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Movie Review

Ratchet is not a cat. Or an oddly striped rabbit. Or whatever else you might have been thinking when you first saw him.

He's a Lombax. And as far as he knows, the last of his kind. (Think dodo bird only without the wonky beak, and with much more fashion-forward coloring.)

To be quite honest, though, Ratchet isn't the least bit excited about being one of a kind. He'd much rather be part of a group. Specifically, a group called the Galactic Rangers. He's got his bedroom walls plastered with posters of those muscle-ly heroes. So isn't it fortuitous that the Rangers are looking for recruits?

There's currently a very big (BIG!) threat to the Solana Galaxy, you see. Someone is blowing up entire planets with a super-powerful weapon. It could be one nefarious bad guy or maybe a whole army of nefarious baddies. No one really knows, actually, if it's even an entire race of nefariousness!

It's that kind of humongous, crazy-strong, incredibly dangerous threat on the horizon that has forced the famous Captain Qwark to decide it's time to increase the ranks of the Rangers … from four to five. (Hey, what can I say? They're that good. And really picky.)

Which brings us back to Ratchet. 'Cause this lovable lunkhead isn't very big. Or very fast. Or, really, very impressive in any sort of measurable way. He's just a little Lombax with a large dream who's pretty good with a wrench.

But …

What if this little Lombax with a large dream were to meet up with a certain robot with a mission? That's right, a brainy robotic entity with some really cool computing power—a sentient metal man named Clank. Together they might just be good enough. Hey, together they might be even better than good enough. Together they might form a beautiful friendship. Together they might just be the heroes that the Galactic Rangers need—the heroes the whole galaxy needs. Together they might stand side by side and become … Ratchet & Clank!

(Yeah, yeah, I'm pretty sure they know the hero title might need some work.)

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Positive Elements

When Ratchet announces he wants to join the Rangers and "do something big, something that matters," his boss, Mr. Grimroth suggests he "dream smaller" since that will lead to "less disappointment." But eventually Grim adjusts his advice and tells his Lombaxian friend that being a hero isn't about doing something "big," but about doing something "right." And Ratchet takes that advice to heart—at one point putting himself in danger because it is the upright thing to do. In fact, the idea of making good choices impacts and changes the whole Galactic Ranger team.

After becoming the hero he so longed to be, Ratchet chooses to put aside a fame-focused event in order to follow through on a small promise he made to a friend. To complement that, Ratchet and Captain Qwark both admit that fame is "overrated and not rewarding."

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

None.

Violent Content

Ratchet & Clank is filled with ZAP!/BAM!/BOOM!/POW! action. Robots pummel and slam Ratchet and the other heroes. We see a "deplanitizer" weapon tear several globes into chunks, and there's the ominous sense that the entire galaxy may get demolished. (Note that only one of the targeted planets is populated at the time of the attacks … and only by a single baddie who gets blasted by his own weapon.)

Ratchet "practices" with his arsenal of weapons and is repeatedly hit by his own laser ray and saw-blade-like projectiles. Swarms of robotic foes are destroyed by ray blasts and flames.

Crude or Profane Language

A use or two each of "butt" and "idiot." A bad-guy inventor named Dr. Nefarious wields a "RYNO" gun, the name of which he tells us stands for "Rip You a New One." And it's worth noting that posters for the movie bear the slogan, "Kick Some Asteroid."

Drug and Alcohol Content

None.

Other Negative Elements

Painfully vain at times, Captain Qwark mentions that most men don't have his "chiseled jaw or god-like pectoral region." Before he finally learns his lesson and goes on a nationwide apology tour, Qwark is clearly swayed by the promise of celebrity and betrays his team in his pursuit of acclaim.

Some very mild bodily humor gags pops up from time to time, such as Ratchet and Qwark throw up (offscreen) after teleporting.

Conclusion

Let's face facts: The moviemakers in Hollywood haven't been very kind to kids' video games. (Or video games in general, for that matter.) Can you think of a single game-based pic that made you think, "Oooh, I gotta take the kids to that one"?

Didn't think so.

Ratchet & Clank, however, might just get you there. It's a fast-paced, action-heavy origin story linked to the last 14 years of the franchise's games. And it even attempts to strike a kid-friendly balance up on the big screen.

This pic packs in enough of the sci-fi color and swoop-swish atmosphere of the series to keep fans grinning. And there's plenty of cartoony silliness to appeal to non-fan youngsters, too. The humor, I'll report, isn't quite as fast and furious as some might expect from Ratchet and his robot chum. But you know what? That's not always such a bad thing. Frankly, there's been some sly innuendo and adult-humor winks laced through some of the Ratchet & Clank games. And the reins were pulled in pretty tight on that for the film.

There's still all the thump-and-tumble slapstick violence, of course, and that's certainly worth families thinking through. But the "dream big and do the right thing" encouragements will leave kids feeling inspired and parents nodding pleasantly. Compare that to some of the other things that might blast the kids at a matinee while making mom spit out her soda in a spray, well, it's a Lombaxian dream, for sure.

Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles

Profanity/Violence

Kissing/Sex/Homosexuality

Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews

Content Caution

Kids
Teens
Adults

Credits

Rating

PG

Readability Age Range

Author

Cast

Voices of James Arnold Taylor as Ratchet; David Kaye as Clank; Jim Ward as Captain Qwark; Paul Giamatti as Chairman Drek; Rosario Dawson as Elaris; Armin Shimerman as Dr. Nefarious; Sylvester Stallone as Victor Von Ion; John Goodman as Grimroth

Director

Jericca Cleland ( )Kevin Munroe ( Dylan Dog: Dead of NightTMNT)

Distributor

Focus Features

Network

Performance

Record Label

Platform

Publisher

In Theaters

April 29, 2016

On Video

August 23, 2016

Year Published

Awards

Reviewer

Bob Hoose

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

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