- Dean Israelite
- Haim Saban, Brian Casentini, Marty Bowen, Wyck Godfrey
- Dacre Montgomery Naomi Scott RJ Cyler Ludi Lin Becky G. Elizabeth Banks Bryan Cranston Bill Hader Matt Shively Cody Kearsley
- Times Media Films
How does one go about reviving an old IP like Power Rangers? Since its TV release in 1993, it’s been one of the longest running series until the last in 2015. Surely, to release a reboot in 2017, one would have to not only pay homage to the kid-oriented approach of the TV series, but also create something bigger, more interesting and ultimately enjoyable, right? It presents a challenge to a filmmaker to not only please a 5-year old but also an older, more mature audience, namely teenagers.
Given that the cast consisted of mainly 20-something young adults portraying teenagers, it was bound to be an awkward affair – especially considering the more mature tone of this theatrical release. Every Power Rangers episode was something of a ridiculous affair, mostly centering around 18 year olds finding their place within the world, as superheroes and people. The comedy that Haim Saban and his team used was always slapstick, and the tone far less than serious. The special effects left much to be desired, with much of each series’ budget spent on the costume work and pyrotechnics. Much of the effects-intensive scenes used involved heavily choreographed martial arts and practical effects filmed on small scale.
It has to be said that this movie had to bridge two generations technically and with its narrative. It had to be fun while engaging to a more internet-savvy audience, whose eyes have become increasingly aware of 3D animation’s shortcomings. That’s a tough job for anyone to do, and sacrifices had to be made. The 5-year-olds we want to show this movie will likely not enjoy Power Rangers, and it’s mainly down to the tone used here. Everything’s grim and serious, with some fun injected in there – but it’s still a coming of age story revolving around 5 young adults. They all meet in conveniently scripted collisions, find their powers and proceed to learn what working in a team means. It all sounds like your typical Ranger fare until you look at the execution.
Each Ranger had their own demons to face. The Red Ranger, played by Dacre Montgomery was a successful football player, but ultimately destroyed his future after some nasty mischief and now has to rebuild his life. Trini, the Yellow Ranger plays a lesbian stuck in a conservative family, looking for a home of her own where she belongs. The other three each have their own difficulties and the movie mostly centres itself around these struggles.
Rita Repulsa, played by Elizabeth Banks, while a cheesy ripoff from every cheap villain written in the 1980s, is now a gold-mongering beast. This really isn’t the direction I expected from Power Rangers, considering how kid-friendly the old series’ used to be.
While every Power Rangers edition we get has these difficulties, they’re centred around the action sequences. In the movie, we only get a proper Ranger fight in the last 30 minutes. It’s disappointing to see because the final scene is legitimately well done. When we finally get to the end, the series sets itself up for a sequel, which we’re expecting next year.
With all my criticism, there is fun here and but Power Rangers ultimately loses out by not catering to the IP’s main audience: young children. As a Young Adult film, it’s worth looking at. For anyone younger than 10, this is much too serious an affair to keep on DVD. Rather go buy the old Saban-created series from 2015.
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