Refuge Reviews- Ratchet & Clank
Ratchet and Clank is a vibrant and fun animated adventure based on the popular Playstation video game franchise that has been around since 2002. This is a series that have grown up with and for fans such as me, it delivers character references and nods to the games that enhance the experience, but for non-game fans, will it be as enjoyable?
The movie is largely an origin story for the titular characters. Ratchet, a fuzzy cat-thingy called a Lombax is living a very Luke Skywalker-like existence on a backwater planet in the Solana galaxy, who longs to become a Galactic Ranger like his hero Captain Qwark. Meanwhile a malfunction at a WarBot factory on the polluted world of Quartu causes Clank to be born. He is very intelligent and is horrified when he finds out what these WarBots have been created for, so he escapes to warn the Rangers only to crash land on Ratchet's planet and the two form a fast friendship. Ratchet is fast talking and often gets into trouble, while Clank is a bit naive and prissy, but has a (robotic) heart for helping others. Their adventures take them across the galaxy to stop the villainous Chairman Drek from destroying planets a la the Death Star from Star Wars. The story is predictable stuff cribbing largely from Star Wars as mentioned a couple times already, but it serves its function to catapult these likable misfits to becoming true heroes.
The voice over talent is fantastic with a mix of big name celebrities and the original voice actors from the video games. The latter of which is very uncommon in movies, usually the original non-celebrity actors are replaced for the movie version with major movie stars. I for one am glad they kept James Arnold Taylor and David Kaye as the voices of Ratchet and Clank, respectively as it maintains a consistent link between the games and movies. On the celebrity side, Paul Giamatti and Sylvester Stallone play the villains, Chairman Drek and his robot lieutenant Viktor von Ion, respectively. Also John Goodman, Bella Thorne, and Rosario Dawson take on a variety of supporting roles. The music is forgettable but at least does not distract from the visuals which are colorful and filled with detail, though they are a bit video game-y.
This film is a fun and light-hearted romp through space for all ages, though I do worry if non-fans of the games will enjoy it as much as I did. The movie has some mild chuckles but isn't as laugh out loud funny as kids are used to from films like The Lego Movie or anything from Pixar. My favorite joke in the movie is actually one that will go right over kid's heads as it references a classic film trope (in fact unless you are a film buff, you probably wouldn't know it was a reference at all). Overall this film is inoffensive and enjoyable and a good one to bring your kids to if you have already seen the pair of Disney hits, The Jungle Book and Zootopia.
This film is rated PG for action and some rude humor. Other then some scenes of robots getting blown up, the action is pretty tame and even the gunplay is toned down from the video games, which featured an over-the-top arsenal of weaponry being used against robots and aliens. The film rarely uses those weapons though, opting instead for spaceship chases and a training montage. This film lacked anything offensive overall and as such it is appropriate for most kids 5 and up.