Power Rangers review
Anyone (not just kids) will tell you that part of the 1990s couldn’t be understood without looking at one of the biggest phenomenons that debuted at the time, the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. I’m aware that the show is still on TV, though it’s been a long time since I watched it. As a kid of the 90s, I can say that I liked watching it and even held a Power Rangers birthday party when I was in the second grade. Unlike Disney or the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the Power Rangers were something of a fad that I kept in my heart for about three years before I moved on.
For those that don’t know, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers came from Japanese show called Super Sentai. While all the scenes featuring the rangers fighting monsters, puttys and Rita Repulsa came from Japan ala stock footage, the American footage was new and featured new teenagers becoming the rangers to stop evil. I gave the show another watch recently and discovered that it was way cheesier then I remembered. However, there is a fascination with just how cheesy it was and I had fun exploring it. Like a lot of recent super hero movies, our teenage heroes get their turn for a gritty reboot in Power Rangers.
In the Northern California town of Angel Grove, young Jason Scott (played by Dacre Montgomery) ruins his football career after a prank gets him arrested. While in detention, he ends up befriending autistic Billy Cranston (played by RJ Miller) and popular girl Kimberly Hart (played by Naomi Scott). The three end up at a rock quary where Billy is working on uncovering a mysterious object while the too-cool-for-school punk Zack (played by Ludi Lin) and quiet loner Trini (played by Becky G) happen to be at the same time. The objects are rock-like coins that change their lives forever.
All five teenagers wake up the next morning to see that their stronger and more resistant to pain. They agree to go back to the site to look for answers. There they find a space ship that has been hidden for millions of years. Awaiting them is Zodon (played by Brian Cranston), a former ranger who seems to be a part of the ships power grid, and Alpha 5 (played by Bill Hader). The kids are told that the coins chose them to become the new rangers. They have to adapt to their new powers soon to stop the recently awoken witch Ritia Repulsa (played by Elizabeth Banks).
I have to give Power Rangers a lot of credit for attempting to take a lot of the ridiculous concepts for the show and trying to make them more grounded. The results are mixed, even though overall I had fun. The best thing about this movie was something that the show lacked; the chemistry and emotion from the five teenagers. Not only are all five good actors, but the movie takes a lot of time getting to know them and just how they came to form their team.
Even Brian Cranston and Bill Hader do well in adapting their characters to the big screen. One of the weaker performances is Elizabeth Banks. While everyone seems to be playing their parts seriously, she made her character very campy. While she can be fun to watch, it can come off as inconsistent.
Speaking of which, the overall tone seems to mix fine until the end. You’ll be surprised to learn that out heroes don’t morph until way later. Once they do, the movie seems to have trouble sticking to it’s gritty origin, especially when the zords start to fight the larger monsters. It’s not as impressive as Pacific Rim, but it’s better shot then the remake of Godzilla. I’d say the movie is stronger when the characters don’t morph.
I’ll give this four red ranger helmets out of five. I’m surprised how much care went into the script…before the characters become the Power Rangers. It seems that the movies really wants to emulate The Breakfast Club more then it does the TV show is based off of. If you didn’t like the show, your probably not going to like the movie. It’ll probably satisfy former fans like myself and those that want some sci-fi action. I’d say of your even a little curious, then go go see this movie.