I’ve mentioned in a previous article that Ratchet and Clank is my favorite video game franchise. Has it always been great? No; it’s definitely had some weak points in the series, but has never been bad. When the film was announced about three years ago, I was ecstatic that I would finally be able to see my favorite space duo on the big screen. As the film date got closer, I started hearing a lot of negative reviews about the movie. Most were saying it was trying too hard to be a Pixar movie, or was too generic, but I still had hope.
So I finally got my chance to view it in the theater and… it was okay. The reviews made it seem that it was a horrendous movie among other terrible adaptations like Mortal Kombat Annihilation or Silent Hill Revelation. Thankfully, it was nowhere near as bad as those steaming piles, but at the same time, I could understand why the critics weren’t too open to this movie.
I may sound like one of those people who constantly say “the book was better” but there was no reason why this movie shouldn’t have worked. In the first game, Ratchet and Clank don’t get along right away. They get on each other’s nerves, they have disagreements, they have different goals, and Ratchet is a bit too much of a jerk. In the film, they instantly get along, which is not a bad thing. The problem is they don’t spend a lot of time with each other. They’re supposed to be best friends, but here they only share one or two scenes. The main villain in the first game, Drek, was a small guy and didn’t look intimidating, but whenever he spoke or gave an order, he became incredibly threatening. His motivations were a bit generic, but it worked well for him. In the movie, he feels more comedic, and not at all menacing. His motivations make even less sense here because it feels more like “meh, I just felt like doing it.” Captain Qwark was never the smartest character in the series, but it felt like they dumbed him down a bit too much. In the original one, he was stupid, but not so stupid to see that he’s being manipulated.
Despite all the changes, the story was actually pretty decent. They incorporated a lot of things from later games that would make sense chronologically, such as the subtle reference to Ratchet’s origin, or the inclusion of characters that appeared later in the series. There were a lot of easter eggs for fans of PlayStation in general, and there were definitely some jokes that had me cracking up, but I noticed that I was the only one laughing at a lot of these jokes. There were a lot of kids in the theater who seemed bored and didn’t want to watch it anymore, despite a lot of the jokes being aimed more for children.
I loved the parts that were targeted for PlayStation fans but was indifferent to the parts intended for general audiences. As much as I love the series, I think this may have done better has a direct to DVD or Netflix exclusive as opposed to a full theatrical release. If you grew up with the series, you might like it, but if not, I would recommend skipping it.