power rangers movie posterLionsgate
2017
PG-13

“I’ve killed Rangers before.”

Five ordinary teens must become something extraordinary when they learn 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 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.

Let me try to explain my history with the 90s phenomenon that is the Power Rangers franchise: as I would mention in the podcast the Exalted Geeks and I would record after watching this reboot of sorts, I was 19 when the original iteration of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers hit the Fox affiliate in my neck of the woods. Even though I was still religiously watching shows like Animaniacs and the most excellent Batman The Animated Series, the Power Rangers didn’t seem all up my ally. Then, while staying at a friend’s house, I was made to watch an episode of the show, to which I remember thinking, “Wow, this is terrible…when’s the next episode?” It was a combination of a bad soap opera and Voltron. On the one hand, I knew it was horrible, but I couldn’t stop watching. Soon I found myself catching every episode; well, up until the middle of the Turbo version of the show. That’s when I decided this was too much camp for even myself to care about. And that really does say a lot.

Anyway, all this to lead up to the fact that I watched this recent reboot of the Power Rangers in movie form. Since the big thing now is to reboot everything from everyone’s childhood, it was inevitable. With the Power Rangers, while I was very much familiar with the source material, I didn’t have as close a personal connection as I would have been had I been a child when the show came out. As such, I can’t really complain that Hollywood is destroying my childhood, or whatever. Which is why I kind of lean more toward the “it was all right, I enjoyed it” side of the split reaction this movie is having.

Power Rangers, the movie itself, is what it is, and that is an action movie with “teens” and a strong sci-fi bent and giant robots fighting giant monsters and stuff. Sure, the tone is quite a bit darker, and the teens suffer from the put-upon angst that every teen and young adult seems to have in movies nowadays. But, I do find that better than the goody-goody do-gooders of the television show. And here, Zordon isn’t the all-wise, all-knowing head inside a giant terrarium; he’s more of a cranky jerk trapped inside a wall of a space ship. And Rita Repulsa was originally the Green Ranger before she turned on her Rangers, which was lead by Zordon, who was a Red Ranger, and not a space witch that was trapped in a dumpster on the moon. But…I like that angle. It works here, I think.

Mind you, that doesn’t mean that I don’t have my points of contention. Like, for instance, the over-abundance of Krispy Kreme product placements. I mean, it was to the point where it was part of the dialog and factored into the search for the MacGuffin Crystals. There’s a scene where, while the Rangers are busy tussling with the giant monster outside, we cut to a shot of Rita sitting down to try out a couple of donuts inside the Krispy Kreme. I haven’t seen this level of blatant shoehorning of product placement like this since the Mountain Dew soda machine turned into a robot in the first Transformers movie.

Overall, though, I did enjoy the movie for what it was. It didn’t try to be a carbon copy of the source material, yet didn’t crap all over it as well, unlike certain recent movies involving giant transforming robots or mutated reptile martial arts enthusiasts. The story was good, the cast had some good chemistry between them, and had just the right amount of cheese to keep the whole “grim n’ gritty” in check. Yeah, if you’re a fan of the series, go ahead and check it out. Results may vary.

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