Friday, April 29, 2016

Rachet & Clank [2016]

MPAA (PG) CNS/USCCB (A-1)  ChicagoTribune (1 1/2 Stars)  AVClub (C-)  Fr. Dennis (3 Stars)

IMDb listing

Darren's World of Entertainment  review of the new PS4 game
FanBoyNation (K. Fenix) review of the new PS4 game

LanceGaming (Big Al) live stream of new PS4 game (Note that while the gamer's language as he plays / reviews the game is perhaps "quite realistic" ;-), it's also kinda appalling ;-/)

CineMagazine (M. Meijer) review
CineVue (J. Neish) review (J. Zunker) review* (C. Moll) review*

CNS/USCCB (J. Mulderig) review
BeliefNet (N. Minow) review

ChicagoTribune (K. Walsh) review
AVClub (I. Vishnevetsky) review

Rachet & Clank [2016] (directed by Kevin Munroe and Jericca Cleland, screenplay by T.J. Fixman, Kevin Munroe and Gerry Swallow) based on the Ratchet & Clank video game a new PS4 [2016] version of which rolled-out in conjunction with the movie) is _both_ NOT AS BAD as the NON-GAMING MOVIE REVIEWERS (above) make it out to be, _and_ WILL CERTAINLY HAVE ITS FANS.  There's a whole generation of young parents who played the PS2 version as kids and have something to share with their own kids now.

The film basically follows the trajectory of the original PS2 game with a number of expansions taking into account characters that entered the story in subsequent modules.

Conceived as a "Star Wars" like scenario (only for kids under 10, hence necessarily "dumbed down" a bit) the story plays out in the distant "Solana Galaxy" far far away.

Main character Rachet (voiced in the film by James Arnold Taylor), a Lombax that is an intelligent if relatively small, big-eared "mousy" being, has been growing-up, working as a mechanic's apprentice (fixing hovercraft / space-ships) on a remote, quite desert planet.  But, of course, he has been "dreaming of greater things..."  Well, one day, one quite random day, his dreams begin to come true as he finds himself pulled-into story of cosmic (or at least "galactic") importance after the craft of a small talking refugee-robot, who he names "Clank" (voice by David Kaye), crash-lands near his home.

Clank had been a "reject" of a "war-bot" factory run by an evil slug-like alien named Chairman Drek (voiced by Paul Giamatti) and his "mad" (or more precisely "vengeful") scientist cohort Dr. Nefarious (voiced by Armin Shimerman) who've designed a giant "deplanetizing" starship that would blow-up planets, shatter them really, allowing the two to pick-out pieces from the remains which they would use to build a new planet for themselves and "their kind" (apparently, evil, slug-like beings ...).

The only ones standing in the way of their quite "nefarious plot" would seem to be the four "Galactic Rangers" -- Captain Qwark, Cora, Brax Lextrus, and Stig (voiced by Jim Ward, Bella Thorne, Dean Redman and Alexandro Giuliani) -- who Rachet (and half the galaxy) idolized, but who proved to be just a bunch of "preening for the cameras" "shoot 'em up" (if they _must_ do anything at all, 'cept bask in their previous glory) showboats.

So it's actually Rachet & Clank who (quite accidentally) "save the day" the first time that Chairman Drek's / Dr. Nefarious' army of War-bots comes to attack the "Galactic Rangers" "Justice League" HQ, allowing Rachet to be hailed (by the grateful populace) as a _fifth_ "Galactic Ranger" to the irritation of the other four and especially Captain Qwark who didn't like to share the spotlight.

Well immediately after becoming said fifth "Galactic Ranger," the "glory of it all" starts going to _his head_, and the internal battle within him begins as well (even as he and the other Rangers are being tasked to "save the galaxy" from the clutches of Drek / Nefarius): Is RACHET _also_ going to be LAZY about his task and just expect to "shoot himself out of complex problems" (like the other four preening Rangers) or is HE at least going to listen to the advice of his intelligent but soft-spoken robotic friend Clank as well as the capable / insightful but previously largely ignored Elaris (voiced by Rosario Dawson) of the Rangers' technical / intelligence support staff?  The rest of the story ensues ... ;-)

Again, it's actually _not_ a bad story, kinda reminding one of both Star Wars and Guardians of the Galaxy [2014].  Yes, purists of all kinds of stripes -- some gamers, most cinephiles, probably "a lot of confused civilians" ;-) -- will find the film irritating.  But I do believe that as long as one understands that this film is intended for TEN YEAR OLDS, one will probably appreciate it for what it is. 

And it does actually have a message that's not altogether bad: To be a hero does involve more than just preening for camera or "shooting up an enemy" ... it means TO LISTEN TO ADVICE and then to REALLY WORK FOR THE BENEFIT OF EVERYONE (not just for oneself).

Again, not altogether a bad lesson to teach / learn ;-)  

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