Ratchet & Clank movie review: a sub-par big screen outing for the popular duo

Movies based on video games often fall flat due to straying from the plot, small budgets, or interference from outside parties. Even with a gaming series as prominent as Ratchet & Clank, its big-screen debut has fallen victim to the same mediocrity as others.

The game mostly follows the same plot and action of the recently rebooted entry for the PlayStation 4. It’s a story that tells how Ratchet and Clank meet, how an evil organisation is trying to take over and destroy worlds, and basically establishes the series anew. Unfortunately, the movie forgot one vital point to the plot: being fun. That’s a pretty crucial thing to forget.

The concept of having the Ratchet & Clank movie basically be one long cutscene is a great idea, and something that many gamers should rejoice over, but it’s poorly executed. What makes the games truly stand out are the interesting and funny scripts, quips from background characters, and visual gags. This movie is light on all of those things to the point where if you have wonder if the script writers fell asleep while the voice actors “phoned it home” when reciting lines.

In fact, I fell asleep for about fifteen minutes during the movie. It actually became so boring that I couldn’t keep my eyes open. And that right there is a problem. Movies shouldn’t put you to sleep. This isn’t a William Smith maths TV show segment (that joke dated me).

Don’t worry, I do have some nice things to say about the movie. Where it does shine is in its presentation, soundtrack and voice actors. Firstly, most of the voice actors from the video game series make a return for this big screen adaptation. That is always a plus in my books because it stays somewhat faithful to the source material.

The visuals are stunning and a lot of work has been put into the aesthetics, its sprawling cities, and desert locations. It’s the kind of thing you may be watching years from now just to marvel at some of its beauty.

In saying that, I did use the word “some”, because there are some aspects of the visuals that could have benefited from more time and production. For example, some of the dialogue didn’t quite match up to the characters speaking, and some of the locations can feel drab. Where are the jungle-type locations featured in every game?

Even with the actors hamming it up, the audio is mostly stellar. The soundtrack fits most scenes and eventually becomes background noise – I’m still unsure if that’s a good or a bad thing in this particular movie.

Movie information:

Release Date: 27 April 2016 (South Africa)
Cast: James Arnold Taylor; David Kaye David Kaye; Jim Ward
Studio: Insomniac Games
Director: Jericca Cleland; Kevin Munroe
Genre: Action, adventure
Age restriction: TBA
Running time: 1 hour 34 minutes

Verdict: Even if you’re a die-hard fan of the video game series, you may want to think twice before watching the big screen adaptation of Ratchet & Clank. If you really want to see it, wait for a showing on SABC years from now.

Score: 5/10



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