You have to wonder at what point Hollywood decided it was acceptable to just ignore making original stories and just keep on remaking old stories. Disney seems to be hell bent on remaking all of their animated classics, and slowly we are seeing less original content hit our screens, with studios just regurgitating films which they know will be a hit at the box office. And you have to think that is the only reason Warner Bros. produced a new Power Rangers movie.
Growing up most of us knew the story of the Power Rangers. Five ordinary teenagers who were chosen by fate and the gods to be able to morph into crime fighting, alien destroying superheroes. Since the Power Rangers debut in 1994, there has been 24 different seasons (with different reincarnations of the superheroes), and this movie is the 25th reincarnation that we really didn’t need. Expectations for the movie weren’t incredibly high. Director Dean Israelite had a lot of criticism to overcome, but with the inclusion of Elizabeth Banks as the villain Rita Repulsa, and Bryan Cranston as the ever reliable Zordon many were hopeful that this movie would add something fresh and different to the franchise, however the movie falls well short of the mark.
The movie does bring us some fresh new talent in the form of the Rangers, with the team consisting of Dacre Montgomery as Jason Scott/Red Ranger, Naomi Scott as Kimberly Hart/Pink Ranger, RJ Cyler as Billy Cranston/Blue Ranger, Becky G as Trini Kwan/Yellow Ranger and Ludi Lin as Zack Taylor/Black Ranger. The five work well as actors individually, but a dry script and too much focus on fight scenes mean that they never really get a chance to connect as the Power Rangers. From this point on I am solely going to refer to the characters by their colour.
The frustrating thing is that the film really did have potential. There were a whole bunch of plot points that were sitting in the palm of the screen writers hand, waiting to be elaborated on, were but just left dangling. There was much hype around the release of the movie regarding the yellow power ranger’s sexuality, that she was a lesbian – a first for a superhero, a plot element that Israelite described as pivotal to the plot…only it wasn’t. The yellow power ranger only has her sexuality mentioned as “girlfriend troubles” and from that point on its never mentioned again. In fact, all of the power rangers have incredibly interesting back stories which would all make for a fascinating watch if they had all been elaborated on a bit further, but instead they it was left to the viewers to imagine what the five main characters on our screen were going through instead of actually telling us.
The editing of the movie was also incredibly sloppy and confusing. Some edits in the film were so abrupt and unusual that you could’ve told me that the sound editing wasn’t completed and I would’ve nodded my head and said “seems legit”. I’m pretty sure halfway through the final fight scene the editors just completely forgot the yellow and black power rangers were even a thing, and only remembered when they noticed they were only consistently using 3 shots over and over again.
Power Rangers isn’t a completely painful watch. If you were a massive Power Rangers fan as a kid then this movie might satisfy you for 2 hours (there are a few nods to the music and catchphrases we all became so accustomed to in the TV series). The film does have its comedic moments (albeit some of them are cheap grabs at a laugh) and you can understand what the filmmakers were trying to achieve by preaching about friendship and igniting a knew love for the ’90s superheroes so many of us are familiar with. Ultimately though, if you’re looking for an action packed movie that also develops characters and plot points into something worthwhile, then there are more enjoyable films out there to watch. A sequel is already in the works from Lionsgate, so it’ll be interesting to see if they have learned from their mistakes, or if they’re just interested in churning out another movie from the money making machine.