The way critics savaged “Ratchet & Clank” in 2016, you’d swear we were given an animated move in the same league of “Norm of the North” or “Doogal.” Instead, we get a funny and entertaining science fiction adventure that doesn’t re-invent the wheel, but manages to be a fun animated movie nevertheless. I have never played the video games “Ratchet & Clank” is based on, but I know enough to understand the basic concept and premise. “Ratchet & Clank” is a eye catching and very good action film that touches on all bases and delivers one very interesting underdog tale about a potential hero trying to prove his worth. Director Kevin Munroe stages a prequel to the games that widens the universe of Ratchet and Clank and genuinely attempts to add another dimension to the titular duo for the sake of their fans.
The original voice actors reprise their roles in “Ratchet & Clank” as we meet young cat like mechanic Ratchet, a very ambitious and overly enthusiastic worker who dreams of joining the Galactic Rangers. They’re a group of peace keeping warriors led by the super heroic Captain Qwark, and Ratchet wants to be the fifth member. After Ratchet is initially turned down, the defective robot Quartu manages to escape being upgraded to serve Drek, and crash lands on planet Veldin where Ratchet takes him in and names him Clank. With the plans in tow, Ratchet and Clank are named honorary members and Ratchet ends up garnering the most popularity among the group. This prompts Qwark to grow jealous, and in exchange for fame, vows to help Drek, and the evil Doctor Nefarious to help sabotage the Rangers and complete their master plan.
Nothing about “Ratchet & Clank” is half assed or feels under developed, and its animation is very dazzling most times, adding a pop and spark that makes the movie burst with energy. The pacing is lively, and there’s never a dull moment, despite the story occasionally slowing down to focus on character conflicts, and motivation. I also love how the movie tends to have a subtle self-awareness that amounts to a lot of very funny moments. There’s the main villain Chairman Drek sucking all of the minions in to a vortex after they decide to text during a memorial ceremony, and one especially enthusiastic minion screaming a command code prompts Chairman Drek to ask if everything is okay with him at home. The voice cast is also generally very good in the roles, especially Paul Giamatti and Sylvester Stallone.
I even liked Rosario Dawson in her enthusiastic role as Elaris, the more intelligent female member of the Galactic Rangers. Ratchet and Clank are entertaining and interesting superheroes who manage to save the day and defy the more grandiose ideas their universe has about superheroes. The movie isn’t so much about the characters as it is a meeting of the pair of heroes, both of whom decide they’d make a good team for future adventures. Surely, the animated adaptation of the video game doesn’t re-invent the wheel, but it does allow for an entertaining science fiction adventure with neat character designs and memorable bits of action.