Ratchet and Clank: The Movie

Who among you was aware that such a film existed? Until I read about it’s disappointing theatrical run in France, I was had no idea someone had attempted to make an animated film based on an existing property and was not tied to Disney, Pixar, DreamWorks, or Illumination Entertainment.

Rainmaker Entertainment, producers of the 2013 theatrical release Escape from Planet Earth and a dozen or so direct to video Barbie adventures, began life as Mainframe Entertainment, Inc. Mainframe Entertainment is best known for producing the very first CGI animated series, Reboot, which aired from 1994-2001.

I was a fan of the show.  The premise was fairly unique at the time.  What if the A.I. you competed against in your computer games had was sentient?  Did they dream of digital sheep?  What were their hopes and aspirations?  I know I was a bit hesitant spin kicking face mooks to death after a couple of seasons of rooting for Bob to be the player.  After learning about the announced sequel series “Guardian Code,” I am hopeful that the spirit of the predecessor is maintained and that they do not cut corners with animation budget.  We are talking 22 years worth of technological advances since the debut episode.  Believe me, visuals and animation styles are never going to make or break something in my eyes as long as the story is above average, but even my “back in the day we were happy with stick figures and a flip book” self is smiling at the thought of what Bob and the gang may look like.  I mean, it’s not greedy to at least expect what Nickelodeon’s been doing with Kung Fu Panda and Back and the Barnyard.

If it seems like I’m avoiding the topic at hand, I am.  I never got into Ratchet and Clank.  I was a Nintendo loyalist, if not outright fanboy and that new fangled Playstation could stay over there with the people that cared more about slick graphics than game play.  I may have played it twice, because I used to have friends whose houses I could visit and  eat their snacks, but literally nothing stands out to me.

Now when you couple my lack of interest with the source material with the mediocre numbers the film has pulled in thus far, you’d be within your right to question why I even decided to write about it.  And I have an answer for that hypothetical question.

Ever since Super Mario Bros. flopped harder than a four hundred pound man falling from a diving board, a dozen questions rattled around in my brain.  Chief among them was “why wasn’t this animated?”  Back then, pretty much nothing that didn’t carry the Mouse’s blessing was doomed to fail at the box office and maybe recoup its budget by guys like me that raided the bargain basements of my local video rental stores (hey remember those) for a quick animated fix.  But you know, people dig nostalgia and fancy graphics these days so it’s not a bad idea to reevaluate this approach with a stronger or more fondly remembered property.

Instead of adapting their worlds into ours, why not just give them more fluid CGI, give the original creators a consultant position and let loose?  If it works, we’re talking hundreds of millions at the box office.  If they don’t live up to expectations, write ’em off and make another Fast and the Furious movie.  I’m good either way.  I just really want to see a CGI Lord of the Rings-esque Legend of Zelda movie or a Guardians of the Galaxy epic starring Samus.  We have the technology and the fan base.  Just do it.

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