, its writing, and character development were fine at best; they were secondary elements to the tight gameplay and imaginative levels.
Thankfully, all of this would quickly improve as the franchise matured, so with that in mind, it makes sense why Insomniac Games has chosen to return to its iconic series by improving the title that started it all with a game based on a movie based on a game, and a movie based on a game and a game.
Still with us? If so, you can read our thoughts on the new Ratchet & Clank game, which definitely lives up to the series' high standards, through here. Can we say the same for the movie? After all, people have had cause for concern with some of the obnoxious, dubstep-filled trailers and Rainmaker Entertainment's sub-par pedigree of animation, but what seems to have confirmed the worst are the painful reviews, seeming to prove once again that film adaptations of video games can't escape their curse. We prepared for the worst with this knowledge in tow, so that's why we were shocked when it turned out to be far better than we anticipated. The film certainly has its issues to be sure, but it's hardly a disappointment either.
The best way to describe how the film relates to the game is that it fills in gaps and intersects with it. For example, the movie takes more time to establish Ratchet's humble beginnings and character before he encounters Clank, whereas the game fills in the period where Ratchet returns to his garage as Drek's Blarg forces try to apprehend the "defect" Ratchet is carrying. There are plenty of other moments where you'll notice small and huge time discrepancies between events in the movie because the game already covers them.
Likewise, the game relies on movie cutscenes and interprets some sequences through gameplay for the sake of pacing and coherence. We have a form of cross-media going on here, which is risky business in telling tales since individual stories might feel incomplete or confusing if you don't consume the other pieces that fill in the puzzle. The game manages to avoid this hurdle, but the movie doesn't make the jump.
It largely focuses on Ratchet's relationship and journey alongside Galactic Rangers Captain Qwark, Cora, Brax, and Elaris, whereas the game focuses more on Ratchet's solo, side-adventures. It was always his dream to join the Galactic Rangers, so after saving them from Drek's robot army in Metropolis, they let him join the team so they can stop the antagonist from destroying any more planets in the pursuit of making his own. There's also a lot of focus on the villains, such as how and why Drek is building an abominable amalgamation of planet fragments with the help of Dr. Nefarious, who didn't have a role in the original story.
There's potential to go places with these plot elements, and while some things like Ratchet and Clank's relationship and Qwark's character feel well-rounded, the movie seems to glance over rather than meaningfully explore most of its characters and big moments. Part of this stems from revelling in comedy to the point where intended life lessons and character development don't come through smoothly.
Even action sequences leave more to be desired that the game has to make up for. The movie is very much about style over substance, and while it certainly looks pretty, we were confused by poor lip syncing that occurred more often than we expected. Overall, the motion picture doesn't have much to say at its core, but to discredit the movie on that basis alone would be disingenuous.
While the goofs, gaffs, and laughs may not be up to the same calibre as what we've gotten in the past – since it's more family-friendly with unoriginal jokes and some eye-rolling toilet humour this time – there's no doubt much of Ratchet & Clank's charm shines through. There's plenty of fourth-wall breaking, smart lines, ironic moments, and lovely references that will please any fans of the games, but when you combine this with the pacing and jarring jumps, it's understandable that many critics would pan the movie.
A lot of Insomniac's humour is an acquired taste, and since the new game and its legacy relate to the movie in so many ways, you'll understand why being a fan is part of having a better-rounded, positive take on the film. So while it certainly could have been better, it isn't bad. The movie boils down to innocent, solid fun, and that's not including how it does partially excel over the original game's story.
Ratchet has a more consistent personality with flaws and all compared to his selfish, rude counterpart in the first title. His backstory of being raised by Grim rather than working alone allows for nice conflict between his dream of being a Galactic Ranger and being loyal to his mentor throughout the story, mirroring Luke Skywalker's humble origins. And like we said earlier, Dr. Nefarious has a massive role, and while we won't say much, his shocking past, how he achieves his goals, and why he ends up hating Ratchet provide depth to his long history with him.
We would actually argue that Qwark receives the best treatment. The story takes advantage of his vanity and cowardice to make his original descent into villainy more understandable and grievous. It's even sad to a degree, since his immense narcissism gives way to legitimate regret, which moves him to help Ratchet in the end. He's still a simple character with simple motives, but instead of only making him a two-dimensional plot device and comedy act, he has internal conflict and a solid story arc.
It's worth mentioning that the soundtrack has this cheery upbeat that complements the tone of the movie, and while it's not that memorable, it's fitting as solid filler. The same goes for the new voice actors. Bella Thorne as Cora and Paul Giamatti as Drek are decent, but some do a surprisingly great job, like Rosario Dawson as Elaris and John Goodman as Grim. It should go without saying that all returning voice actors for classic characters are as good as ever.
If you were expecting to see Insomniac Games at the top of their game on the Hollywood scene, lower your expectations. The Ratchet & Clank movie exhibits symptoms of your average animated film that's focused more on the destinations than the journey, resulting in grand ambitions carried out with light characterization and jumpy pacing, backed by some underwhelming writing to boot.
However, there's significant redemption to be found among these lacklustre categories, and we'd still venture to call this one of the best video game film adaptations to date. It brims with good CG guided by fantastic artistic direction, intact Insomniac humour, and inherent charm. While the flick may not R.Y.N.O., you should still Slingshot over to your local theatre for what harmless, ephemeral fun it provides.
Have you been to see the Ratchet & Clank movie yet? Do you think that it was a crackin' time, or did it make a full frontal assault on your senses? Kick some asteroid in the comments section below.
Finally a positive review. I don't get why the critics were so harsh. Is the movie perfect? No. But it's still a fine popcorn flick and I'd agree it is the video game movie game to date. Pacing was a little off but I enjoyed the action and the jokes made me laugh.
@dazzlerJJD most of the critics probably look down on video games and dismiss it before theyve seen it.
@Bad-MuthaAdebisi I got that same vibe. Most critics didn't even justify their criticisms with examples.
Perfectly watchable and enjoyable. I loved the little easter eggs too like the playstation load music etc. It looked great and i would highly recommended it, particularly to fans of the games.
Great review.Glad to hear some positives for a change.
Being a huge ratchet fan this was a film I was dying to see when it was first announced but like I said in another post,I will now wait for it to turn up on Netflix which I'm sure won't be long.
Will be interesting to see what the reviews will be like for the Sly Cooper film..although sadly I don't think there is another game to coincide with it..
Looking forward to seeing this when I can borrow it for free from my library or a Redbox txt for a free rental.
Good review @DrJoeystein.
Judging from general reception, it seems like an average movie. Not great, but not Mario or Resident Evil quality either. I'll admit I was kinda disappointed by the reception, but I'll still check it out at some point. Being a longtime R&C fan, I'll probably get more mileage out of the film than anyone else.
You know what movie recently released that was hated by critics but loved by fans?
Batman vs Superman. So R&C movie is basically the BvS of video game movies.
@Grawlog "I'll probably take the kids to see this one once it hits the budget theatre"
I miss budget theaters. The only one near me is $5, but the last time we went there the place was so falling apart I actually feared for our safety. The entire front facade was falling off the building, and the entire middle row of seat bottoms was broken off and on the floor. And the smallish screen and lousy sound system wasn't much better than my PS3 blu ray 52" 1080p tv and 5.1 surround sound set up at home. So even for $20 it wasn't worth it.
I do take my kids to a lot of summer movies, free or $1 on weekday mornings, usually older Madagascar and Ice Age films. but those are always in the newer $13.50 theaters so it's an enjoyable experience.
We did cough up ~$60 to see Stars Wars episode whatever, and it was actually worth it with a pretty huge screen and great sound, but we'll skip this years mediocre looking spin-off. Still on the fence about CA:Civil War. If it actually has a decent ending we may go see it, but I fear a cliffhanger to tie into Thor:Ragnarok or Spiderman: Homecoming next year. I'll have date night w/ the Mrs for Star Trek Beyond for my birthday, but that's about it this summer in theaters.
They would rather watch some pants European arthouse drama.
My problem with film critics is its a crap job. We all can watch films. All of us, you don't need to finish a quest or show some skill to pass a boss. As long as your the adequate age and have the desire to watch, you will finish the film. You need zero qualifications.
The critics try to weight their job roles by using over complicated language in describing what they are watching / have watched and think they belong to some artist club which does exist in their pretentious minds.
It's not that $60 games are a huge value, it's thag $15 movies are a scam lol. But more than that, it's the $10 popcorn and $6 fountain drinks that kill the experience.
Not to say I think games aren't worth $60, I just think games priced at $50 with $19.99 season pass expansions would be a much better proposition, and would result in far more copies being sold. I don't have the data to calculate whether or not that would increase total revenue for developers but I certainly don't think they are maximizing revenue at the current price point. Lower price = Higher Qty Demanded. And I think there would be a much higher demand at a $50 price.
Sobis this somthing my younger kids would enjoy?
TJ Fixman was never going to be able to write an actual movie. He managed to write something somewhat touching with Crack in Time but even then the story boils down to a bunch of interstitials.
I will buy it on Bluray that is for sure. Now please make Rachet and Clank 2 as a remaster.
Miss the little review paragraph and rating ye have for games. but I feel like the reviews of this movie are a little hard done considering this isn't no big budget Pixar movie, like anyone who knows R&C or anything about them would know what to expect with this.
I haven't seen the movie but I feel like kids will love it, which at the end of day is what it's made for.
And THIS is why I go to Pushsquare and Nintendo Life. People who don't hate everything because they assume it's terrible right off the bat.
I'll wait until it's on Sky movie's Star War's is on there soon, i've not seen that yet. There's no way i'm spending £40+ to take the kid's to see this.
I'm so glad to finally see a positive review. You have no idea how bloody ticked off the reviews were making me. It's incredible for a movie based on a game, I mean, even a decent one is so hard to come by, being a good one at all is a feat in itself.
Worst part is all the negative reviews are what is ultimately killing the film before it even took off, so many people will look at the reviews before going to see it and will just go "Oh, all the reviews are crap, we won't bother". That hurts the film far more than anyone seems to realise.
Film bombs as a result of what I said, producers think it's not worth it to make another one, a potentially great movie series for fans and uninitiated kids alike gets scrapped before it begins! It's just lucky there's the game for it to fall back on if all else fails.
I, personally, as a long-term fan of the series and Playstation in general, absolutely loved the movie. Yeah, it has its flaws but they're minor and the good far outweighs the bad. I'm definitely going to get it on Bluray when it comes out! They're getting my money again, don't you worry!
I really love how movie critics fail at understanding the concept of video games. I hope the movie critics become subject to extreme amounts of criticism when they bashed Ratchet & Clank around. It may not be perfect, but its still good. I just hope many gamers, be it fans of Ratchet & Clank or outside, would bombard them just to point them out that they had never played video games throughout their lives. Shame on those movie criitcs, Rotten Tomatoes and all other movie critics.
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