Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Ratchet & Clank Blu-ray Review

Reviewed by Jami Ferguson
Based on the celebrated video game franchise, Ratchet & Clank follows two accidental heroes who join forces to save the universe. Ratchet is a “lombax” with big dreams of joining the elite fighting team, the Galactic Rangers. Clank is a spunky robot who discovers that the evil alien Chairman Drek has a weapon that can destroy whole planets in a moment’s notice. The two misfits must use their wits to help the Rangers save the day in this thrilling and funny adventure featuring the voices of Paul Giamatti (The Amazing Spider-Man 2), John Goodman (Monsters, Inc.), Bella Thorne (Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day), Rosario Dawson (The Lego Batman Movie), and Sylvester Stallone (Creed). The stellar voice cast is rounded out by the game’s original performers including James Arnold Taylor, David Kaye, Jim Ward, and Armin Shimerman, reprising their respective video game roles of Ratchet, Clank, Captain Qwark, and Dr. Nefarious.

Film (3 1/2 out of 5 stars)
All around bad guy Drek (Paul Giamatti) is responsible for putting the universe in crisis. He joyfully destroys uninhabited planets across the galaxy. As a result, the Galactic Rangers have been asked to increase their numbers from 4 to 5.  Ratchet (James Arnold Taylor) dreams of being their new recruit. He has to secure an hour of time off from his boss Grimroth aka Grim (John Goodman). Grim gives him the time off but offers less than inspiring words suggesting that Ratchet should dream smaller because it leads to less disappointment. Ratchet is an orphan and as far as he knows the only one of his kind, but he certainly dreams big.  

The Galactic Rangers are looking for a recruit with heart. The fact that Ratchet’s heart is encased in such a “weak muscle mass of inexperience” is a problem. He also has a history of citations including willful disruption of the space time continuum. Ratchet heads back to work feeling defeated by his audition. Inside a nearby crashed spaceship he discovers a robot. The robot is on a mission of galactic importance.  

Ratchet names the robot Clank (David Kaye) and soon learns that Chairman Drek’s army will assassinate the Rangers. Ratchet crashed on the planet when he was a baby, and feels a kinship with Clank. Soon the two are an inseparable team and after a public victory they are invited to join the Rangers. The training program which usually takes a year can last only 3 days given the current peril. They must discover the madman’s plan and stop him before it is too late.

If you’ve never played a Ratchet & Clank video game, you certainly won’t feel lost in the movie. It stands alone well and holds up as its own entity. However if you have played the game you will appreciate the many touches that make it feel true to its origins. The story and the animation will appeal to the elementary school crowd for sure, without alienating older children and parents. There are good messages about standing up to evil and they explore the theme that a loner can become a hero. It’s a simple but well executed story. Other voice talents include Rosario Dawson, Bella Thorne and Sylvester Stallone.
Video (3 1/2 out of 5 stars)
Ratchet & Clank is presented on Blu-ray in high definition with a widescreen 2.40:1 ratio. The film is rich with bold colors. Ratchet’s multi-colored fur is as bright and vibrant as the wide range of colors found throughout the film. With aliens, creatures and robots there is much color to explore. Fine detail is evident on wear and tear on the robots, as well as dirty windshields. This type of animation transfers well to Blu-ray.
Audio (3 1/2 out of 5 stars)
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 English soundtrack is sufficient throughout the film. Dialogue is consistent and intelligible and sound effects are not overpowering. The Blu-ray also contains DTS Digital Surround 5.1 Spanish and French (Canadian). Directionality is a bit lacking but does not take away from the overall experience.
Extras (2 1/2 out of 5 stars)
The Blu-ray and DVD contain the following bonus features:
  • Ratchet & Clank: A Hero’s Journey – Cast and crew explore the characters and what it means to be a hero. Role models, aspirations and themes that touch them personally are discussed by Director Kevin Munroe and voice actors James Arnold Taylor and Bella Thorne.
  • Ratchet & Clank: Leveling Up – A featurette including game footage. The Director talks about the buddy comedy based on 17 titles and the challenges which simply included narrowing down all the ideas. Bella Thorne and James Arnold Taylor provide interviews in this bonus feature that complements the first.
  • PreviewsParanorman, The Box Trolls and Coraline
Summary (3 1/2 out of 5 stars)
Ratchet & Clank is a fun, cute and energetic film. At 1 hour 33 minutes it’s the perfect length for a family film.  It is sure to please younger audiences but I didn’t mind watching as a parent (and we’ve already seen it more than once). The film has good messages about teamwork and friends without being too preachy.  It will appeal to kids whether or not they were fans of the video games. The film would make a great back to school gift for a young audience but is recommended for all. You may have noticed that the film flew in and out of the theaters, but don’t let that scare you. In my opinion, it just had too much big competition.

Order your copy today!

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