This is not what I meant, Sony!
If you’ve read my previous article about whether video game movies will ever be good, you’ll remember that I said that I believed the most likely solution for this was to get the people that made the game making the movie. What Sony clearly heard (several years in the past before I’d even written the article!) was “Hey, people like the game, right? Why not just make the movie the same as the game?” This, I’m certain, led to some chuckling from people in the meeting room that thought the big boss man was a joke. Then the chuckling fades away when they realized “oh my god, they’re serious!”
Because that’s exactly what it is… its the game. No, I don’t mean that they are telling the original story in a new and fresh way, that would be great. What I mean is they literally copied the story almost word for word, scene for scene.
Now don’t get me wrong, Ratchet & Clank is a fantastic game. When I was a kid I loved the game. The problem is that this movie is just a terrible, terrible move by everyone involved. But the thing is, I don’t think they wanted to make this a great movie. No, I think this is them doing something much darker, and much more unforgivable. I think they made this movie just to sell more copies of the remaster of the original game.
I feel that at this point a lot of people are going “yeah, no shit, Sherlock!” but hear me out as to why this is worse than what most companies have done.
Its true that many companies in the past have profited from selling merchandise as a result of the movie. Hell, just look at Star Wars. There are also plenty of movies and TV shows that were clearly made the way they were so that when it came out kids would become obsessed with the characters and want to buy every toy available (Pokemon, Digimon, YuGiOh, Beyblade, blah blah blah). But this, this is its own thing entirely.
See this image? Now tell me, is it from the movie or the game?
Sorry, that was a little mean, because its a trick question. Why? Because its from both. That’s right. Both. A huge chunk of the movie is from the game’s cutscenes. Now, if you compare it to the original game then sure it looks much better. In fact the animations in this movie are some of the prettiest I’ve seen. But when you compare it to the remaster, there are zero differences between the cutscenes in the game and when they are in the movie. Zero. You could literally go to YouTube and watch all the cut-scenes from the game (remaster or original, though original not as much) and you will have seen a huge chunk of the movie.
I watched this movie after playing the remaster of the game and I couldn’t help but wonder if the budget for the movie was actually the budget for the movie and the game combined so they thought “let’s just make them identical to save money”. It would certainly explain why they shamelessly just converted the game into a movie format and vice versa. But sadly no, they were separate budgets.
But why? Why duplicate the game and movie? Was it laziness?
What this is is nothing short of advertising. This is them advertising the game in the hopes of getting a new generation to buy it and thus allow them to make more games. Revive the series and make more money. “Hey kids! You liked the movie? Then buy the game!”, that kinda stuff. It makes sense as to why they’d want to revive the series. It was incredibly popular in its time, an obvious money maker. But to fool people into thinking that they were going to see a fun retelling of the origins of Ratchet and Clank was low.
They knew fans of the game would want to go see the movie, so why not make it something a little different. Sure, tell the origins of Ratchet & Clank, but make the movie its own unique thing. Don’t just copy paste (literally!) between the game and movie.
A movie is such a great opportunity to tell a story in more depth, with more chances to get the viewer to become attached to the characters. You can give a story so much depth and meaning when its a movie. Much more than games where you need to periodically take a step away from the story telling to allow the player to beat up hordes of enemies and platform through the world.
If you ever want 10-20 minutes of entertainment, honestly all you need to do is read the individual reviews from people (not critics) about this movie. I personally read the metacritic user reviews. It just shows the frustration people have about this movie perfectly. You have the die hard fans that don’t care that the movie is just a copy of the game because their childhood is on the silver screen, and the others who are either fans of the game that have been left feeling as cheated as myself, or newcomers that just couldn’t understand the movie (probably because they’re unknowingly watching a game, not a movie).
There are so many things I’ve seen people criticize this movie for (e.g. the forced non-stop jokes that seem to always fall flat), and I agree with most of them. But for me, the biggest crime is not even trying to hide the fact that this is a company using one department to advertise a product from another department. As someone that has always had a place in his heart for this game and the memories it holds for me, I am left feeling more than a little cheated. I just pray that none of the other video game movies coming out over the next few years (or ever) see this movie and try to pull the same cheap trick.