Have we broken the curse?
Much to the disappointment of movie critics, Ratchet & Clank: The Movie released on Friday, April 29th in the United States. Filled with a cast of well-known actors and many of the original voice actors, Ratchet & Clank has received, to this point, a 31 Metascore from Metacritic. Ouch. Yet on IMDB, the average score is a 6.6/10 from about 1,000 users. Of course, I dragged my fiancé along to watch one of the two movies I’ve anticipated eagerly in 2016. What ensued was both exactly and not at all what I expected.
If you’re familiar with the Ratchet & Clank franchise – or even just the reboot – then you’ll find yourself at home and at ease with the flick. If there is one thing to be said about this film, it’s that it completely immerses the viewer in the galaxies home to Ratchet. The downside of this, however, is that newcomers to the franchise will feel neglected. I can guarantee that my fiancé had no idea nor was given any incentive to care about any of the worlds, characters, or scenarios the film presented. Sure, she thinks Clank is really cute, but outside of David Kaye’s excellent vocal performance, what else did she have to enjoy?
As a longtime fan of the series, I felt drawn in to the film from the beginning. The film goes further in depth about Ratchet’s career in Grimm’s garage and how he came to own his starship (something the game completely lacked). The reasoning for certain characters’ actions (I will not include the characters or what they do for the sake of spoilers) is fleshed out further in the film. In fact, as I watched the movie, I came to the realization that it was decidedly more of an addition to the rebooted game than it was a standalone film. And unfortunately, it suffers from catering more to longtime fans and children than it does to establish itself as a quality film.
One complaint my fiancé offered was that, even as a children’s movie, the Ratchet & Clank did not do much to entertain the adult audience. Whereas many Disney or other animated movies subliminally entertain parents with innuendos or clever witticism, Ratchet & Clank stuck with childlike antics and timing jokes. For its own credit, many of the film’s jokes landed successfully, and I did chuckle a few times.
Having such a divided setup for audiences makes reviewing Ratchet & Clank: The Movie difficult. Critics of the film generally hated it (I don’t think I saw a review higher than 60%), whereas fans of the series have given it higher scores. My two friends who accompanied us to the film both loved the movie, but they are childhood fans of the franchise. Their respected girlfriends remained indifferent or aloof, much like my fiancé. So it is here that I must draw the line and offer a two-pronged review. Imagine this like a create-your-own-review.
If you’re a longtime fan of Ratchet & Clank, proceed to point one. If not, point two is for you.
1 – For the Fans
As a fan of the series, and having viewed and reflected upon on the film in retrospect, I would encourage those of a similar heart to watch the film. While it is not perfect in any regard, the film has its moments and offers a bright future for the franchise (and for other closely adapted game-to-films). Yes, this movie is geared towards children and very much so cashes in on that aspect, but loyal fans to the franchise should find enough to enjoy about this film to make it a worthwhile view. The voice acting is excellent and helps push the movie along, and at no point was I bored or eager for the film to end. Yet flaws remain, and we must be open minded enough to acknowledge that.
So – as a fan – I would give this film a solid:
As a longtime fan of the series, I felt drawn in to the film from the beginning.
2 – For newcomers
I hate to say this, but I would recommend staying away from this one. There is too much lore to just submerge yourself in before the film in order to make it worthwhile. I’d recommend playing at least the reboot and possibly scratching a few notes to take to the theater. And unless you’re a child, the content in the film probably won’t entertain or enthuse you much more than watching a dog chase its tail for an hour. The film packs in 8+ hours of video game content into a 1.5 hour film, so it would portray itself as unfinished – frail, at best. You’re an awesome parent if you indulge your child with this movie, but don’t expect much.
For newcomers, I would have to give this film no more than:
Newcomers to the franchise will feel neglected.