Classic Review: Ratchet and Clank (2016)

Since I’ve started this site, I’ve written a lot of reviews. In case you missed some of my earlier ones, I would like to share an older review of “Ratchet and Clank” which originally appeared here.

Ratchet (James Arnold Taylor) is the last of his kind, a foolhardy lombax who grew up without a family. Clank (David Kaye) is a pint-sized robot with more brains than brawn. After stumbling upon a weapon that can destroy entire planets, they join forces with a team of do-gooders known as the Galactic Rangers. Together, they must stop the evil alien named Chairman Drek (Paul Giamatti) from utilizing this dangerous technology. Along the way, Ratchet and Clank learn valuable lessons about heroism, friendship and discovering one’s own identity.

I was big fan of the Ratchet and Clank video game series back during my teenage years. I really liked the characters of Ratchet and Clank and I liked all the stories. After reflecting on it, it makes sense that an animated film would be based on it but I am a little curious as to why it took so long for one to be made. I think it probably should have been made a lot earlier when the series was more popular but that’s just my opinion. Either way, I’m glad it’s here now and I was curious to see where they would take it.

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The story here is of a lombax named Ratchet (Taylor) and a pint-sized robot named Clank (Kaye). When they stumble upon a superweapon powerful enough to destroy entire planets, the pair join forces with a team of heroes known as the Galactic Rangers, led by Captain Quark (Jim Ward), and must stop an evil alien named Chairman Drek (Giamatti) from using it. Throughout their journey, the pair learn about heroism, friendship and discovering one’s own identity.

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I will admit that it’s been a long time since I’ve played a Ratchet and Clank game but the world they’ve created here felt just like being in the video game which I liked. I don’t remember much about the world itself but it was very expansive and colorful. I thought the animation throughout the film was well done as we can see great depth and detail in its backgrounds and characters.

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The story was not overly original here and won’t really surprise anyone. It should entertain kids but I found myself a little bored. Most animated films I’ve seen recently have done a great job to accommodate both children and adults with their stories that are often full of references which both can understand but I didn’t really find that here. Because this is based on a video game series, fans won’t help but to compare this to the games (as will I). The video games had these things but this film did not which kind of disappointed me. I feel like I’ve seen this same story before in plenty of other animated films and even in some TV shows. The plot of the film kind of reminded me more of a TV show than a film in that it felt like more of an extended Saturday morning TV show episode instead of an actual film. Since this film is also in 3D minimum, I kind of wanted more since it did feel like I paid $14+ to watch a TV show.

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The plot just didn’t have quite the impact with me as I would have liked. I just found that it made many leaps logic-wise in order to justify its own decisions and direction. Children probably will not care about this but, without giving anything away, I did find myself scratching my head a few times. Also, besides the characters of Ratchet and Clank, none of the other characters felt very developed so I did not find myself caring for them as much as I should have. The most blaring example of this is the villain of the film, Chairman Drek. Because of this, I found a lot of the film to be hard to follow as it was not clear as to why Drek was doing what he was doing.

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The voice acting here was good all around with Taylor and Kaye being great at voicing the characters they played for the last decade. The film also features other great performances by John Goodman, Rosario Dawson, and Sylvester Stallone. But their performances can only be as good as the writing and it unfortunately was not the best here. Most of it for me qualified as either cheesy and/or bad or just generic. Also because this is primarily a children’s film, it had some comedic moments which I’m sure will make some children laugh but they just didn’t work for me.

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Overall, this film had great promise considering its subject matter but it just disappointed me by being another generic, cliche animated children’s film.

Score: 5/10

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