Some 16 years ago, action-packed third-person videogame Ratchet & Clank blasted into the hearts and minds of many when it was released for the long-shelved PlayStation 2. It was inevitable that, at some point down the line, a film adaptation would be made – and here it is. Even ith many of the original voice cast involved it’s a tired effort that sadly – and it really is sad – doesn’t live up to expectations.
Ratchet (James Arnold Taylor), a lombax mechanic, dreams of becoming a Galactic Ranger, only for his ambition to be shot down by leader Captain Qwark (Jim Ward). But when Clank, a defective escaped robot, crash lands and befriends Ratchet with news of a plan by the evil Chairman Drek to destroy every planet in the galaxy, the two team up – along with the other Galactic Rangers – to stop him in his tracks. In terms of plot, it’s largely a reworking of the origin tale that’s likely widely known. That’s no bad thing, but the fact that the script – credited to no less than three writers – allows for no wriggle room means it feels rigid. The charm of the game has mostly disappeared, the inspired wit replaced with goofy gags involving texting aliens and robots that can’t make their minds up which side they’re on.
Though not nearly at the same level of dreadful as Mars Needs Moms the CGI lacks a certain level of finesse: fine for little children but unlikely to hold the attention span of anyone over the age of ten for very long. It’s flat-looking and the action sequences have no spark about them. A moment’s salvation comes when Ratchet is in his Galactic Ranger training, trying out a range of weaponry with a tremendous amount of glee. It’s a particular shame as the voice cast have been well picked for their individual roles. Taylor and David Kaye fit nicely back into their roles as Ratchet and Clank, respectively, imbuing each with as much personality and punnery as the script permits. Sly Stallone, Paul Giamatti and Rosario Dawson are all welcome additions but can’t quite make up for deficiencies in other areas.
Jamie Neish | @EmptyScreens