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Title: Ratchet and Clank

Movie: :3stars:
Video: :4.5stars:
Audio: :4.5stars:
Extras: :1star:

HTS Overall Score:77

Video games have recently become the new “it” thing to hit the silver screen. At least more than just the “Resident Evil” films and the like. Now that “Uncharted” has been seen as coming, as well as “Angry Birds” and several others, Sony has decided to adapt the long standing “Ratchet and Clank” series to film as well. The game’s heavily animated look and stylized content is perfect for bringing to life via animation and the end result is surprisingly entertaining for the low budget that the film was given. It wasn’t exactly golden material, or meant for anyone about a 12 year old level, but the animation is sleek and the story is goofily fun enough to have a good time with. Sadly the film was a complete box office bomb, even with a measly $20 million budget, which isn’t a whole lot in the whole of things.

The Galactic Rangers are up to their necks in troubles. The Blarg threat has finally been put down, but Chairman Dreg (Paul Giamatti) has been destroying planets left and right with his deplanetizer. The rangers are overwhelmed with work as they try and track down his spaceship before it obliterates a planet with actual inhabitants on them. Putting out a call for new recruits, the Rangers, led by the overly egotistical Captain Qwark (Jim Ward), search the galaxy for a suitable recruit, only to come up empty. Ship’s mechanic, Ratchet (James Arnold Taylor) desperately wants to be part of the Galactic Ranges, but he’s considered a small fry with no future of anything. After becoming a media sensation and saving the Galactic Rangers from Chairman Dreg’s droids, Ratchet soon is almost FORCED into the rangers after they see the public taking to the young boy.

However, things are not as easy as Ratchet would have hoped. Or Qwark either. Ratchet takes to being a ranger soon enough, but he and his robot buddy Clank (David Kaye) are soon in over their heads as the media turns their adoring gave from the puffed up Captain Qward to the new recruit. Ratchet is loving every minute of it, but Qwark is getting more and more jealous by the day. After getting captured by Chairman Dreg on a Ranger mission, Qwark decides to flip sides due to his jealousy of Ratchet. Now with one of their own secretly taking orders from the enemy, the Rangers have to figure out a way to take down the dastardly Dreg before he can obliterate the next planet in his long line of acquisitions.

“Ratchet and Clank” has its main downfall due to just being plain unoriginal. We’ve seen the story a million times and it borrows heavily from other space based shows like “Star Wars”, “Star Trek” and a myriad of other video games as well. We all know the outcome before it even comes to be. Clank is the defective battle droid from Drek that turns good, and Qwark is so maniacally egotistical that his turn to the “dark side” is blatantly obvious from the get go. In fact you’re expecting his betrayal right after Ratchet becomes a Ranger due to his excessive jealousy over the new recruit taking the spotlight off of him. There’s even a scene that completely reminds me of Darth Vader on the Super Star Destroyer “Executor’s” bridge part way through as Drek laughs maniacally over the creation of his new super planet.

The movie very clearly markets itself for the younger generation, making characters that are slightly goofy and feel like a Saturday morning cartoon at times. Qwark is a modern day “The Tick”, but in animated form and with less brain cells than the 90’s superhero. Ratchet is decent enough, but the rest of the crew actually outshine him, especially with voice talent. Ranger assistant, Elaris (played by Rosario Dawson) and Drek’s warrior droid, Victor Von Ion (voiced by Sylvester Stallone) outclass everyone else due to their vocal experience. The maniacal Dr. Nefarious is done quite well by long time actor (and the man who plays Quark in “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine”), Armin Shimerman. Nothing ever really stands out about “Ratchet and Clank”, but neither is it offense either. It just is a middle of the road animated film that plays to the children and goes about its business.


Rated PG for action and some rude humor

Video :4.5stars:
For being a low level CGI film, Universal did a great job with the transfer. 100% digital animation at its finest, “Ratchet and Clank’s” technical scores are easily the highlight of the package. Gorgeous primary colors and brightly lit planetary shapes make up the majority of the picture and the digital animation show of lots and LOTS of fine detail. Just look at Ratchet’s fur or the shifting green tones of Clank’s eyes. The shimmering of rocket ship’s jet engine in the background or the little individual murder bots that Drek employs throughout the show. Blacks are silky and deeply ink, showing off plenty of shadow detail and not even a hint of crush or banding (despite one single shot that I swore I saw some banding, but it was so quick as to be almost an optical illusion). Universal proves once again that just because something is low budget doesn’t mean that it has to look cheap.

Audio :4.5stars:
The 5.1 DTS-HD MA track can match the video encode blow for blow, with a wildly aggressive mix that fits the video game like environment. From the moment Drek uses his deplanetizer you know you’re in for a treat s the surrounds hum with activity and the LFE channel starts shaking the chair. Ambient noises add more than just a little bit of activity to the side speakers and the dialog is firmly rooted in the center channel, even amongst all the chaos and action. LFE is tight and punchy, adding some serious power to the blaster shots as well as the roaring of the space ships and their resulting explosions. Dynamic range is a bit restrained, but the copious action sequences make for a bombastic experience nonetheless. Overall one of the better action scores for an animated film in quite some time.

Extras :1star:

• Ratchet & Clank: A Hero's Journey
• Ratchet & Clank: Leveling Up
• Previews

Overall: :3.5stars:

“Ratchet and Clank” doesn’t pave any new ground or open up new avenues of entertainment from the game world, but it acts as a solid piece of animated kid’s fare that works for the younger generation. The colors, the action, the pew pew pew moments, all work seamlessly, and despite my adult sensibilities I had a decent enough time watching it. Personally I feel the film is definitely aimed at younger kids, and feels like it would be home back in the “Buzz Lightyear” TV show days more than anything. The audio and video scores are off the charts, but sadly the extras are a bit on the weak side. Worth it as a rental if you have kids who like the video games or are in the Saturday morning cartoon mode.

Additional Information:

Starring: James Arnold Taylor, David Kaye, Jim Ward
Directed by: Kevin Munroe, Jerrica Cleland
Written by: Kevin Munroe, T.J. Fixman
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1, Spanish, French DTS 5.1
Studio: Universal
Rated: PG
Runtime: 94 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: August 23rd 2016

Buy Ratchet and Clank On Blu-ray at Amazon

Recommendation: Recommended for a Rental

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