Monday, May 02, 2016

Ratchet & Clank - Movie Review

I carved some time out of my busy schedule to sit in a theater for about 2 hours to watch the 'Ratchet & Clank' movie. Free passes and a snarky compatriot who understands my need to be witty at inappropriate moments in a movie, to join me on my escapade? I'll bite.

So there we sat. For 2 hours. Looking up at a screen and wondering why we wasted our precious time on this crap.

Like so many reviewers and audiences have responded, 'Ratchet & Clank' does not make for a good film. A 19% on Rotten Tomatoes and only $4.8 million in the weekend box office (which will completely disintegrate this upcoming Friday when 'Captain America' is released). The video game tie-in is getting much better ratings then the movie. And that's never a good sign by any movie's standards.

Here's my problem with the film: it feels like a direct to DVD release that is parading itself as a big budget film to feel fancy and be available in wide-release. And I wonder if the production team tricked themselves into thinking this way with the cast of A to B-list screen actors? The movie tries too hard to act big when the story is not. The animation, while good, is not crisp as it's counterparts such as 'Inside Out.' You could argue that it's the $20 million dollar budget they were working with, but when character lips don't sync with the voice actor, it's shoddy work. The lame kiddie jokes and repetitive content don't help with the clout of the film either. The movie is only 98 minutes long. Kids are sure to get tired of having to be reminded that "this is the good guy, this is the bad guy" every few minutes.

Another way to look at it is, 'Ratchet & Clank' is  like 3 or 4 Saturday morning cartoon episodes squished into a movie. Every 25-30 minutes you had an episode with a beginning, a middle, and an end. You are reminded every 30 minutes what Ratchet & Clank's mission is with mini goals in each "episode." Like what one would do with a direct to DVD movie. Hmm...

As a whole the animation was okay. The voice acting was fine. If you are in that 25-35 range who played the games as a kid, you'll delight in knowing that the original voice actors were cast as the main characters. The story itself was alright. Predictable, like any kids movie. Which lies the problem: the movie was tailored for kids. There's nothing in it for adults or gamers who grew up with these heroes. And that's not how Ratchet & Clank rolled on the PlayStation. They had a little bit of everything for every age group. There were silly jokes and some light slap-stick comedy for the kids. There was good action for teens. There was some interesting character development and thoughtful story lines for adults. You could find something about the games to enjoy.

This movie is just meh. It does not capture the fun that is Ratchet & Clank. It's not recommended to anyone, unless you're under the age of 10 and don't mind bad kiddy jokes, and being reminded of the plot every half hour. But if the game is living up to the expectations, that might be worth an investment instead of the movie.


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