Based on the popular Playstation game, “Ratchet & Clank” seeks to capture the kid-friendly audience this weekend.
The film is a basic hero story about Ratchet (James Arnold Taylor, also the voice in the video game), a young, cat-like lombax, who dreams of joining the Galactic Rangers, only to find that the hero business is much more complicated than it seems.
Ratchet gets his opportunity to sign up when the planets of his galaxy are threatened with “deplanetization” by the evil overload Dreck (Paul Giamatti), a slug-like creature with a sweet ponytail mullet who rides around on a Segway.
He’s teamed up with Dr. Nefarious (Armin Shimerman), an alien mad scientist, to equip his giant planet-blasting gun, and the two plot for world domination. The only thing standing in their way are the Galactic Rangers, a crew of fame-obsessed, violent and egotistical space heroes.
The storyline is similar to “Star Wars” — a feisty young loner from a faraway planet dreams of joining an elite group of warriors to save the universe from dark and evil forces. His helper Clank (David Kaye, also from the video game), a logical British robot, is essentially a shrunken C-3PO.
His other pals, including the gruff mechanic Grimroth (John Goodman), who took him in as a youngster, as well as the sassy female warriors Cora (Bella Thorne) and Alaris (Rosario Dawson), are also character amalgamations from various sci-fi and “Star Wars”-esque stories.
The script is powered by rapid-fire jokes, and about 20 percent of them actually land. Much of the humor relies more on a sort of hyper-sarcastic Disney Channel-style line delivery, especially when Ranger Cora continually sighs about wanting to shoot someone, now, please?
The film is obsessed with firepower, as the Ranger suits allow them to materialize different weapons into their hands at will. Coming from a video game perspective, it makes sense; a user can cycle through customizable choices.
But from a storytelling perspective, the obsession with guns in a movie aimed at children is troubling. Ratchet is much more interesting when he’s using his practical know-how and Clank’s smarts to outwit the bad guys.
“Ratchet & Clank” feels like watching four episodes of a Saturday morning cartoon mashed together into a feature length film. The basic dramatic score underlines this sense, as well as the flat character design, overly busy editing, and run-of-the-mill story.
No need to rush the family to the theater this weekend, you can wait for this one to hit the small screen.
‘Ratchet & Clank’
Rated: PG. Time: 1:34