6 Reasons Ratchet & Clank is the Best Game-to-Movie Crossover in Years

by on June 3, 2016

Last month saw the almost simultaneous release of the Ratchet & Clank movie and its PlayStation 4 counterpart. It marked the duo’s first appearance on PS4 and their first expedition onto the silver screen. By all accounts, both were a success for Sony (though the game performed slightly better with critics) – but we always knew it was going to do well, didn’t we? Here are 6 reasons why it’s one of the best game to movie crossovers in a long time.

1. It was already like an animated movie

People have been saying for years how much the cutscenes in the Ratchet & Clank games resemble animated features: the colourful characters, the humour and the setting seemed like something plucked from the mind of Brad Bird, and who doesn’t love the central conceit of a plucky duo of underdogs versus a nefarious mastermind? The fact that said duo were already as kid-friendly as can be just meant pitching the idea of a movie adaptation must have been child’s play.

2. It was ripe for a re-up

Ratchet & Clank have been around since 2002, and in that time Insomniac’s courageous Lombax and noble little tin can have starred in a grand total of 11 games, not including more recent remasters. That makes them the most prolific video game partnership outside of Mario & Luigi. Sony were absolutely right to go back to the beginning for their first foray onto PlayStation 4 (just look at the review scores for proof), and it also meant it was a great time to introduce them to a younger generation who didn’t grow up with the games.

3. The humour is perfectly pitched

While the movie didn’t score quite as well as the game with critics, it still had its share of success – which will only continue when it comes to DVD and Blu-Ray later this year. Although the overall story had its detractors, one thing many agreed on was that the humour carries much of it through the rough patches. The trademark disingenuous comedy and sideshow slapstick work just as well on the big screen as they do on consoles, and that’s almost all you need to sell a movie like this – or indeed a game like this – to its target audience.

4. Its fan-base is already established

And, further to that, not likely to be as judgemental as, say, Assassin’s Creed fans (we already know that Michael Fassbender is going to have his work cut out there). Because Ratchet & Clank haave always been aimed at a younger demographic, no one expected or wanted a sweeping space opera to rival Star Wars – we just wanted something to entertain us and our children and not mess up everything we loved about the source material, and that’s what we got.

5. The series isn’t particularly story-driven

This year’s Ratchet & Clank is without a doubt one of the most enjoyable action-platformers available on this generation of consoles, and it achieves that more through the confident application of its gameplay mechanics than reliance on the story. That’s not to say the story isn’t great; it just means there was more room for the movie script to breathe, and it wasn’t hamstrung by fan expectation or a rigidly built set of rules.

6. It’s fun

The biggest issue that has faced crossovers in the past – besides finding the right actors to play the characters, of course – is that most games selected for movie adaptations are way too serious in their tone (let’s all forget Bob Hoskins’ Super Mario Brothers, m’kay?). Ratchet & Clank is already built on a foundation of intergalactic hijinx, colourful characters, bizarre inventions and exciting derring-do. They’re already adventures, the base is there to build upon, and there’s no need to panic about selecting the right actors for the parts. Ratchet & Clank on PS4 is a wonderful slice of family fun, and the movie was always going to be the same.