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UNIVERSAL

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Kevin Munroe
Cast:
Paul Giamatti, John Goodman, Sylvester Stallone, Bella Thorne, Rosario Dawson
Writing Credits:
TJ Fixman, Kevin Munroe, Gerry Swallow

Synopsis:
When the galaxy comes under the threat of a nefarious space captain, a mechanic and his newfound robot ally join an elite squad of combatants to save the universe.

MPAA:
Rated PG.

DISC DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Audio:
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
English Descriptive Audio
French DTS 5.1
Spanish DTS 5.1
Subtitles:
English
Spanish
French
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
English
Spanish
French

Runtime: 93 min.
Price: $29.98
Release Date: 8/23/2016

Bonus:
• “A Hero’s Journey” Featurette
• “Leveling Up” Featurette
• Previews
• DVD Copy


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

EQUIPMENT
Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


Ratchet and Clank [Blu-Ray] (2016)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (August 14, 2016)

Though I’ve maintained an interest in videogames all the way back to Pong, I must admit I’ve never played – or heard of - Ratchet and Clank, a platform franchise exclusive for the Playstation consoles. Since I’ve owned Playstations for 15 years, I don’t know why these games’ existence escaped me, but it took an animated 2016 movie adaptation to bring them to my attention.

Set in the “Solana Galaxy”, the villainous Chairman Drek (voiced by Paul Giamatti) aspires to destroy all of this area’s planets. Why? As part of his scheme for galactic domination, of course – that’s what bad guys do.

In an attempt to halt Drek’s threat, two improbable candidates emerge: a spaceship mechanic named Ratchet (James Arnold Taylor) and his robot assistant Clank (David Kaye). Along with the Galactic Rangers, Ratchet and Clank battle to save the galaxy.

If this film’s plot doesn’t remind you of Star Wars, then you’ve probably never heard of Star Wars. Though Clank mixes in so many other influences, I can’t really call it a Star Wars remake – it acts as a hyperactive melange of inspirations.

Not that Clank found much of an audience to recognize all those allusions, as the movie earned a miniscule $8 million. That figure seems semi-shocking, as I thought a CG-animated colonoscopy would earn at least $120 million.

I don’t know why Clank flopped, though perhaps the filmmakers simply overestimated the audience for a movie based on the videogame – or maybe the film’s obvious connections to prior flicks left potential viewers with a “been there, done that” vibe.

Which Clank deserves, as it lacks much true creativity. The movie packs in as many allusions as it can find and occasionally shows some humor, but it fails to provide anything especially winning or memorable.

Despite all those cinematic references, I’d argue the biggest inspiration for Clank comes from TV’s Futurama. Like that series, Clank lampoons sci-fi tropes and offers a rapid-fire series of comedic beats.

Unfortunately, Clank never threatens to approach the intelligence or wit of Futurama. It feels like a second-generation copy of that series, which is enough for occasional mirth, but it still comes across like a lackluster imitator.

None of this makes Clank an actual bad movie. I felt surprised to see its miserable 16 percent Rotten Tomatoes ranking, as that seems like an awfully low rating for a movie that never seems worse than “okay”.

But it rarely rises above that level, so I can’t fault the negative reviews too much. Ratchet & Clank throws enough at the wall that some of its sticks, and a nice voice cast adds to the proceedings. The film just doesn’t show enough creativity to become more than a mild diversion.

Footnote: stick through the conclusion of the end credits for a cute tag.


The Blu-ray Grades: Picture A-/ Audio A-/ Bonus D+

Ratchet and Clank appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. The movie came with strong visuals.

Sharpness was excellent, as the movie exhibited fine clarity and delineation. If any softness materialized, it escaped me. No issues with jagged edges or moiré effects occurred, and edge enhancement was absent. Source defects also failed to materialize in this clean presentation.

Colors looked great. With its alien environments and characters, the movie boasted a broad palette. Despite a fair amount of the usual orange and teal, plenty of other tones appeared, and these seemed well-rendered. Blacks were dark and dense, while shadows seemed clear and full. No issues developed in this outstanding transfer.

I also felt very pleased with the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Clank. An action-comedy that didn’t skimp on the “action” side of things, all of the alien and battle shenanigans ensured that the mix offered plenty of involving material. The chaos filled out the spectrum in an active, involving manner that created a lot of exciting audio.

All five channels featured plenty of unique elements, and they fit together in a fine manner. Even quieter scenes used the soundscape in a satisfying manner. Music featured nice stereo imaging, and we found plenty of localized dialogue.

Audio quality also was very good. Speech seemed crisp and distinctive, as I noticed no flaws like edginess. Music seemed warm and full, while effects added a real bang to the proceedings. Those elements showed good clarity and accuracy, and they offered tight, deep bass as well. The track seemed vibrant and dynamic as it accentuated the movie in a satisfying manner.

Two featurettes appear here. A Hero’s Journey runs seven minutes, 32 seconds and presents comments from writer/director Kevin Munroe and actors James Arnold Taylor and Bella Thorne. The piece tells us about the lead character and what makes him a role model. It lacks any real informational value.

Leveling Up lasts four minutes, 21 seconds and features Munroe, Taylor and Thorne. “Up” looks at aspects of the video games and their adaptation for the big screen. A few decent notes emerge but we don’t learn a ton.

The disc opens with ads for Kubo and the Two Strings, The Secret Life of Pets, Sing and April and the Extraordinary World. Previews adds promos for Paranorman, The Boxtrolls and Coraline. No trailer for Clank appears here.

A second disc provides a DVD copy of Clank. It includes the same extras as the Blu-ray.

As an animated action/sci-fi adventure, Ratchet and Clank provides minor entertainment and nothing more. It musters just enough sassy humor to keep us with it, but it lacks much real creativity. The Blu-ray brings us terrific picture and audio but skimps on supplements. This becomes a mediocre film.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3.5 Stars Number of Votes: 2
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