Video game movies are still fighting for their rightful spot in Hollywood - and in an effort to make the upcoming batch of adaptations fare better than years past, game developers are taking matters into their own hands by forming film studios to oversee production. Ubisoft Motion Pictures is behind next year's Assassin's Creed movie with Michael Fassbender, and they're not the only company adapting this business strategy.
Insomniac Games had a large hand in the creation of the Ratchet & Clank animated film, as they aided directors Jerrica Cleland and Kevin Munroe with aspects such as the screenplay, character development, and animation. Time will tell if their efforts will pay off in success, but in the meantime viewers can get a taste of what to expect thanks to the release of the movie's first trailer (which you can watch above).
As you can garner from the preview, Ratchet & Clank serves as an origins story for the titular pair (voiced by James Arnold Taylor and David Kaye, respectively), and is actually described as a retelling of the narrative from the original 2002 video game. However, the filmmakers have not copied that storyof heroes stopping planetary destruction verbatim; the movie will include several elements that were introduced in later installments (the villain Dr. Nefarious; Captain Qwark and the space rangers), while expanding upon plot points from the first game.
One of the biggest takeaways is that the film appears to be sticking very closely to the classic Ratchet & Clank tone, as the games were largely light-hearted, comedic romps through space. Even the villains blowing up a planet at the beginning of the trailer is treated as a joke, spoiling the "in a world..." narration. Given that Insomniac was so hands-on in the making of the film, this shouldn't come as a surprise. Still, it is nice to see that they're not "modernizing" the property with a darker, grittier take. After the success of Guardians of the Galaxy, this could be appealing for families.
If there are any discouraging signs, it's that the movie's script may rely too heavily on the tried and true "underdogs proving their worth" trope, as Ratchet is first deemed unfit for the space rangers before becoming a principal player in the fight to save the world. That's not to say that the setup can't be effective, but as presented in the trailer, the Ratchet & Clank movie runs the risk of becoming cliché-ridden. In a time when origin tales seem to have run their course, Ratchet & Clank really has to bring something to the table if it is to stand out.
Hopefully for fans, Ratchet & Clank can break new ground for the video game film genre and be an entertaining movie. The pieces are certainly in place for a fun adventure, and this series in particular seems to lend itself to the film medium (having a full galaxy to explore). It may not be the most groundbreaking sci-fi flick ever created when it's all said and done, but Ratchet & Clank could be a step in the right direction and launch a new film franchise.
Ratchet & Clank will hit U.S. theaters on April 29th, 2016.
Source: iTunes Movie Trailers