When the trailers first dropped for the rebooted Power Rangers movie, it’s fair to say the reception was rather tepid. Was a new Power Rangers movie really needed? Even if it was, is a dark, gritty remake the best route to go down? The new 2017 Power Rangers hopes to be the start of a new series of movies, but if that is to work, the first film has to set the right tone off the bat.
Power Rangers was a large part of me growing up, Power Rangers was absolutely massive back in the 90s, so the nostalgia factor is pretty huge here! The original was well known for it’s over the top cheesiness and fight scenes, here, the movie gets a palette swap, gone are the endless backflips and silly sound effects, in come a team of dysfunctional teens, who have to come to terms with their new found destiny.
For those not in the know, Power Rangers follows the adventure of 5 teens, who come across a mysterious power, which enables them, to morph into the Power Rangers suits and save the world. A pretty formulaic Saturday morning show plot! In this version, we still have the same 5 rangers returning. We have Jason the Red Ranger, and the leader of the team. He is once again by Kimberly (Pink), Billy (Blue), Zack (Black) & Trini (Yellow). Though it’s not all sunshine in this version of Angel Grove, each our of heroes all suffer from their own personal conflicts.
The plot follows our heroes trying to prevent a revived Rita Repulsa, from uncovering the hidden Zeo crystal buried under Angel Grove. Elizabeth Banks is clearly having a blast playing the green clad villain! Bringing a fine balance between creepy and over the top dramatics! Bryan Cranston takes up the role of Zordan, bringing his intensity to the weary mentor of the rangers. His robotic assistant Alpha also returns, voiced by comedian Bill Hader, who is slightly more annoying than he is quirky! The new redesigned Alpha just doesn’t feel as good as the original model.
By far the most positive aspect of the movie is the characters themselves. The first two acts of the movie feature very little Ranger action, and focuses on the teens themselves trying to get their acts together and overcome their personal demons. Jason has to deal with losing his promising sporting career, Billy has to cope with his autism, Kimberly has to suffer the consequences of bullying, whereas both Zack & Trini both have family issues back in their homes. These are no way the best candidates for being a hero, but it’s their camaraderie that helps us feel for their progression. The entire cast do a strong job representing their character, but the stand out has to be RJ Cyler as the Blue Ranger, whose sheer enthusiasm in their situation has you laughing along with him and supporting our Blue Ranger to become a superhero he wants to become!!
But to be honest, we’re mostly here for the Morphing, Zords and the Mecha action! The final act is where that all takes place, the action is pretty high octane, and the Zords don’t look overtly tacky, though the final Megazord transformation could have had a bit more of an epic feel, as in the show. It kind of, just happens in a hole. The original Power Rangers theme is used briefly in one scene, and it works wonders on that nostalgia vibe!! It’s a pity the action scenes take a back seat in the movie, as the new look armor makes the fighting looks so much more realistic, and less cartoon like! It would be hard to make the retro spandex outfits fit in here look as intimidating! It also makes sense how this armour would enhance their fighting abilities.
Films such as Transformers unashamedly plug various products in their movies, this movie is also guilty of such product placement. Though it’s so well incorporated into the movie, it brings out loads of laughs, and reminds us that Power Rangers isn’t all grim and moody! One of the finer examples of commercials within a movie!
If movie goers are expecting a throwback to the originals, you’ll be left not impressed! What this film does is set up a solid foundation for any future releases, the characters are well developed enough, for fans to care about, and the fact the film hasn’t crashed and burned at the Box Office is a promising sign., and keep an eye out for some cameos for all you old skool fans! It may not be in the same league as any of the top end Marvel superhero movies. Now that the characters have been set up, hopefully we see far more action in subsequent releases. It’s a film far more layered than you would think, with a cast that is endearing, hopefully they manage to make a sequel so we can see where they take this saga.