Power Rangers: A Mostly Mighty Morphin’ Movie

I suspect whether you’ll be go-going to or stay-staying home for Power Rangers depends on how much you loved the original TV show and movie, but this film is, for the most part, a fun ride.

You know the plot don’t you?

Five teenagers inherit power coins and Zords (dinosaur fight machines) from Zordon (who is an alien trapped inside a wall and also Bryan Cranston) and must morph into Power Rangers to save the world from the malicious, aptly named alien, Rita Repulsa.

Expect to watch a movie about brightly coloured teenagers fighting extra-terrestrial evil and I don’t think you’ll be too disappointed.

That said it takes a while to get to the brightly coloured part, and there’s a fair share of angsty preamble before it’s morphin’ time.

Power Rangers

Gone are the relentlessly chipper rangers of your childhood, replaced with a rag-tag bunch of misfits painted (red, pink, blue, black and yellow) with a thoroughly modern brush. The writers have at least tried to round out the characters with sympathetic vaguely interesting backstories: Jason is a rebellious ex-football captain, Trini’s family doesn’t get her, Kimberly’s a social pariah, Zack’s an overburdened trailer-park kid and Billy is “on the spectrum”.

Mercifully amidst the turmoil (both super heroic and mundane) there are moments of levity, including lines from the show.

Power Rangers - Rita Repulsa

Apart from character updates, the lore has had a once-over too, and mostly, I suspect, in ways that will delight rather than anger long-time fans. The first act moves along quite successfully, but the cracks become more obvious after that. The tonal unevenness between colourful kids’-property and reimagined gritty reboot mean that we get scary and sad bits that may prove a little too graphic and too maudlin for children.

Sadly the biggest let-down is Elizabeth Banks’ Rita, whose erratic campness would have gelled much better in the 1995 film.

Power Rangers is uneven but generally enjoyable in spite of its inherent pitfalls. I smiled more than I frowned. I’d say, “expect sequels”.


Saban’s Power Rangers, directed by Dean Israelite, opens 24 March 2017 nationwide.

Endnotes:
*I don’t think the producers, director or production designer know what a mastodon is.

Power Rangers A Mastodon Maybe
A Mastodon Maybe?

**Super fans, worry not – the theme song makes an appearance and even my cold black heart swelled under its influence.

***If you liked the film go grab a donut at Krispy Kreme because I suspect they paid for it.

Jared Viljoen
Jared is a cantankerous designer looking for love in all the wrong places and living vicariously through television. Sometimes he makes things.

Leave a Reply