Does Ratchet & Clank really have the cuteness quotient to be a mainstream animated hit? I adore the duo from their many video-game adventures (12 of which I have played), the charms of which cannot quite be replicated by their first feature film.
Based upon the duo’s initial video-game appearance in 2002—a game reimagined itself to coincide with the release of the movie—Ratchet & Clank tells how Ratchet (v. James Arnold Taylor), a Lombax mechanic, met Clank the robot (v. David Kaye). The last of his feline kind, Ratchet dreams of joining the ranks of the Galactic Rangers, led by the idiotic but well-endowed-of-chin Captain Qwark (v. Jim Ward). After Ratchet and Clank save the planet from marauding robots, they are both asked to join this elite squad, but the villainous Chairman Drek (v. Paul Giamatti) and thought-to-be-dead Dr. Nefarious (v. Armin Shimerman) have alternate evil plans.
The movie leans heavily on its cadre of cute characters, led by the title duo and charming bumbler Captain Qwark. Sure, some vocal star power was added in Giamatti, Rosario Dawson and Sylvester Stallone as a militaristic robot commander, but the fun is in the interactions of the heroes. All three stars could have been voiced by game-level talent with no drop in quality or entertainment value.
A theatrical release was probably too ambitious for this movie, as it is not strong enough on its own to gain traction amidst the likes of Zootopia, the upcoming Angry Birds Movie or its own interactive cousins. Why watch Ratchet beat up some Blarg with his entertainingly exotic coterie of futuristic weapons (yes, even the RYNO) when you can do the beating up yourself?