Movie Review: RATCHET & CLANK (USA/Canada 2016) ***

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ratchet_and_clank.jpgRATCHET & CLANK (USA/Canada 2016) ***
Directed by Jericca Cleland and Kevin Munroe

Starring: James Arnold Taylor, David Kaye, Jim Ward, Paul Giamatti, John Goodman, Sylvester Stallone
Review by Gilbert Seah

One would definitely shudder of the news of yet another film based on a video game. Though the animated RATCHET & CLANK is one of those, the film is actually not that bad. It plays to what works best – safe bets as demonstrated in previous successful animated films.

The film’s protagonist, Ratchet (James Arnold Taylor) wants to be a Galactic Ranger – just as the rabbit protagonist in ZOOTPOIA wants to be a cop. While pursuing his ambition, Ratchet comes across a robot by the name of Clank (David Kaye) carrying important information on a planet with a desert landscape. The same premise happens with the character Rey and the robot carrying a message for Luke Skywalker in STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS. The most famous of the Galactic Rangers – Captain Owark (sounding like Captain Kirk) and voiced by Jim Ward has a figure modelled after the Buzz Lightyear character (Tim Allen) in the TOY STORY films. And the line of advice given by Grimroth Razz, Ratchet’s mechanic mentor (John Goodman) to Ratchet: “Don’t aim too high so that you will not get too disappointed,” is identical to the joke/advice given in ZOOTOPIA by the protagonist’s parents. It is uncanny how ZOOTOPIA and RACHET & CLANKS have these similarities.

One can keep on counting – the nods or similarities (depending how wants to look at it). But who really cares? The video game movie is well-intentioned for the kids and family and everything is done in relatively good taste without insult or injury.

The ‘original’ story begins with how the title characters first meet and how they attempt to save the Solana Galaxy from being destroyed by the villains of the piece, Chairman Drek (Paul Giamatti) and the Blarg. With Drek’s native planet Orxon having grown toxic and overpopulated, he sets about invading and plundering large chunks of rival planets to build a new super-sphere for his people. This is the same reason used by every film for an alien invasion of another planet.

The film features a number of the voice actors from the original video game series reprising their roles with a few new ones such as Giamatti, Taylor (as Ratchet) and believe it or not Sylvester Stallone.
The film is sufficiently colourful and the animation incentive enough providing harmless fun to entertain, without scaring the kids.

RATCHET & CLANK is a moderately budgeted independent animated movie. The film does will not outdo any Disney or other big studio animated features, but it should make a decent profit.

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