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August 18-31
VOL.14 ISSUE. 26
HOME / STORY

Star Bores

Jorge Ignacio Castillo
Published Thursday April 28, 06:13 pm
Gamers and kids might dig Ratchet & Clank. Me? Nope.

Ratchet & Clank
Opens April 26
2 out of 5

Unlike most genres, animation’s batting average is ridiculously high. You can go in blind to a Pixar, Disney, Laika, Aardman or Ghibli movie and know you’ll get your money’s worth.

This is not necessarily good news for lesser studios trying to make a name for themselves. Just this year we’ve seen two indie flicks — Norm of the North and the Canadian Snowtime! — that come up waaay short by comparison.

Add to that list Ratchet and Clank. It’s competently made but falls into the usual traps, namely a mild disposition and a plot that’s not engaging.

Based on the classic platform videogame, the film is an origin story that borrows early and often from Star Wars. Ratchet (the foxlike creature) is a mechanics prodigy of mysterious origin who saves an infallibly polite robot — Clank — from certain death.

The pair are recruited by the Galactic Rangers, a fearless squad trying to stop a megalomaniac who’s going around destroying planets (George Lucas should get royalties for this). The Rangers’ efforts are undermined by their leader, Captain Qwark, whose boisterousness is only matched by his incompetence.

I guess Ratchett And Clank isn’t unbearable for adults but its blandness quickly took a toll on me. At least it respects its audience — the film caters to the Saturday morning cartoon crowd and young gamers, all of whom are treated to cameos and Easter eggs that went over Old Man Jorge’s head. The action is perfunctory but consistent and most of the messaging, suck as it is, gets lost in the shuffle. The voice actors from the videogame got to keep their jobs and the only marquee names are Paul Giamatti and Sylvester Stallone (the latter doesn’t mumble for a change, and we all know my feelings about mumblers).

There is one moral that differentiates Ratchet & Clank from aimless cartoon romps: brawn is great when facing a monumental task, but using your brain before tackling it makes success more likely. Hardly groundbreaking, but it beats yet another “just be yourself” platitude.

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