Power Rangers. A Review
Two years ago the internet was treated to what at the time felt like the coolest thing ever. Joseph Kahn, a director mostly known for his music videos, unleashed a Power Rangers short film that well, blew my mind. At this time we had not quite hit reboot capacity and the idea of a darker take on my beloved Mighty Morphen Power Rangers was everything I did not know I wanted. The short which I will plug in below this paragraph,is what I believe to be the best fan made film of all time, up there with the Punisher "Dirty Laundry" short. When I heard they were actually rebooting the franchise and giving it a more adult oriented tone I was excited, but my excitement waned and like most people I had lost almost all excitement by the time of release. This version of the Rangers is a bit of both worlds, it is insufferably corny and full of plot holes but there is something rooted in reality about this movie. I kept wanting to hate it, it kept giving me reasons to hate it but for some reason I don't hate it. It is not a good movie, don't get me wrong but....I don't hate it.
Power Rangers actually begins pretty similar to the aforementioned fan film. The earth is scorched and what seems like the last remaining Power Rangers have been defeated and are dying at the hands of Rita Repulsa. The Red Ranger in his last breath calls down a meteor (plausibly the one that killed the dinosaurs) and mashes the power of the Rangers deep into the earth to be found by those seen as worthy. We are then dragged through the unrealistic lives of some high school students in Angel Grove California. Characters are introduced, and in some cases introduced several times and we get a feel for the diversity of the group. The cliches' are abundant, but again Power Rangers is kinda supposed to fall into the campy camp right? You can smell the manufactured teen angst from the hallway and we get a feel of what the tone of this movie is going to be, dark by high school standards and exhaustively corny. It's frustrating but its what we get. The group will have to come together and share their deepest darkest secrets around a campfire before they will be able to defeat Rita and save their beloved town and probably the world, the writers did not think that far.
I may be getting into the "Get off my lawn" part of my life, but I had no idea who any of the Rangers were before this movie, but I think that plays into their favor. No one is going for an Oscar here but as for a Power Rangers movie they are fine. I will throw more blame on the writers than the actors, the dialogue in the movie is utter garbage. Everyone is just spewing out exposition or comedic relief. Speaking of comedic relief Bill Hader as Alpha 5 is almost worth the price of admission. The writers must have poured all their best stuff into the character or more likely Mr. Hader took over the role and made it great. At first I wondered why in the world Brian Cranston would ever say yes to a Power Rangers movie. He seems above it and at a time in his career where his time is limited I'm sure he has one of the Cohen brothers on hold or something. Turns out not only was Brian Cranston a voice actor in the original TV series, the character of Billy Cranston is named after him! What makes more sense is that he is basically a voice actor here, the majority of his screen time is as a CGI wall. Elizabeth Banks plays Rita Repulsa and is not quite as frightening as my childhood mind remembers. Her motivations are blurry and she does not get much time on screen. While the villain is a little weak and the dialogue rough it is the characters that drive this movie.
So if the acting is not important, the dialogue is embarrassing and the plot is full of holes, the action must be great! It's a Power Rangers movie for gods sake! nothing matters except Zord's and shitty karate. I am sorry to say that the action in this movie, is dull and not present enough. There are more mountain parkour scenes than there are actual scenes with Power Rangers fighting bad guys. When they do it is against some pretty lame rock monsters that get dispatched way too easily. Look, I like Zord's as much as the next guy, but 15 minutes of them is not worth the work it took to get there. I'm not going to lie, when they all finally morph and take the controls of their own Zord's ,that original Mighty Morphen Power Rangers theme popped up it made me happier than everything else in the movie combined.
Power Rangers was not a total disaster, like I said before with all it's faults there was something that drew me to this movie after it was done. My gut wants to give the credit to director Dean Israelite, while the movie was not the most cinematic blockbuster I have ever seen but Israelite found a way to ground the Power Rangers in reality and not make it look totally stupid. My first thought after the movie had ended was "I did not like that, but I hope they get a sequel". It's the tone and the characters that I want to return for, but I am hoping that they learn from their mistakes. Not unlike the Rangers themselves there is potental here that needs to be tapped. Maybe with a little less preamble and more time to focus on the villain and the Rangers actually in their suits, this franchise could be something that is a little less than disappointing.