I feels like it’s been a lifetime ago since I remember running home from school to watch Power Rangers as part of the Fox Kids daily lineup. The Power Rangers were just so cool. Everyone had their favorite Power Ranger, mine was the green/white one that Jason David Frank portrayed. Many of you reading will have a personal memory and connection with the show. The Power Rangers just turned into a forgotten nostalgic act over the years, until now. Today’s social media driven teenagers can finally get a taste and feel of what all of us in our late 20s and early 30s experienced. The new Power Rangers movie is so pleasing, not only to someone that followed the original Rangers, but to the kids and teens being introduced to this movie.
I must say I was skeptical of this new Power Rangers movie, but I was pleasantly surprised how “Power Rangers” it felt. Obviously the actors changed, the production values were amped up, event the screen size was much larger than the TV screens that this show aired on, yet all these changes didn’t affect the feel and tone of what the Power Rangers are. The film is just a lot of fun, plainly put. I geeked out multiple times throughout. The goofiness of the show stayed faithful in this movie. The outrageous and corny lines and jokes are silly enough to make you laugh and allow them to entertain you.
What this movie excelled at was building the individual storylines for each character. Had the last Fantastic Four movie taken this formula, it would have succeeded. The movie was over 2 hours, but it was a well used 120 plus minutes. The filmmakers were patient. They didn’t rush to showcase the Power Rangers in their armor, but rather they established them and focused on them and their teenage problems. It’s relatable that way. The outcasts, jocks, newbies, they all fit in together in as a group of these ideal misfits that have an ultimate purpose. As for the armor, it sure looks a lot better than the material costumes in the show. The armor is similar to that of Iron Man’s. It’s edgy and flashy.
The cast is constructed of relative unknowns, but surrounded by some big time actors like Bryan Cranston, Elizabeth Banks and Bill Hader. Dacre Montgomery plays Jason (Red Ranger), Naomi Scott plays Kimberly (Pink Ranger), RJ Cyler plays Billy (Blue Ranger), Ludi Lin plays Zack (Black Ranger) and Becki G plays Trini (Yellow Ranger). For half the movie I was trying to figure out if Scott was Amanda Crew (uncanny resemblance). Montgomery reminded me very much of Paul Wesley of Vampire Diaries. Cyler may be the most recognizable of the bunch, having played Earl, in Me, Earl and the Dying Girl. The actors did a nice job, with Cyler providing constant comedic relief. He was entertaining. All of the these kids had some sort of a stereotypical surface story to them, but there was a lot more revealed as the story progressed. One of the characters strongly hints at being gay, so I found that to be a progressive.
I loved the references and puns that were planted throughout the movie. There is a really good Transformers pun, that everyone should get a chuckle from. The film is very aware of itself and its premise so the characters make the obvious remarks that are on par with what the audience is probably thinking. It has a bit of Deadpool flare to it, on a very small scale. The film doesn’t take itself seriously, so neither should you, just enjoy all that you’re watching. This version of Power Rangers is darker than what many of us were accustomed in the cartoon. It’s not as kid friendly, the topics, themes, action is more intense. Not to be overlooked is the awesome soundtrack. Recognizable songs that fit with the story makes it an ideal collaboration.
Once it gets rolling the action is pretty satisfactory. The Ranger dino robots do make an appearance and the battle against the creepily imposing Rita Repulsa (Elizabeth Banks)and Goldar (who is now a CGI monster made out of gold) is fun and action-packed. The location of the town and battle looked so much like the one from the New Mexico town in the first Thor movie. I’d be lying if I didn’t say it definitely looked like Transformers also, which I liked for this battle scene. To add the cherry on top, there is a great cameo in that scene from a couple of the OG Rangers.
So they changed a few things from the TV series. As mentioned Goldar is just some monster made out of Gold, sort of like Doomsday was in Batman v Superman. I would have liked a bit more of Rita, as Banks seemed to have the character down pat. They initially teased a romance between Jason and Kimberly, but randomly abandoned it.
Now, to some this will be a positive, but to me they blatantly tried ripping-off the Breakfast Club. The scene where Jason, Kimberly and Billy meet at detention on a Saturday looked all too similar to The Breakfast Club. You’ll know it when you see it. Also, they sort of just focused on Billy, Jason and Kimberly and disregarded Zack and Trini, who first appear much later in the film.
I had a bit of an issue how conveniently all these kids met and were inorganically forced to team up. Yes, they try to play to that concept as part of the plot, but at least explain the purpose of why Trini hangs out in the mountains? She seemed to be the most forced character.
This is a modern Power Rangers that fits today’s society and addresses today’s culture. I had a lot of mark-out (cheering on the inside) moments watching. Nothing brought out my inner kid in a while like this movie did. It’s senseless fun, as it should be. This is a kids movie/show originally that has a lot more thoughtful and serious concepts presented. In a way the Power Rangers have matured over all these years and this is their grown up version. Not only was this Power Rangers bigger and badder, but it was much smarter and more developed than the show that introduced us to these characters. The casting was fitting. Star power taking the undercard in order to build up and let the youngsters take the floor and establish their foundation. Nostalgic for the old geezers that were kids in the 90s and cool for the kids of today. Power Rangers if fun and entertaining for all, old and new fans. It’s morphin time, so morph your way to the theaters to check this out and you won’t be disappointed. “Go, Go, Power Rangers!”
Runtime: 2 hr 4 min
Release Date: March 24, 2017