Film Review: Ratchet & Clank crashes and burns

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Abhorrent. Wretched. Awful. Boring. Stupid. These are all words that were racing through my head while watching this steaming pile of dung. Here’s the thing, folks. With most films I can GENERALLY get a decent idea of whether I will like it or not prior to actually going to the movie. With something like Batman vs. Superman, I had heard the negative press but remained optimistic. With Everybody Wants Some!!, I knew that I would enjoy it because I’m a huge Richard Linklater mark. With God’s Not Dead 2… that should be obvious. When I saw the trailer for this film, it generally looked like it could be a fun animated movie that, while it would obviously not be at the level of a Pixar film, would at least be enjoyable enough to waste 90 minutes.

Boy, was I ever wrong.

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Starting out we have a pretty straight-forward story. The steadfast and adventurous fox thing (the movie said what it was called; I don’t care and I’m not looking it up) named Ratchet is a mechanic with his boss and friend Grim (John Goodman) but hopes to be a Galactic Ranger and protect the planet from evil. At the same time, the villains led by Chairman Drek (Paul Giamatti), Doctor Nefarious (Armin Shimerman) and Victor Von Ion (Sylvester Stallone) plan to destroy the entire galaxy but they encounter a minor snafu when one of their warbots is a tiny defect and escapes to the planet below. He becomes known as Clank and together with Ratchet they join the Galactic Rangers in an attempt to defeat the villains.

So it’s pretty basic and you’d think it would be easy just to make this a breezy little family film but you’d be so very wrong. It’s muddled and boring mostly because the film has no real focus. You’d think the chemistry between the two title characters would carry it through but they share a lot less screen time together than you’d think and (as weird as it is to say for an animated film) there is just no chemistry between them whatsoever. The other characters are voiced by a few big-name actors but the only joy in that is noticing them and going, “Oh, that’s Sylvester Stallone!” or “Hey, Paul Giamatti is the bad guy!” because the filmmakers don’t get them to do or say anything remotely interesting. We also get a section of the plot where one of our heroes does something dicey and we’re supposed to feel sympathy for him making the wrong choice but I honestly could not care less about him or anyone else.

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The film is only 94 minutes but feels about twice as long. It doesn’t seem to be boring at first glance but it is very awkwardly-paced and it’s just a whole lot of noise and explosions being thrown at you without a lot of actual substance or rhyme and reason. All of the characters besides the leads are paper-thin and the plot holes are big enough to drive a Mack truck through them. It follows the most predictable structure from point A to point B, doesn’t offer any laughs and it’s just a chore. Ugh. I have nothing positive to say about it. I struggled to find something nice to say when I was contemplating a rating for this film but I honestly can’t think of a single thing. It was everything I said in the first line of this review and more. In an era with films like Zootopia, Inside Out and even The Good Dinosaur it takes a lot more than cheesy one-liners and flat characters to make a well-rounded animated film. Skip this one; it should’ve went straight to the $3 bin at Wal-Mart where it belonged.



Rating System:

* (Brutal; the worst rating)

** (Some elements keep it from being awful but still not very good)

*** (Completely watchable; a rental as old-timers might say)

**** (Great film with a few things here and there keeping it from being perfect)

***** (Flawless; a true achievement)