Blu-ray Review: Ratchet & Clank

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Unless you're a rabid fan of the video game series of the same name, chances are you missed the animated feature Ratchet & Clank when it briefly ran in theaters earlier this year. The very modestly-budgeted film wound up struggling mightily to find an audience. Now that it's on Blu-ray (also DVD and Digital HD) via Universal Studios Home Entertainment, it will likely be entertaining considerably larger numbers of younger viewers. While the story of Ratchet (a "Lombax" who works as a spaceship mechanic but dreams of something bigger) isn't any kind of classic, the Kevin Munroe-helmed adventure (he wrote and directed the 2007 TMNT) features plenty of zippy action.

Just know going in that the story ain't all that original. Basically we have a lot of typically sci-fi-sounding names (planets have names like Tenemule and Quartu, there are characters named Brax Lectrus and Cora Veralux) dressing up a standard Star Wars-esque plot formula. The bad guys, known as the Blarg, have a Death Star-styled Deplanetizer weapon that can destroy entire planets. Ratchet (voiced by James Arnold Taylor) longs to join the Galactic Rangers and fight the encroaching Blarg army. First he needs to overcome his diminutive size, which is precisely why his boss Grimroth (John Goodman) doesn't think he's quite cut out for service.

But, as fate would have it, rascally Ratchet finds himself on an important mission after encountering the droid Clank (voiced by David Kaye). Clank is a reject from the Blarg factory who seeks to assist the Rangers after escaping. The little droid carries the vital plans of Blarg leader Chairman Drek (Paul Giamatti) which could lead to the Rangers' victory. Drek's main henchman is voiced by none other than Sylvester Stallone, effective in a fairly limited role as the rumbling Victor Von Ion. Among the action set pieces is a pod-type race that will play better for anyone who has never seen The Phantom Menace
ratchet and clank BD s.jpg There's really not much in Ratchet & Clank's 94 minutes for adult viewers, even if they are fans of the PlayStation games. But I know my ten-year-old self would've had a blast watching Captain Qwark (Jim Ward) and the Galactic Rangers battling Drek and Dr. Nefarious (Armin Shimerman)—even if it didn't resonate with me for very long.

Kudos to Universal for a stellar 1080p, high definition Blu-ray presentation. Ratchet & Clank looks like a considerably more expensive production than its $20 million budget would suggest. The DTS-HD MA 5.1 surround mix is everything we expect from a modern, rock'em-sock'em animated action flick. Evan Wise's dutifully rousing score is nicely prioritized among all the sci-fi weaponry and spaceship sounds.

Perhaps predictably (considering the chilly box office reception), extra features are sparse. We get two promo-oriented featurettes: "Ratchet & Clank: A Hero's Journey" (seven minutes) and "Ratchet & Clank: Leveling Up" (four minutes). The Blu-ray package includes a standard DVD and Digital HD copy.

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Chaz Lipp writes for The Morton Report.

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