Hello, Spongey here.
Video Game movies tend to suck. That’s one of the many things we’ve just come to accept. Street Fighter, Tekken, anything by Uwe Boll, the list goes on forever. But why? We’ve had more gems with cartoon movies than with game movies so what is the deal?
Well, like any adaption, it can be hard to get it all right. A lot of games don’t have a lot of story to work with and are just hard to capture on film. There are various other problem but that tends to be main one.
That, and a lot of them are live action when it seems like the better ones are animated. Maybe they think it’s too close to the style of the games, usually? I don’t know, but there is a reason Wreck it Ralph is the best video game movie ever despite being original.
The worst part is, they don’t seem to be getting better. You think now that we’ve had time to experiment and upgrade the technology, we would get more gems. But nope, they still tned to be bad in some way. Yes, there are some good ones but …only like a few, from what I can gather,
So imagine my reaction to finding out that 2016 would have not one, but THREE Video Game movies! Later this year, we’ll finally see a movie of one of the biggest MMOS ever, and also a bunch of pissed off birds.
Could they prove video game movies can be good? We’ll see, but we do have our first one to chew on. As the title says, this is based off the Rachet and Clank Franchise by Insomiac Games.
I’m not a big gamer so I haven’t played them but I have seen various reviews and Let’s Plays, and it looks very appealing with the style and humor. Maybe I should get into them someday. It was appealing enough for this movie to be made of it.
It comes with good news and bad news. The good news is that it stars the VA’ of the main characters, The people behind the games helped with production, including having some of the writers of the games on the script.
On the other hand, the animation studio behind is Rainmakers. The same Studio behind Escape From Planet Earth…. Ouch. But hey, Real FX went from Free Birds to Book of Life, so anything is possible.
I was interesting to see how this would pan out and now we’ll find out if it’s worthwhile Will this be a shining gem among video game movies? Or is it yet another turd to add to the pile? Let’s find out.
This, is Rachet and Clank
In some Galaxy far off in space, a Wombax named Rachet wants more from life and wants to join the Galatic Ranger, but they reject him. But through a series of events, he ends up joining them to stop the evil Drax from destroying the Galaxy. And he meets a friendly robot along the way.
For this review, I will not compare the writing itself to the game, as I don’t quite recall enough to do that. So don’t worry, you’ll see how it is on it’s own.
In a video game, the story isn’t exactly the most important element. If you are just trying to be a fun platforming, the story just needs to make sense. In the early 2000’s, video game storying was just starting to get a good, so a game like this had a sort of average, held up by it’s own unique charm.
Meaning, if you make a movie you have to add more, or you just have a generic story on paper. I say all that because…that is sadly what happened here. The story here is very by the books.
You have a dreamer who is rejected but gets a chance and must stop bad guys. There is nothing more to it than that, and every single plot beat can be predicted a mile away. Any possible twists are predictable too.
This alone is fine but for a space adventure, you might expect a bit more. It manages hit every beat without really doing anything too new. Some otherwise minor issues become big due to this, like the pacing.
It moves too fast sometimes, not really letting anything sink it. It just starts and moves on to each plot beat without really doing enough to get me invested. It does the bare minum, really. Even the fade to the credits is rushed, how do you do that?!
Thing thing about the story is that it’s not bad, really. It makes some level of sense and doesn’t throw that many incredibly stupid moments. There are cliches but we don’t have a ton like in other kiddie flicks. It just has that aura of genericness to it.
There is one plot element that is kind of interesting, which I won’t spoil even though it’s pretty much and shown in half the film. It gives us a few half decent moments, but even that is cliché and isn’t exactly amazing or anything.
The drama itself is fine, giving me the sense they cared but it’s mostly just there. The big thing that could save a film like is the comedy. And was it funny? Eh, it was mildly amusing. That’s the big thing that made it kind of bearable.
It has a few clunkers (like a hashtag reference because ugh) and is hardly hilarious, but it has enough amusing moments. Heck ,even the first joke made me chuckle a bit. When there’s a lull, there will be an okay moment to wake me up.
But while it can be funny, it’s not funny enough to make up for the average writing. It has some charm to it with the humor and action, enough that I can defend it as not terrible, but it cant’ save the writing.
Overall, the writing is sadly….average. The story isn’t bad, but it’s very by the books, offering nothing new with weak pacing, only brought up by decent humor and having the basic charm of the game. It feels like they just took the basic story of the game and put it on autopilot. I’m not mad, just disappointed.
Rainmaker used to be Mainframe, and they made some of the first CgI shows ever. Meaning their work isn’t exactly Pixar, but it has gotten better. Escape From Planet Earth looked nice but looked generic.
This is the same deal, but it thankfully looks better. The animation is…good, but nothing special. The characters look polished enough with their movements being solid enough. The designs are kind of weak, just typical weird aliens.
It looks like the game but they added no special touches to make it a powerhouse film. The animation is nice to look at, but it’s not exactly going to blow you away. But it is a lower budget film and it still looks better than some other similar films.
The action scenes have decent energy to them, but the background are mostly just kind of bland. In general, the animation doesn’t really have anything that special to it, especially compared to other animated films on the market, but it does at least look they put effort into it.
In short, nothing fancy but it gets the job done.
Since I said the film tends to rush through things, you likely expect a cast of weak characters. You would be correct. All of them are just kind of there, really. I could barely say anything about one, much less all, but let’s do it.
Of course, first up is Rachet, voiced by James Arnold Taylor. He wants more from life, and he gets it. That’s…pretty much it. He has likes to build things by screws up. Because that hasnt’ been done in every movie ever made.
He’s got a charm him to due the voice work but he’s mostly just a typical lead. A screw up who manages to be a hero. That’s about it. They touch on his backstory, but it’s so brief they may as well have cut it. He’s one of the last of his kind, which is barely mentioned.
He’s serviceable I suppose, but there isn’t too much to him. Eh.
With him is Clank, voiced by David Kaye. He’s a small robot hwo is smart. That’s…also about it. He’s even weaker than Rachet, because he honestly does very little. He helps out a bit and has some cute moments, but he’s just a tiny smart robot. That’s all.
The worst part? For a film called Rachet and Clank, it doesn’t have much of a bond between Rachet and Clank! They meet and have okay moments, but they barely bond. They meet and just enjoy each other up to until the very end.
Hell, I’m pretty sure Clank is gone for a good chunk of the film. At one point, they meet up and I honestly forget he was in it. Maybe he did more and I didn’t notice because I was so bored but in the grand scheme, their connection is just forced. Clank is cute, but that’s about it.
Next would be our villains, Drax and Dr Nefarious, voiced by Paul Gimatti and Armin Shimmerman. Drax is the small evil villain, Nefarious is the bigger and smart one. That’s it. I’m cool with that since villain don’t have to be complex, and they are mostly comedic villains.
And Drax is mostly amusing but he gets dull fairly quickly, making him just kind of typical. Nefarious is kind of cool looking but just a typical bigger bad. Him being the bigger villain is not a spoiler because EVERY SINGLE MOVIE DOES THIS.
If the ivllain has a pal who is a bit bigger, he will betray him. Seriously, I am getting so sick of that cliché. As villains they get the job done, but you won’t remember them.
John Goodman voices Rachet’s mechanic and mentor. That’s all there is to him. He works fine in his scenes, but barely does anything. I almost forgot him really.
Then we have Captain Quark, voiced by Jim Ward. He’s easily the best character, being a Zap Brannigan type. He’s typical at least has energy and can be amusing. He also has the only real arc, which I won’t spoil. It almost works giving him some kind of heart.
So while he’s still typical, I can at least say he’s passable. He’s not even as annoying as he could have been. He’s fine.
Finally, we have the other Galactic Rangers. There’s the smart chick, the badass chick, and the strong guy. That is all there to them. They provide amusing moments, but otherwise they are just support. They don’t grow at all and are just there to be there.
The badass one is the best but she’s still as average as the rest. And she’s voiced by Bella Thorne, how lovely. She’s at least fine here and it makes for a huge step up comapred to fucking Road Chip.
Oh, and the strong one is voiced by Flash Sentry. I am not kidding. Hell, Tabitha St Germain and Rebecca Shoicet have bits parts apparently. I did not expect that.
Oh, wait there is one other: This other villain guy voiced by Sylvester Stallone. The fact that I forgot him says it all. He’s cool but not memorable. How do you make me forget that Stallone is your movie!?
The voice acting in general is decent. Mostly nothing great but everyone does okay, especially Jim Ward. Figures the best actors are the actual voice actors from the games.
Overall, the characters aren’t hatable at all, but they provide very little to grab onto. Like the other aspects they are….meh.
This is a huge step forward for video game movies, as Rachet and Clank is….not horrible, but merely just kind of meh. It has decent animation, some okay humor, and good voice acting but sadly has weak writing with poor pacing, and characters that offer very little.
It just does everything you would expect and barely adds anything new. It’s content with taking the basic gist of the game without really making it into a proper film. It’s honestly a passable viewing experience, as it has enough humor and action to stop me from hating it.
I just kind of …watched it, not really reacting much. I almost got into it but something felt off. Even after writing this review, I’m still not sure. It’s right up my ally, so why don’t I like it? I know the writing is poor but it’s not offensive and I’d take over Norm of the North or Hoodwinked 2 any day.
But while it’s not the worst animated features, it is one of the most disappointing in a while. It should have been a blast, but despite being bearable, it is sadly not worth remembering. I’d only see it in theaters if you have kids or try to spend little money as a fan of the games.
Otherwise, I’d wait to rent it. It can be enjoyed on a superficial level, just don’t expect anything that good. I feel sad doing this, as I wasn’t hurting watching it at all, it was just kind of …stale. But hey, we still have Angry birds Next!
- really hope Warcraft is good.
Well, that was sadly weak. But tune in next week as we look at Marvel’s latest flick!