Friday, May 20, 2016

Ratchet & Clank (The Movie Not The Game) Review

Why did we all agree this movie was a piece of trash again?

It's not everyday that movies can divide the general public. By that I don't mean that trailers get negative reviews and that people are debating a movie's merit before the movie even comes out. I'm talking about once a movie is released and people see it, the immediate reactions to it are split down the middle. We saw this earlier this year with Batman V. Superman, a slog of a three hour movie that left me longing for the sweet embrace of death, and apparently Ratchet & Clank is far, far worse given the reviews it's been receiving.

I'll just come right out and say it; it's not. By God, it's not even a bad movie. It's actually halfway decent.

The plot is the exact same as the game, but I don't want to discuss the plot because of how it's beat for beat the same as the video game, so let's just talk about why people would hate this movie. Let's examine why people say it's a bad movie and just systematically beat those arguments down.

People have said that the movie is aimed solely for young kids with its sense of humor and style. While I will say that the reboot in general has a much younger age demographic in mind with less risque humor, have they heard some of the jokes in this movie? Yeah there are some groaners, but most of the jokes hit well and have good time. The characters in Ratchet & Clank are actual characters, unlike the game, and have personalities that can bounce off each other. Dr. Nefarious, Chairman Drek, Captain Quark, and the Galactic Rangers all have easily defined personalities and even have a few good jokes every now and then. As an adult, I still laughed at them, even though I still was not sold on the reboot's sense of humor when I played it.

It's inferior compared to other summer kids movies! Really? We're going to use the excuse of "there are better movies out there, so this one is bad because of reasons"? I'm pretty sure I don't need to point out the sheer idiocy of this statement and just movie on.

The story is boring and predictable! Well... yes, it is pretty damned predictable, even if you haven't played the games. Then again, Ratchet & Clank was known more for its characters than its plot, and at least the movie tries something new a couple of times. While I may dislike what they have done with Dr. Nefarious in the movie, turning a psychotic, robotic mad scientist into a boring, alien mad scientist, they do show him become a robot at the end of the movie and give him more backstory about why he turned evil. Granted, you'll have to be a fan of the game to fully appreciate this change, but it's still apparent that the movie at least tried to advance the plot of the game.

The movie focuses too much on guns and kids shouldn't look up to Ratchet and Clank as heroes! 1) So what if they use guns? They're anthropomorphic aliens in a sci-fi setting? The guns launch tornadoes, mini robots, buzzsaws and force fields. I think kids are smart enough to know cartoon violence over actual violence. 2) The entire movie is dedicated to show how Ratchet and Clank are heroes moreso than the actual superhero Captain Quark, who embraces all of the negative aspects of heroism. That's pretty obvious in the movie as a dominant theme. 3) It's a freaking series where one of the best weapons in the video games is an item called a Groovitron, that literally makes all enemies dance to funky fresh beats. I think you can lighten up just a little bit.

I definitely won't say that this movie is perfect, but for a 90 minute fun action movie for kids, it could be much, much worse. The biggest difference between a movie like this and, say, Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return is that Ratchet & Clank respects its audience. Yes it has the occasional bad joke or dull moment, but it knows that you'll put up with those moments to get to the good stuff. It doesn't assault your senses or treat your kids like idiots. It's a movie that gamers can enjoy, children can enjoy, but parents can only mildly tolerate.

I'll admit that I'm biased here. It's almost impossible to be with a movie based on a franchise I enjoy. However, I would still tear a movie apart if it was bad, and Ratchet & Clank isn't bad. It's a perfectly serviceable and enjoyable movie for the brief time you spend with it.

I probably enjoy the movie more than the actual game it's based on. At least the movie is self contained and doesn't feel like it had corners cut for the release. Everything flows naturally in the movie, while the game feel like it's trying to tell this story, remake the first game identically, and still add its own distinctive style to it. The movie knows it's a movie, but the game has trouble being an actual game independent from the film.

When this movie comes out on DVD, give it a watch if you're even remotely interested in it. It needs more love than it's probably going to get anytime soon.

Oh, plus it features the best use of the Wilhelm scream I've seen in years.


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