Film Review: Power Rangers

The Breakfast Club power-up and do a little more than dance on tables and run around empty hallways. They’re just as misunderstood but now they’ve got a different means to channel all that teenage angst – and it may or may not involve giant robot dinosaurs.

A remake of Haim Saban’s television series, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers (1993) this movie manages to keep its authenticity whilst brandishing a slightly new twist on an old tale.

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A prank escalated and gone horribly wrong leaves Jason under house arrest, his college football dreams dashed and Saturday detention to boot. On the plus side, through detention Jason meets Billy (RJ Cyler) who has a way with tools and helps him with his little anklet problem in exchange for a trip to a quarry on the edge of town. Billy performs an explosive experiment that draws the attention of watchful Zack, Kimberly and Trini (Becky G) as they uncover five coloured coins in the process – Red, Blue, Pink, Black and Yellow.

Realising that something out of the ordinary happened to them at the quarry, and it has something to do with the coins they found, the group make their way back to do some recon and happen across an abandoned spaceship and its occupants: Alpha 5 (Bill Hader) and Zordon (Bryan Cranston). The pair explain to the teenagers what has happened to them and who they have become: Power Rangers – tasked with keeping the world safe. Their first task is finding the evil villain Rita (Elizabeth Banks) who is in search of the Zeo Crystal – Earths life force, which will give Rita the power to tear the world and everyone in it apart.

They have eleven days to train and defeat corrupted ex-ranger Rita or the fate of the world is destruction, starting with Angel Falls. The Power Coins may have chosen them but they’re no team let alone friends, but time is running out so they need to learn how to be both and fast.

PR Team
Though I did watch the series way back when, I’m not going to pretend that I remember the original Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers like the back of my hand as my clearest recollections are of Power Rangers Ninja Storm and Power Rangers Dino Thunder. However I did pick up on a few inside jokes that were made during the movie that made for nice little touches, and I’m sure if the original series is more familiar to you then there are probably more to be seen.

So first nod is that the movie did a great job of building and layering each of the characters which I think can be especially difficult when you have more than two leads. Sometimes it was just a case of one scene with their family, or a drunken admission of a secret, but the dialogue gave the right level of impact, and allowed us to understand certain characteristics.

The whole rag tag group of friends thing was also really fun as their personalities played off of one another nicely, especially Jason and Billy (The Red and Blue Rangers). Sure their whole coming together was a formulaic but its a means to an end, and it felt organic enough to me.

All of that being said, there was one storyline that was far from convincing and that was Kimberly’s (Pink Ranger). I wanted to like her, really I did, but then there was that bullshit story about how she stabbed her friend in the back but for some reason thought she was the victim because they cut her from the group. I know. Maybe because I’m not a teenager I can’t see how that makes any sense but after that I was put off from the woman in pink.

PR Megazords

Okay seeing as how we’ve started to descend down this slippery slope, I’ll just move on to the next thing that bothered me, and that was the disappointing fight scenes. Like I’m not mistaken when I call Power Rangers an action movie am I? There were some pretty cool scenes when they were getting their training, but when it came down to the main event it fell flat in that it felt like they weren’t fighting at all. With Zords yes – but that doesn’t really count.

I didn’t really have a problem with Rita, as she felt like the right sort of villain for the movie, but when you thought about what she wanted and what the Rangers were defending – the goal just seemed a little to large – especially considering they basically got their powers yesterday.

PR RIta

Perhaps the rose coloured glasses of youthful nostalgia of the Power Rangers – paper mache villains and all – wore off, somewhere after the first half hour. We spent so long getting to know the characters as people that the primary goal somehow became secondary, and the ridiculous stone henchmen and obnoxiously large… thing made from molten gold became events to be endured rather than enjoyed.

They saved the world and then it was like – cool that was fun, now we’re just kids with superpowers forever then? Cool. Cool cool cool cool.

It must have been difficult to play with the levels – there was no way this movie had a chance of being successful if they kept to the theme of pantomime villains, yet the authenticity of what the Power Rangers did would have been lost if they focused too much on their personal lives. At the end of the day, despite my nitpicking I did really enjoy the movie – seriously! I thought it was very well made – albeit a tad to long – and think it will only get better with the sequels.

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