RATCHET & CLANK
The film version of Ratchet & Clank has been produced by the Vancouver-based Rainmaker Entertainment. Rainmaker started as a visual effects studio producing effects for the likes of Stargate SG-1 (1997-2007), I, Robot (2004), Elektra (2005), The Da Vinci Code (2006) and Night at the Museum (2006), among others. In 2007, Rainmaker incorporated with what was previously known as Mainframe Entertainment, the worlds first computer animation company, who had produced tv series such as ReBoot (1994-2001), Beast Wars: Transformers (1996-9) and a great many Barbie films for dvd release. Rainmaker made their first theatrical release with Escape from Planet Earth (2013), although this proved a critical flop and did middling box-office.
The film version of Ratchet & Clank feels like something that has been made principally for the Under Tens age group. The film is all slapstick sequences, frenetic visual eye candy, easily identifiable villain figures and small and easy identification hero figures. To its credit, the backgrounds are well designed and once the main story kicks in, the action engages in a colourful fast-paced way. I certainly enjoyed it far more than the empty-headed Escape from Planet Earth, although in terms of instant disposability the film rates only around the same as Rainmakers Barbie films.
It also becomes a surprise how much of the film is drawn from the Star Wars universe. If anything, you could say that what you have up on the screen is the equivalent of the Star Wars prequels retooled for the single digit age set. A surprising amount of the plot owes allegiance to Star Wars (1977) a planet-destroying doomsday weapon; the small robot with key information about the weakness in the planet destroyer who makes a getaway in an escape pod and comes down on a desert planet; a naive youth creature living in a galactic backwater with dreams of going off to join the big fight who finally gets to do so after said key information accidentally falls into his lap via the robot. The pompously self-important Captain Qwark gives the strong impression that he has been modelled on the appearance and voicing of the title superhero in The Tick (1994-7).
Ratchet & Clank is directed by Kevin Munroe, a Canadian animator and comic-book artist who made his directorial debut with the animated Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film TMNT (2007) and then went on to make the live-action Dylan Dog: Dead of Night (2010).