Based on the long-running playstation video game series, “Ratchet & Clank” has moments of charm and sharp wit, but isn’t anything we haven’t already seen before.

The plot mimics many classic sci-fi films.  Ratchet (James Arnold Taylor), is a young orphan who dreams of making a difference in the Galaxy.  Instead he’s stuck working in a service shop on a dull planet where he displays greater skills in mechanics than common sense.  As fate would have it, the galaxy is in peril!  A Nefarious villain with an army of assassin robots and a massive space station is systematically destroying uninhabited planets. A fortuitous malfunction on the robot line creates the cute, and oddly moral, Clank (David Kaye).  Armed with full knowledge of the villain’s plans, he heads off to find the Galactic Rangers, led by the arrogant dimwit Captain Qwark(Jim Ward).  Crossing paths, Ratchet and Clank team up together in an effort to save the galaxy.

As is often the case with low budget animated films, a few A-list actors were brought in to voice characters, which is great for marketing.  Paul Giamatti, John Goodman, and Rosario Dawson help fill out the credits, but the most fun voice cameo has the fewest lines:  Sylvester Stallone as the commanding Warbot Victor Von Ion.  This robotic warrior is almost manic in his love for a good fight, and is easily one of the more entertaining characters in the movie.

The writing for this feature adaptation is, for lack of a better word, bland.  It’s certainly not bad, there’s nothing condescending or offensive, but it seems to exist on bare minimums. Interestingly, instead of going for the “easy laughs” of pop culture references, or bodily function gags, most of the humor is more obscure.  References are made to the game series, previous playstation versions, and even cinema tropes.  In particular, a reference to the infamous Wilhelm Scream* is quite clever.   The downside to these in-jokes is, if these categories aren’t familiar to viewers, they may find the film entirely unfunny.

Considering how bad most Based-On-A-Game movies are, credit should be given to the filmmakers that this one is completely harmless.  Fans of the game and young boys are sure to enjoy it, but it doesn’t offer much to those outside of that audience.

*Wilhelm Scream

Ratchet & Clank