Power Rangers (2017) – Dir. Dean Israelite.
As is probably a common theme for reviews being posted about this film, there was a certain level of apprehension for me going in to this screening. Sure, the trailers looked quite cool (although the style of the new suits left a bitter taste in my mouth) but also, the ‘Power Rangers’ were a massive part of my childhood and every incarnation of the show since the original show back in 1993, has paled in comparison. Some may this say this is due to the fact that i got older…please! Well, maybe…but the original was the best, simple as!
So, the movie kicks off with a cool origin story about the original (prehistoric original) team and their demise, which paves the way for Zordon having to find and recruit a new group of feisty teens to don the famous suits. Fast forward to modern day and this is where the story finds the heroes we know and love; Jason, Kimberley, Billy, Trini and Zack. The story from here on in is pretty much your run of the mill origin story about how they all meet and come to be the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers…
The most interesting part of all this, is how close it plays out to the original writers previous script, ‘Chronicle.’ I imagine they chose him to write the script having seen that film, and he tried to take it in a different direction, since, you know, he’d already told that story before! Landis was quickly fired from the film and John Gatins was hired as replacement. He proceeded to write was is quite literally a version of Chronicle, written for a younger audience. Understandable to see why Landis slated the trailer…
However similar to ‘Chronicle’, this is still an enjoyable journey to see the characters take. It seems perhaps a little rushed, they all seemed to start leaping canyons and diving hundreds of feet a little too soon – but then, they had a lot to cram into the 2 hour run time. One character that suffers the most, which I was personally gutted about, was Rita Repulsa. The main villain of the piece with an awesome backstory hinted at, doesn’t quite get the screen time she perhaps deserves. On top of that, Elizabeth Banks’ portrayal treads the line of being far too hammy for the vibe the rest of the cast seemed to be going for. In a film that seems to want to be taken seriously as a coming of age superhero flick for teens, the homages to the original cheesiness just seem to clash at times. They could have done a lot more with Rita and gone a little darker than they ultimately chose to after a promising start…
For the most part, the young main cast do well filling the shoes of the original shows characters. Until, that is, until things get a little deep around a camp fire. Everyone begins sharing emotional stories and the acting just falls a little flat. There are moments where they manage to redeem themselves shortly after though. So all is not lost!
Overall the movie is a lot of fun. I have some contention, mainly with the suits, Alpha 5 and the zords, but it wasn’t enough to spoil my enjoyment of the film for what it was. In particular, the Krispy Kreme references throughout and how it openly uses it all for comic effect was a brilliant touch. Elizabeth Bank’s comedy chops come into play nicely at several points.
I liked it enough to know that I’ll be checking out the next chapter and I look forward to seeing where they go and who they bring in as future villains. I have high hopes for Lord Zedd popping up at some point in what is apparently aimed to be a 6-7 film arc.
I can’t imagine many adults going unless they were a fan of the original series, in which case – it’s good enough that you’re safe to risk it! If you’re not familiar with the story and just figured it’ll be like the Marvel movies as of late, I urge you to stay away – you’ll only be disappointed.
Oh, and be sure to stay for the mid-credits sequence…it’s short, but a nice little tease.