Ratchet & Clank full movie review - As far as video-game adaptations go it's better than most, but while it is not that bad it could have been much better
Video games have had a dubious track record when adapted for film, a vast majority of them being mediocre to terrible.
This reviewer and her siblings much enjoyed the 'Ratchet & Clank' video games when we were younger, they were funny and diverting with memorable characters, great voice acting and thrilling gameplay.
When hearing that there was to be a film based on the 'Ratchet & Clank' games, I wasn't sure what to think. There was the worry as to whether the games would adapt well to film, one couldn't help feeling sceptical due to how badly most video game film adaptations have fared and the trailer looked pretty dreadful. However, being a lifelong fan of animation and having fond memories of the games (plus films like 'Galaxy Quest', 'Lilo and Stitch', 'The Hunchback of Notre Dame' and 'Tangled', for examples, were very badly marketed, but were very good to great films, so one shouldn't judge a film by its trailer or marketing), it deserved a fair chance.
'Ratchet & Clank', as far as video game adaptations go, fares better than most. Despite having too many flaws still to recommend, it is one of the better video game adaptations out there. As an adaptation, it seems to have divided fans, some liked that it was faithful compared to most video game adaptations while others found it bland compared to the games. As a film on its own merits, it is not that bad but the criticisms from the critics are understandable and valid and it could have been better.
On a side note, there is some serious growing up to be done by those who liked the film (and actually in general on this site, critic bashing here had rapidly grown worse over the past two years especially). It is fine if you liked the film and it is agreed that there is a good deal to like but please show some respect for those who didn't like it. The critic bashing comes across as immature and condescending and makes one think that it is illegal to like a well-regarded film or dislike a panned one. Can't count the number of reviews that somehow were approved by IMDb, but should never have been approved in the first place (a lot of them coming dangerously close to violating the terms and conditions of IMDb, some of the negative reviews for the new 'Star Wars' film, panned Adam Sandler films, Marvel films and 'Gone Girl' for examples in fact do so) let alone have so many useful votes while the reviews of the general consensus are heavily marked down.
Starting with the positives, 'Ratchet & Clank' excels in the voice acting, which with the exception of one disappointment is very good, mixing some of the original voice actors with A-list talent. The original voice actors don't disappoint and the new voice actors match them in enthusiasm, are worthy replacements mostly and there is much pleasure in recognising them. James Arnold Taylor, David Kaye, John Goodman and Armin Shimermann are particularly strong.
There are some witty lines and fun gags here and there, there are some well-done references that are fun to spot and the characters' original personalities are maintained and they're likable. 'Ratchet & Clank' does better than most video game adaptations in trying to be faithful in spirit to the original source material. The soundtrack has some catchy and energetic moments though not all of it fits and there is a tendency for it to be over-scored.
For all these good things, 'Ratchet & Clank' doesn't come over entirely successfully. The animation is not awful, there are some lovely bright colours and there is some nice visual invention but there is too much of a video game look often, the character designs are stiff especially Qwark and there is a general lack of finesse and nuance. While the voice cast do a great job on the most part, Paul Giamatti doesn't really fit Derek's character. The original voice actor, Kevin Michael Richardson would have been a much better choice. Giamatti is a fine actor as evident in 'Sideways' and 'Barney's Version' but sounds bored and fails to convey much menace.
Despite some fun moments in the script and gags, 'Ratchet & Clank' is another case of the humour's execution not coming across consistently, the effectiveness too sporadic, a serious problem when the film is so full of humour (and in a way somewhat over-crowded with it that it comes at the expense of emotional attachment and depth). Too many of the gags are rushed through or limp, some of the one-liners are groan-worthy and the satire and sarcastic humour lacks bite, sharpness and depth while also not being delivered with that much subtlety. It is nice that the film is fast-paced, but too often the pacing is erratic, sometimes too hectic and other places could have gotten a move on. The story does try to be faithful to the spirit of the games, which is admirable, but there is a sense that it's somewhat too faithful that it comes at the expense of having its own style and of originality. The lack of originality may have been forgivable if the film's story didn't feel like it was recycled and despite trying to be faithful it lacks some of the ingredients (like the sharpness of the humour and emotional attachment) that made the games such a joy which makes it feel rather bland. Characters are in character and are quite likable, but misses an opportunity to expand on their personalities, instead they feel a little stock and depth-less. Never found myself disliking any of them, just wished there was more to them.
In conclusion, not that bad, especially considering the dubious track record of video game adaptations, but it could have been better. 5/10 Bethany Cox