Go, Go Power Rangers!
Haim Saban, Marty Bowen, Wyck Godfrey, Brian Casentini
John Gatins, Matt Sazama, Burk Sharpless, Michele Mulroney, Keiran Mulroney, Haim Saban, Shuki Levy
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers
Yes, I saw the movie and yes I thoroughly enjoyed it! Don’t judge me! Based on Haim Saban’s ridiculously popular Power Rangers franchise, specifically the original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, which was created using Toei’s Sentai Series, the new film is actually pretty good. Where the film truly deviates from most iterations of the show is actual character development, and apparently that doesn’t sit well with some viewers. I mean seriously, the issue some people have with the movie is there is too much time spent building the characters. I took my daughter Jacinda to this and she’s not even a fan and she was interested in it from the commercial, and actually enjoyed it as well.
Establishing the Setup & Cast
Here’s the thing though, it actually works for this version. The movie begins with a prologue scene of sorts, setting up the big bad Rita Repulsa (Elizabeth Banks) and hero turned mentor Zordon (Bryan Cranston) at odds after a betrayal. Fast forward 65 million years and we’re introduced to Jason Scott (Dacre Montgomery) as he pulls off a prank with his friend. It goes wrong and he takes the rap for the whole thing, landing him in Angel Grove Saturday detention for the rest of the year with most of the breakfast club; Geek Billy Cranston (RJ Cyler), and fallen cheerleader Kimberly Hart (Naomi Scott). After helping Billy up to the local quarry for an experiment and running into Kimberly, perpetual new girl Trini Kwan (Becky G), and bad boy Zack Taylor (Ludi Lin), they all end up with strange coins and their adventure begins.
What comes next is pretty much your standard super hero film, and it works. Seeing as how the show never really gave the characters an origin, stretching it out and giving them a reason to care about what they’re fighting for, and for each other actually makes you care not only about the stakes, but the characters themselves. We get actual glimpses of their home life, and their back stories aren’t always what you’d expect. National and worldwide (I’m looking at you Russia) attention has already been given to both RJ Cyler’s Billy being the first autistic superhero on screen, and Becky G’s Trini being LGBTQ superhero, and Dacre Montgomery’s Jason isn’t the normal jock. It all gives the characters depth, while they’re training, and getting to know one another, and it’s actually key to the story. Sorry to bore you guys, waiting for them to don their cool new armor, and it is pretty damned cool.
Moments & Character
But more than the backstories there are some really fun character moments and characters, period. Ludi Lin’s Zack is a lot of fun with his daredevil, devil may care attitude, but where it could come off as forced or fake he genuinely seems to be having the time of his life with the powers, however he and Becky G as Trini get the least to do. She mostly gets to be the loner and say “I told you so” until they finally bond. Montgomery and Scott do well in their roles, breathing just a bit more dimension into their characterizations of Jason and Kimberly respectively, but it’s RJ Cyler as Billy who immediately wins you over. Cinda and I both knew right away he was going to be our favorite. His endearing kindness, and optimism are just infectious, and it’s easy to see why the rest become so protective of him as he’s truly the heart of the team. Elizabeth Banks chews scenery like it’s her diet, and she’s a perfect mix of scary and sensual, and she’s actually dangerous as hell! Half way through the movie I was like “I really hope they don’t kill her” because she was just awesome. She was the complete camp-factor the movie needed, and even she wasn’t too over the top. Bryan Cranston’s Zordon is a bit more curmudgeonly than the TV show version, but there’s a reason behind it, and Bill Hader’s Alpha-5 is a lot less annoying than the TV version, funnier too, in a dark and sadistic sort of way, but he’s a helpful sarcastic little guy.
Power Rangers the Movie
The action for the most part is relegated to the final 30 minutes of the movie, with some training and Rita stuff sprinkled in the middle. But when it actually hits, it’s non-stop and a lot of fun. The music hits at the right time, the action ramps up, and then it’s over before you know it. Sadly it definitely needed at least one more battle in their armors before the end but again, origin story. Its the way you feel about every origin story, you just wish they’d gotten a little more of something in before the final fight, but such is the way of the origin film. What this films sets up is the beginnings of a complete re-imaging, free of using recycled footage, and free to tell their own stories, and I for one look forward to the next film. Go, Go Power Rangers!