- on Friday, 24 March 2017 08:00
- by Loron Hays
Well, Super Sentai it isn’t. As the bedrock of the kids’ television show, that’s not exactly a good thing for fans of the original series to hear. All is not yet lost, though. The rock quarry is back and so too is Bryan Cranston (who once voiced Snizzard from the popular television show). This time, though, a simple storyline grounds the picture from being the celebration of camp and cheese it ought to be. There’s just not much to this somewhat serious $100 million production and, because it takes the new (but troubled) guys and dolls 3/4ths of the movie to learn how to work together, we just about miss seeing them in their new breast-enhancing workout gear.
It's an origin story and perhaps one we didn't really need.
Mostly unknown, the new cast of teenage warriors – newcomers Dacre Montgomery, Naomi Scott, RJ Cyler, Becky G, and Ludi Lin – are surprisingly interesting characters with different backgrounds that helps to tackle some current issues facing high school teens. Homosexuality! Autism! Wow! These young talents provide fresh faces for some familiar characters. There’s just little in the way of a serious commitment to the creative and the outlandish when it comes to considering this a true Mighty Morphin Power Rangers movie. It’s almost as if someone over at Saban is too embarrassed of the show’s goofball origins and was willing to go only so far with what it used to embrace so gleefully.
You are better served going in to this version of director Dean Isreallite’s take on the show with an accepting mind and lowered expectations. It is a John Hughes teen dramedy first and foremost; there is a bit of ass-kicking, but it is sprinkled only in brief segments and saves its best bits for an all too brief battle at the end. Power Rangers needed to be better than this to maintin interest. I’m sure the new film will still earn its money back and will still get a sequel that could be the movie fans wanted in this one, but THIS film really needed to whip its fans into a fury and not let them down.
Saban’s Power Rangers IS an interesting picture as it is essentially TWO films in one. The first is a decent teen coming-of-age story that is intelligently shot and handled rather well as the teens learn their new powers and are guided through the Morphing Grid and the halls of the high school. The second part is where, for me, the film falls apart due to what comes across as a half-assed attempt at a Mighty Morphin Power Rangers reboot. The suits look ridiculous and the enemy, an updated fx-heavy version of Goldar, makes me long for the days of stunt men jumping up and down in big rubber suits.
While there have been several incarnations of the show through the years, it was never pulled off with any amount of decent acting. All that was an afterthought due to some pretty wonky fantasy elements and ridiculously fun suits. It was a ludicrous show, but it embraced that foolishness with loveable charm. Adults filled the roles and they “acted” horribly through each and every scent outside of their cool suits. With Power Rangers, we only get the team in the suits for the final part in this two-hour movie. It is much like the clipped theme song, brought back here for less than a minute. We are not quite there yet, but the characterization is pretty strong...so the next one ought to be better, right?
Co-starring Bill Hader as the voice of Alpha 5, Power Rangers features these five high school students eventually coming together to go toe-to-toe with an army of stone golems called Putties and Goldar, a giant golden monster that was better imagined in the television show. The film also features Elizabeth Banks as Rita Repulsa, a former power ranger who has gone rogue and she’s sometimes the best thing on the screen. She “gets” this production and turns the camp to 11.
So, no, it’s not the cast – or its characters which features super heroes who are proudly autistic (BRAVO) and gay (BRAVO) – that is the problem here. It’s the teetering of the film’s seriousness in the tone that is a misstep. It’s the unwillingness to be bold with the action and fully embrace the original show instead of turning away from it.
“Go, go, Power Rangers!” has become “So-so Power Rangers!”
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi violence, action and destruction, language, and for some crude humor
Runtime: 124 mins
Director: Dean Israelite
Writer: John Gatins
Cast: Dacre Montgomery, Naomi Scott, RJ Cyler
Genre: Action | Sci-fi
Tagline: It's morphin time!
Memorable Movie Quote: "Pee in that cup!"
Theatrical Distributor: Lionsgate
Official Site: http://www.powerrangers.movie/
Release Date: March 24, 2017
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date: No details available.
Synopsis: Saban’s Power Rangers follows five ordinary teens who must become something extraordinary when they learn that their small town of angel grove - and the world - is on the verge of being obliterated by an alien threat. Chosen by destiny, our heroes quickly discover that they are the only ones who can save the planet. But to do so, they will have to overcome their real-life issues and before it's too late, band together as the Power Rangers.
No details available.