I once owned a PlayStation 2 (PS2), and one of my favourite games on that machine was an addictive multi-level, third person game. It had all the elements of game play that we love to enjoy today and became an instant hit on Sony’s console. Whole generations of children wasted hour upon hour of precious homework time playing the hero Ratchet and his robot friend called Clank; just so they could defeat Chairman Drek or Doctor Nefarious and save the galaxy. Along the way you were aided or hindered by Captain Qwark, who switched sides on a regular basis. In the years that followed, many more sequels of the game were released on newer and more powerful versions of the PlayStation, but to me there was no replacement for the original.
So, when I was given a chance to watch and review the animated movie, I didn’t just jump at it – I leapt head first. Some spoilers are ahead.
Ratchet & Clank, the movie, closely follows the plot of that first ever PS2 game. In it we find our primary hero Ratchet, played by James Arnold Taylor, working in the garage of Grimroth, played by John Goodman. After a brief journey to unsuccessfully join the Space Rangers, he returns home in disappointment. However, shortly after, he is present at the crash landing of a shuttle. He rescues and forms a friendship with its sole occupant, a strange robot called Clank, played by his original voice actor David Kaye. It is from this point onwards that these two enjoy various adventures and end up becoming heroes as they aid in saving their little portion of the galaxy from the two main villains.
This is a fun movie that is light hearted in its content and just adult enough to make it entertaining to fans of the original gaming series. It offers up a basic zero to hero story and does it without being too schmaltzy or overly moralistic. There are some great lines in the story, and some of them come very close to being sound bytes of the future. The greatest thing for me though, was the inclusion of four of the original games voice actors in the cast of the movie. As mentioned before, we get James Arnold Taylor as Ratchet, (who voiced the character in all but the first game), David Kaye as Clank and Armin Shimerman as Dr Nefarious. Finally we have Jim Ward as Captain Copernicus Qwark who bounces from good to bad to good again throughout the movie.
The only let down in this movie is that it feels very much like someone has tried to tie in a load of cut scenes from one of the games and make a movie from it. Sometimes things are too quick to work out and there is no sense of wonder or impending danger. It reminds me more of a single episode in an animated series than a movie. Don’t get me wrong, the voice acting is every bit as good as any other movie, with big hitters like John Goodman and Sylvester Stallone taking fairly small or secondary roles. There are however some genuinely funny moments for those in the know and who are fans of both movies in general and the games as a whole. Look out for the plumber, a recurring character in the games. He pops up regularly.
So do I like this movie? Yes, with reservations. It’s a solid 6/10, which makes it great entertainment for a new generation of gamers and provides fond memories for those of us who were fans of the original series of games. I think it could have done with more humour and more twists and turns. The plot is a little bit too simplistic at times. However, when you base a movie on a video game, what can you expect? If you want to watch some harmless fun, take this for a spin.