Fair warning, I saw this the day after I attended the Calgary Expo and was suffering from what could only be described as a Convention Hangover. Not that I got drunk – I didn’t. But it turns out that driving up to Calgary highly caffeinated without drinking much (so I wouldn’t have to stop along the way) then walking around for an entire day while subsisting on nothing but junk food results in the something exactly like a hangover the next day. Ratchet & Clank was just what the doctor ordered (that and Gatorade). It’s a loud and colorful kids show that was just frantic enough to keep my attention the entire time. I liked it.
When the galaxy comes under the threat of a nefarious space captain, a mechanic and his newfound robot ally join an elite squad of combatants to save the universe.
Not for the first time this year, I wanted to play the game based on the movie. There were times when this felt like a 94 minute commercial for the video game that was released roughly two weeks earlier. Possibly this was deliberate, I’ll never know for sure, but if that were the case shouldn’t it have come out earlier? I’ve never played the games. I’m unfamiliar with the source material but Ratchet & Clank worked well on the big screen. Sure there were some weird pacing issues – the first act lasted longer than normal should have while the plot got itself organized and under way. But everything laid down in the slightly bloated first act actually did pay off in the third act.
The real strength in Ratchet & Clank lies in its visuals. That makes sense. Video Games are even more of a visual medium than movies. There was so much to see. There was high saturation, high contrast but the thing that really made it pop was the character design. Animated characters should be distinguishable from one another in silhouette and this film does that very well. Not only could you recognize characters in silhouette, you would also be able to tell what they’re thinking. Every character had strong body language and nonverbal communication. You could watch this with the sound off and have a pretty good idea of exactly what was going on. That’s difficult to do.
For a kid’s show, Ratchet and Clank really was funny. Admittedly I was the only one in the theater that was laughing but still, good enough. There were some very clever jokes. (Wilhelm!) Mostly though, this was because the delivery was so good, which means the voice acting was spot on. I recognized John Goodman right away (awesome as usual) but Armin Shimerman made a fantastic villain. Jim Ward as the character Quark was also very funny.
So is Ratchet and Clank worth watching? Yes definitely. I’m as surprised as you are. It’s fast and funny and while kids won’t get all the jokes (and many adults) it’s very entertaining. It’s not too scary either, nobody is actually visibly hurt ever. There’s some good messages and a surprisingly coherent theme. I am going to see this again, just to see how it was visually put together. This may well be the prettiest movie of the year.