By Travis Trombley
Yet it seems directors Kevin Munroe and Jerrica Cleland focused so much on poking fun at the space opera adventure in order to maintain the comical tone of the videogame source material that they actually forgot to write a script that defies the genre in any way.
While occasionally fun and consistently visually impressive, Ratchet and Clank is a shallow hero’s journey / morality tale and lackluster contradiction. Given the source material’s narrative appeal to more mature players due mostly in part to its tongue-in-cheek satire and the fact that it hit theaters in the same season as other inspired, animated hits like Zootopia and Finding Dory, two hits that waded into complex themes with resounding success, it’s a shame Ratchet and Clank couldn’t be . . . more. More comical. More willing to explore its themes. More risky.
Instead it treats its audience like children in need of a bedtime story, hitting them over the head with an omniwrench of moral development rather than allowing conflict to fester and decisions to speak for character development. The resultant film feels more like a pilot to a Disney XD television show than a nuanced feature film akin to The Invincibles, Megamind, or Frozen, all films that spun their genre tropes to great success.
Regardless of what the word “and” in title may have you believe, the film follows Sony’s favorite Lombax Ratchet as he makes like a young Luke Skywalker, sulking around his desert planet looking for a chance at adventure when - of course - it lands in his backyard. This is his story - he’s the one who experiences change as a result of the plot, the one with whom viewers are meant to resonate. This focus minimizes both the character of Clank and the film’s ability to explore friendship and the development thereof as a theme in any meaningful way.