Saban’s Power Rangers directed by Dean Israelite (Project Almanac), took a childhood TV show and made it modern and up to date while keeping its core essence intact from where it started. This is a definitely a reboot as we get an origin story of how five teenagers who don’t know each other being brought together by fate to become the next generation of superheroes to protect the town of Angel Grove as well as Earth from menacing alien creatures and villains who want to conquer Earth.
I honestly welcome reboots and remakes because it’s a way to see a story and characters you already know and told from a different perspective. These movies should definitely be used towards material that was not good the first or maybe even second time around (Hint Hint Super Mario Bros.)
I enjoyed this movie quite a bit. Of course for nostalgic reasons but also because I experienced something different that wasn’t there in the TV and the movies. First off the teenagers destined to become superheroes were not perfect. In the TV show, they practically were good at EVERYTHING. Pure in heart, great in school, all of them attractive, able to do any kind of sport or athleticism. There was little to no flaw at all. In this movie, each one has their own personal turmoil to deal with some more severe than others but these teenagers had their own lives to deal with and on top of that have the huge pressure of becoming superhero in days. With the little info we get from their backstories, I think they are good enough to make these characters not only likable but relatable.
Each of them are very unique in their own way but surprisingly Billy Cranston, (The Blue Ranger) played by RJ Cyler was the breakout star for me. He received most of the comedic lines, he was the most down to earth character. He was the heart of the team. I am glad the movie chose to focus on him more than the obvious choice of the leader Jason (The Red Ranger) played by Dacre Montgomery who is sort of our way into the story.
Another thing is the subtle easter eggs and throwbacks to the original material. This movie was very self-aware. Another movie that did a good job at that was the live action Scooby-Doo movies. Say what you will about them but those movies knew their audience and was self-aware of the source material and made fun of it. There is a line given by Alpha 5 voiced by Bill Hader, the talking robot who assist in making these teens heroes that is probably the funniest line in the movie because it reminded you of one of the big things that were obvious from the first film that was hard not to notice. I won’t spoil it for you but you will know when you hear it.
Another thing this reboot did better at was their villain. Rita Repulsa may not be the lovable over dressed grumpy villain we all know but for this movie, Elizabeth Bank’s performance in this movie was good and creepy. She delivered on taking this character and actually making her an effective adversary. She wasn’t a comic relief as she is from the show. Even though I would laugh at some of her lines but that is because she was a shit talker, she had wit and didn’t hold back when it came to hurting them.
Here is where the movie fell off for me. It was the writing. The plot is good, nice straight to the point story for a beginning franchise. Most of this movie is about them creating a team and a friendship to be worthy of the suits to help with their quest. You don’t see a lot of fighting until towards the end of the film. How they all end up in the same place to receive their powers is very lazy. Some of the lines given from the actors fell flat that wasn’t effective or funny at all. I also didn’t believe the full chemistry of the 5 of them together. It didn’t seem forced but I didn’t believe these guys are a team yet.
I was also a little disappointed by the fighting choreography in the movie. Even the live action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie has some excellent fighting sequences and martial art skills. Power Rangers had that too but it looked more acrobatic vers fighting. Still entertaining to watch but could be improved. Especially after watching that amazing fighting styles from the more gritty and desirable fan made film. I think this movie went somewhere in the middle because when they do fight or get hurt, they get hurt. They have the bruises and a little blood shed to prove it. The look for their suits were good but the zords look just as cluttered as the transformer’s look from the current Michael Bay franchise. You couldn’t tell for the most part what prehistoric animal these zords represented. The design could have been better.
Overall, this movie represented a good example of how reboots should be made. Take material and characters and make it your own. Give the audience what they are used to but twist it a little bit to make it current. They up the stakes with the danger factor making this enjoyable to watch for anyone and not just for kids. I am glad they fixed or I should say changed up the ethnicity with the color of their suits for obvious reasons. The audience is definitely anyone who has watched the show in the 90’s and either enjoyed it or curious to see how they have updated it. If you were never a fan of the franchise, and you don’t have kids, this movie has the potential to come of a little corny. I for one geek’d out from this movie and would actually watch this film again because it is fun to watch. Also stay for a mid credit scene that will make any hard core fan of Power Rangers go crazy with excitement.