FOR PLAYSTATION 2 junkies, the Ratchet & Clank games were perfect lazy weekend time sinks—cleverly written and compulsively playable, yet never frustrating enough to make the player upend a two-liter or drop the pizza rolls. The big-screen animated adaptation keeps the basic charm of the source material, fitting snugly in the tier of movies for kids located somewhere just below Pixar. While the busy slurry of explosions and punchlines may at times teeter on the verge of DreamWorks-style obnoxiousness, it thankfully never quite topples over. Plus, Sylvester Stallone voices a giant maniacal killbot named Victor Von Ion, which is definitely a good thing.
Loosely adapting the plot from the first game (pick up the PS4 revamp on your way home!), the story follows fox-eared cat thing Ratchet (voiced by James Arnold Taylor), a yearning-for-something-more space mechanic, who teams with teeny robot genius Clank (David Kaye) to defeat an alien armada. There are no musical numbers.
Directors Kevin Munroe and Jericca Cleland keep things vrooming along, hitting the high points of the series in a way that should appease both rabid game vets and newcomers. Their best decision, however, was retaining the original voice actors for the leads, whose easy, lived-in camaraderie balances out the potentially distracting slew of celebrity cameos, including Paul Giamatti (Evil Leader), Rosario Dawson (Trusty Sidekick), and John Goodman (John Goodman with Tusks). The colors are bright, the chase scenes snap, and the steady stream of gags should keep kids (and captive adults) from being bored. Also, there's a pretty decent Wilhelm scream joke, which means that Hollywood can finally put that sound effect out to pasture, right? Aieeeee.