It’s a mighty morphin’ good time
The Skid Reviewer
Whenever the film industry tries to reboot a beloved, pre-existing property, it always feels reconstructed in a way to be more accessible for all kinds of audiences, and less specific than the original may have ever been.
The best thing that can be said about the new Power Rangers movie is that it doesn’t ever feel like it betrays the core values of the Power Rangers franchise.
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That may be a disappointing selling point of the film though for those who never quite connected to the property in the first place but are going in expecting it to be a much different or darker approach than its previous incarnations.
Make no mistake, this Power Rangers is still just as campy and cheesy as the original Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers, but it just looks much better than that early ’90s version could ever be.
To put it simply, this is very much a film for the fans out there who always wondered what Power Rangers might look like if the budget for the special effects and action sequences matched the ambition of them.
Taking place in the small town of Angel Grove, the film follows the same basic structure of the original 90s incarnation, telling the story of what happens when five very different and seemingly unconnected high schoolers stumble upon an ancient spaceship buried underneath their town.
Discovered with it are five specially colored alien discs, one for each of the kids, that turn them into super-powered versions of their previous selves, stronger and faster than any normal person could be.
None of the characters feel particularly accepted or understood by anyone, until they all find themselves in the exact same place at the same time, and are given gifts most kids could only ever dream of receiving.
Power Rangers can struggle to find the right tone at times, especially during the muddled and haphazardly-paced middle section when the team are training. Occasionally, the film manages to capture the sense of wonder and joy that audiences want from their superhero origin stories, but this also clashes noticeably with the much slower and leisurely-paced opening act.
It’s only during the final 30 minutes or so that Power Rangers feels like it manages to perfectly nail its blend of campy fun and emotional stakes in a final battle that is as visually exciting as it is well-staged and executed.
On that same note, director Dean Israelite and screenwriter John Gatins are never afraid to have fun with this film, and that feels like it should be applauded. This is not by any means the “serious” version of Power Rangers like we’ve seen so many recent blockbuster reboots try to do with their properties, and as a whole it succeeds because of the clear love and energy brought to it by everyone involved.
Coming off the mildly inventive sci-fi found-footage film Project Almanac, Israelite is the latest young filmmaker to be seemingly plucked from obscurity and given the opportunity to prove his worth through the means of large scale, blockbuster filmmaking.
The result isn’t a perfect blockbuster by any means, as the emotional aspects of Power Rangers do struggle to come through from time to time. But Israelite directs both the super-powered action scenes and mundane days of his characters’ lives in such an equally dynamic and spirited manner that he seems like the perfect person to bring Power Rangers to life for a whole new generation.
Power Rangers likely won’t do much for those who never liked the property in the first place. But for those who grew up with it, or found it through the many different incarnations throughout the years, it provides the kind of passionate, loving reboot that we very rarely see from the studio system nowadays – one that goes deeper into its mythology without ever losing the camp element that made it so much fun in the first place.
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(The Skid Reviewer is a YouTube channel run by two comic book fans from Nagaland who make videos about anything that catches their fancy)