Over the weekend I had a chance to see one of the latest video game movies to release this year, Ratchet & Clank. The film wasn't received well by critics or fans of the series, so I wasn't looking forward to anything much.
The film itself was pretty generic and the problem is that it didn't have to be. The original game was cleaver and funny and most importantly, had something to say. In contrast, the reboot which is boiled down to simple jokes for children while not really having anything to say at all. I understand that you have to make changes for the screen, but when something is already laid out for you I don't see why you wouldn't just bring it over. It feels like the person who wrote this movie had never played the first game but was told a basic outline and then started over from scratch.
I think the biggest problem this movie has is the lack of any dynamic in the relationship between Ratchet and Clank, there was no contrast and I think a lot was taken away by changing Ratchet's character so much. It is weird that I am even using the word 'character' to describe them because they feel more like formulaic archetypes than individual characters.
It's interesting because the video game adaption of the film was very well received and not only included cutscenes from the film but also expands on some of the scenes not shown in the film without feeling like filler. I think this is because video games are mostly held up by gameplay and removing that takes a lot of the experience away. This is something that all video games movies will struggle with and I hope a move can find a way to avoid. The closest I can think of is Wreck-it Ralph.
Sly Cooper is next in the lineup of video game animated films from Sony and while it is another property that can work very well in a film, I do worry that the same problems will also appear that we saw in the Ratchet and Clank movie. While they have kept some of the voice actors, they have also replaced some major ones like the voice of Sly Cooper himself. I really have a feeling that this will be another origin story instead of just making it an adventure with the characters being free to do what ever they want. Maybe they will learn their mistakes from Ratchet and Clank or maybe they won't.
Video Game movies still feel like they are in their early stages and while I don't think it will be long until we get a great one, I just don't see how any of these movies can compare to the experience you get from playing the game.