Ratchet & Clank

Ratchet & Clank is one of my favorite video game franchises. The games have always demonstrated the power of whichever PlayStation system they came out on with gorgeous visuals, addictive gameplay, and engaging storylines. One of the difficult tasks for its film would be translating it all to a silver screen story for general audiences. It’s something most films based on video games struggle with. It’s something Ratchet & Clank ultimately suffers from, although it still manages to do it better than most others.


Ratchet (James Arnold Taylor) is a Lombax working as a mechanic on a less-than-ideal planet who dreams of being a hero fighting as a Galactic Ranger. His dreams are quickly crushed when the Galactic Rangers hold open tryouts across the galaxy, and he is told that he doesn’t have what it takes by their leader, Captain Qwark (Jim Ward). Fortunately for Ratchet, he comes across a robot named Clank (David Kaye) who has information that puts Chairman Drek (Paul Giamatti) behind the recent destruction of planets and reveals an even bigger plan for universal domination.With this information in hand, Ratchet finally gets to become a Galactic Ranger and the hero he always wanted to be, but he soon learns that it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.


The story behind Ratchet & Clank is simple and generic. An evil villain hatches an evil plan to take over the galaxy and the only one who can stop him is this non-hero who must rise to the occasion. Then again, that was pretty much the plot of the first game. At least with the game, however, you were in control of Ratchet. With the film, you’re just watching him for 90 minutes, and it’s somewhat dull. The humor fails to match the humor of the games as well. There are a few slight chuckles here and there, but most of the jokes simply fall flat. They’ll likely make little kids laugh, but for those who have grown up with the franchise the humor just doesn’t capture the fun and wittiness of the games.


There are some jokes and references that cater specifically towards fans, however. One of the best moments is when Clank is trying to figure out what a Lombax is and he shuffles through images of Jak and Sly Cooper, two other PlayStation franchise characters that bear similar characteristics with Ratchet & Clank. The franchise is also known for its wacky and creative weapons, and I’m happy to say that the film does a good job at capturing that element for the big screen. Most weapons only make a brief appearance, but it’s great to see them in action. Fans will also appreciate seeing the main voice cast from the games lend their talent to the film as well. It also includes such Hollywood talent as Paul Giamatti, John Goodman, Rosario Dawson, Bella Thorne, and Sylvester Stallone. With such a simple script, their talents unfortunately feel underutilized.


Ratchet & Clank suffers from the same difficulties most video game films do, but it manages to save itself from being a completely terrible movie at the same time. The visuals are gorgeous, just as the games, and kids will definitely have a fun time with the film. Fans of the franchise will enjoy all the references and inside jokes, too. Still, you’re probably better off just playing any of the Ratchet & Clank games on PlayStation. They’re a guaranteed blast.

Matt Rodriguez
Review by Matt Rodriguez
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