Mighty Morphin Power Rangers was a big part of not only my childhood, but the childhood of many kids who grew up in the 90s. It may or may not be the source of me being gay (I love you David Yost, if you’re reading this please consider me for a husband.) Despite what I may have claimed amongst my peers growing up I continued to watch every season of power rangers up until Power Rangers RPM wishing I could afford to cosplay as any of the blue rangers (and a few green rangers).
When it was announced that a big budget Power Ranger movie would be released (again) I kind of wanted to audition for the role of Billy, but then realized I had very little chance of getting the role and that more than likely the casting director didn’t want to cast some scrawny twenty something year old who looks like a teenager when they can cast some younger guy in great physical shape as a teenager. Plus I was working on a degree.
Unfortunately I didn’t get to see the film in theatres, I recently purchased the movie via Google Play.
Spoilers and personal observations from this point on, you won’t be able to wake up in your bed the next day wondering how the hell you’re alive.
One of the reasons I didn’t see the movie in theatres is because I was very hesitant about seeing the movie. Based on leaked images from the movie’s production and official artwork for the villains (oh Goldar, what did they do to you?) I was turned off. I was scared this would turn into a Transformers scenario where this film was made because of lack of creativity and money to be made off nostalgia.
I did enjoy the movie though; it had it’s flaws and at times I felt like the actors were told “just channel The Breakfast Club and work with that” because at times it felt like it was a semi modernized Breakfast Club. Minus pot smoking (that we know of), dancing, and unnecessary makeovers.
Quite a bit was changed for this cinematic Power Rangers reboot, the main thing being that all the rangers besides Billy and Kimberly actually have personalities. Starting with Billy he is still a genius, but has been given a small dosage of Sheldon Cooper. He is kind of a mama’s boy and has a deceased father, he may or may not have a disability since he mentions the inability to fully understand humor and sarcasm at times (which is funny because the casting called for someone who can be witty and sarcastic).
Jason in the original 90’s tv series was a focused and disciplined martial artist and a determined leader. Here he’s a jock with no martial arts training (none of the characters have any of their martial arts or gymnastic abilities of the actors from the 90’s television series, but they sure do have muscles). Jason is also known to put the need of helping others before his own personal needs and with a little bit of pep talk from Zordon and Alpha 5 takes on the role of the heroic leader of the team.
Zach’s character was completely rehauled from the Zach of the series. No more is he a fun loving martial artist trying to create a hip hop based form of martial arts, nor is he black. I’m guessing to avoid controversy the casting agency made damn sure not to accidentally cast a black guy as the black ranger and an asian woman as the yellow ranger before filming. Now Zach is still fun loving, a bit of a trickster, and is caring for his sick mother with insecurities associated with it. Also he’s the hottest male in the cast.
Trini is interesting since she is played by a hispanic actress Becky G. Despite not being of asian ancestry and being in a hispanic family, Trini is still named Trini Kwan (I guess her grandfather is asian?) Trini was hyped as being “the first lgbt superhero in film” (IceMan and Constantine disagree), but this really isn’t made a big deal in the film itself outside of her family desiring a normal life and considering her sexuality not normal. She is a loner and does yoga while listening to metal. I like her.
I want to say Kimberly is the closest to her 90’s counterpart. She’s perky, spoiled sweet, and your typical teenage girl. There were moments where I was convinced Naomi Scott and Amy Jo Johnson pulled a freaky friday on all of us to the point where even some of her vocal gestures reminded me alot of Amy Jo Johnson. There are layers to this new Kimberly, she has regrets and isn’t as sweet as honey like she was in the 90s. Also there were times where I noticed chemistry between her and Trini.
Alpha 5 definitely got an upgrade. He is far more competent as a assistant to Zordon, can actually fight if he is needed, Zordon is kind of a dick and only wanted the power rangers to morph so he could resurrect himself because he considers the new team incompetent. I didn’t like Rita, Rita is just boring she wasn’t even scorned by Zordon, she was just power hungry. Oh and Goldar is literally just molten gold. That’s not even scary, gold is one of the softest elements on the periodic table, the rangers could have beaten Goldar with one of Billy’s homemade bombs!
The Story Itself
The story itself is admittingly generic; five teenages with nothing in commong get chosen to become super heroes and defend the earth/Angel Grove from the evil that attack it. Along the way these protagonists become besties with a training/friendship montage. This formula has actually been used in a few seasons of Power Rangers and I have nothing against it. What I do have a problem with is that a good three fourths of the film is devoted to this bonding time. I do understand that time has to be devoted to developing these characters and their relationship with each other and that this bond/friendship is the key to them defeating evil, but they could have discovered that friendship=morphing a little sooner.
WIth the backstory I was…disappointed. I do appreciate mentioning of the Zeo Crystal being the main macguffin though. I think it’s because as a teenager I had discovered the Super Sentai television series that each season of Power Rangers is based on and particularly liked Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger (the season that started off Power Rangers). In Zyuranger the witch Bandora (Rita) cursed the dinosaurs after her son is slain by a TRex (her son started the fight) by selling her soul to Daisatan (Lokar). In what little backstory we have of the Power Rangers adaption Zordon and Rita agreed to three out of five coin toss over earth. Zordon cheated, Rita was trapped in a dumpster while in return Rita trapped Zordon in a time…thing.
However the lack of backstory is actually a good thing for the film despite my complaints about it since it allowed the film to devote more time to the growing friendship between the rangers. I didn’t particularly like how Rita was defeated as it felt very anticlimactic to an already boring character.
The Good Things
Despite feeling too much of the film revolved over the bonding friendship of the rangers it is one of the better parts of the film and it is relevant to the plot. The shout outs to other parts of Power Ranger seasons were also very nice. Amy Jo Johnson and Jason David Frank cameo’s were nice (why wasn’t David Yost invited to cameo?) All of the rangers having actual personalities is also a good thing and it is impressive that it was accomplished since even with two hours it can be hard to flesh out protagonists in a film.
CGI in the film was weird at worst (Goldar…), but it was great to see the Zords and Megazord look so good. Also having the Power Rangers theme from the 1995 movie while the zords are piloted was perfect.
I give Saban’s Power Rangers three Nice Stereos out of five.