WRITER’S NOTE: This edition of ‘What You Should Know’ is coming rather late, due to personal reasons. Nonetheless, I am putting this out for readers who have yet to see the movie. Some elements of this article have been edited and updated to reflect current numbers and statistics.
‘What You Should Know’ is a Rotoscopers series that gives you a detailed and (somewhat) objective rundown of this year’s animated films, right before or on the day they hit theaters. That way, you can make a decision on whether or not to see the movie based on the information provided.
MOVIE: Ratchet & Clank
DIRECTED BY: Kevin Munroe (co-directed by Jericca Cleland)
WRITTEN BY: Kevin Munroe, T.J. Fixman, and Gerry Swallow
STARRING: James Arnold Taylor (Ratchet), David Kaye (Clank), Jim Ward (Captain Qwark), Paul Giamatti (Chairman Drek), John Goodman (Grimroth Razz), Bella Thorne (Cora), Rosario Dawson (Elaris), Sylvester Stallone (Victor Von Ion), with Armin Shimerman (Doctor Nefarious), and Vincent Tong as Brax.
MUSIC BY: Evan Wise
STUDIO: Gramercy Pictures/Focus Features
PRODUCTION COMPANIES: Blockade Entertainment, Playstation Originals/Sony Interactive, and Rainmaker Entertainment.
PRODUCTION BUDGET: $20 million
BASED ON: A video game franchise developed by Insomniac Games.
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?:
Ratchet & Clank is a retelling of the first game’s story, serving as an origin tale about how Ratchet and Clank first met. The film’s story utilizes elements from other R&C games, such as the inclusion of Doctor Nefarious and the Galactic Rangers.
A BRIEF HISTORY:
Ratchet and Clank came together with help from Blockade Entertainment, a new company specifically for developing film projects based on video game properties. Once an animation studio (Rainmaker) and distributor (Gramercy/Focus) were secured, production was underway.
The film was originally set for a 2015 release, but the need for extended production time moved it up to 2016.
IMPORTANT STUFF TO KNOW:
Series developer Insomniac Games was involved in every part of the film’s production process. How deeply were they involved? Beyond having three of the original voice casters and series writer T.J Fixman on the screenplay, key personal from Insomniac were also in the room during recording sessions, as to make sure that the game’s colorful dialogue was translated naturally to the film.
They were so deeply involved in the movie that they even allowed the film’s animators access to assets from the original games to be used in the film.
The film has (or had) the added benefit of being promoted via a new video game that came out on April 12. That in itself is a surefire way of getting the hardcore fans locked in for the movie. It also might be a potential draw for younger audiences (duh), particularly with young boys with parents looking for a kid-friendly, post-Guardians of the Galaxy compliment to the big summer blockbusters.
Warner Bros’ Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice and Disney’s The Jungle Book have both succeeded in giving the summer blockbuster season an early start. Now, it’s up to Ratchet & Clank to ride that wave into the official start of the season, which will be hard to do given that Captain America: Civil War is around the corner (as you’ll see later, it was).
Plus, the film will have the challenge of trying to convince the general audience—not all of whom are that big into video games—of seeing this film (as you’ll see later, it kinda failed on that front).
Unfortunately, early tracking wasn’t that great for the film. Early projections showed that, at best, the film would be able to gross somewhere between $8-$10 million at the box office. That’s far below other newcomers like Keanu and Mother’s Day.
But as of recent, the film hasn’t even made it to those numbers. On Sunday alone, the film only grossed about $4 million total, putting it in 7th place and sadly cementing the film’s status as a box office disappointment.
WHAT THE CRITICS ARE SAYING:
While Ratchet & Clank may be the first decent-to-good video game movie in a long time, critics weren’t as kind. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film sits at a 19% Rotten rating. Audiences were more kind, with a 58% approval rating (which is still Rotten).
It would seem that, even in animation, video game movies are a tough puzzle to crack.
While Ratchet & Clank won’t give audiences anything new (visually or narratively), it does give us something we haven’t seen in a while: a video game movie adaptation that’s actually watchable.
If this article has you interested in seeing Ratchet & Clank, buy your tickets here on Fandango
Thank you for reading this installment of What You Should Know!
What do you think? If you haven’t seen Ratchet & Clank, are you interested now? A question for the gamers: should we see this or wait ’till The Angry Birds Movie and/or Warcraft? 😉
Edited by: Kelly Conley