Video game stars Ratchet and Clank get their own movie adaptation in 2016’s originally titled Ratchet & Clank; Lee checked it out.
The cliché, or the trope of unoriginality, is one set mostly in the realms of context; how can we denote something as cliché if we are not already steeped in enough examples of the form to recognise it? To fresh eyes, a clichéd story can have merit, and its often the cold, jaded voices of critics that forces a work to stand on its own two feet at all times.
So long as the intentions of the narrative are good, there is little harmful about the cliché. Often, for kids especially, the lessons being taught in a movie will be ones told somewhere else in some shape or form because, coupled with the unoriginality of many film production companies and writers, there are also only so many lessons we feel comfortable teaching kids at an early age. Dream big, or don’t; find your place, or don’t; make actions that don’t hurt people or society, please. Streams will be crossed, so it’s the dressing that matters more, and Ratchet and Clank has a fun dressing, so that’s a good start.
Space battles, goofy creative weapons, slapstick humour, sarcastic characters; it builds to a surprisingly good time. Surprising because the first ten minutes are a little dull and uninspired, crammed with a bunch of warm up jokes that don’t really land, but the movie does find its groove as it introduces Galactic Rangers, office politics and media circuits. Eventually, the amount of subplots and action keep the film moving from scene to scene fast enough that the film doesn’t get enough time to make humour out of pregnant pauses, and that’s always a plus.
Characters are a little one note, particularly the title characters who, despite pushing some of the major themes and moral grounding of the story, never really feel like the stars. They tag along in adventures just a little bigger than them, and their actions do little more than reveal information we already know or convince characters we already expect to be convinced. By the end, the movie just assumes we’ve bonded with them, and they’ve bonded with each other, despite not really being in the same adventure half the time and not getting a lot of shared dialogue. Still, the diverse cast get a number of laughs along the way, and the dynamic between Captain Quark and Dr. Nefarious really steals the show in the final third of the movie.
Sure, the tone’s a little too irreverent for its own narrative to back up, and sure the plot’s a little basic, and sure it introduces a number of creative elements once just as a hollow gag and fails to really make anything stick or recur in any interesting way; point is, it doesn’t really matter. The film doesn’t aspire to be great, merely functional and fun, and it achieves such. It won’t get points for technique or flair, but it sticks the landing, and that’s probably enough for it to become some kids’ favourite movie of 2016.
It’s a little cliché though, I mean, a deplanetizer, really?