Video game-to-film adaptations have always had a bad reputation for not being very good. Despite this, they’re still being made in the hopes that one might break the mould. This year, the ‘World of Warcraft’ and ‘Ratchet and Clank’ films came out and has pretty much been forgotten about, which speaks for itself really. Whilst I can’t form an opinion on ‘Warcraft’, I can definitely say that I’m dissapointed that ‘Ratchet and Clank’ didn’t do very well.
The ‘Ratchet and Clank’ games are a series that I have grown up with, and have loved next to ‘Spyro’ and ‘Crash Bandicoot’. It’s fun, funny and it has memorable characters and an interesting storyline. After I heard about a film being made, I was so excited for it and the trailers looked promising. However, a year’s delay and a very limited cinema release (it was only in my local cinema for a week) dampened my excitement quite a bit.
‘Ratchet and Clank’ is a retelling of the original game as it follows the two lead characters joining Captain Qwark and the Galactic Rangers. Together, they aim to defeat Chairman Drek who, along with Dr Nefarious, plans to destroy various planets in the solar system in order to make their own one.
So, I have now seen the film and I have to say: I really enjoyed it. The film took great care to make sure no changes in character and set design were changed, and the original voice actors for Ratchet, Clank and Captain Qwark also feature alongside a couple of famous voices (John Goodman, Sylvester Stallone and Paul Giamatti). The animation is also gorgeous: seeing Planet Veldin come to life was amazing and I did have my mouth open in amazement at how beautiful it looked.
A big part of the game franchise is the weapons and gadgets that the player collects or buys, and the film made sure to feature as many of these as it could within the 1hr 30 minute running time, which made me happy. The numerous action scenes are also exciting and interesting.
Because this is a retelling of the very first game, the film was allowed to expand on more of Ratchet and Clank’s origins and I quite liked this: I’d always wondered why Clank was created and what his original purpose was going to be and it turns out that, in this case, he’s a defect that was created by Dr Nefarious to help with Chairman Drek’s plan. The inclusion of Dr Nefarious is weird, but interesting and makes sense within the film’s storyline, although the plot takes place before he’s turned into a cyborg (stay around during the end credits to see him in his cyborg glory).
My biggest problem with this film is its humour. It doesn’t know whether to cater to fans who grew up with the original game, or fans of today’s generation who might be a bit younger. The end result is a confused sense of humour; sometimes it works and is in line with the games but, for the most part, it’s cringey which is a shame because it sometimes ruined some otherwise serious scenes. Two (smaller) complaints I had was with the voice of Chairman Drek (voiced by Paul Giamatti). The voice doesn’t suit the character at all and made me wish they’d kept the original voice actor. The other was with Ratchet’s idiolization with Captain Qwark. In the original game, Ratchet didn’t think much of him and thought he was a bit of an idiot. However, this particular detail works with the film’s retelling, and Captain Qwark is still portrayed as arrogant and easily swayed so the idiolization detail is a very minor complaint.
Overall, the positives outweigh the negatives and I really enjoyed this film. Even though I only watched it for the first time yesterday, I really want to rewatch it again right now. It respects the original game while expanding on the storyline and this film should definitely not be seen as a bad video game-to-film adaptation.
The two trailers are below: