Release Date: March 24th, 2017
Directed by: Dean Israelite
Starring: Dacre Montgomery, Naomi Scott, RJ Cyler, Becky G, Ludi Lin, Bill Hader, Bryan Cranston, and Elizabeth Banks
Power Rangers retells the classic epic of the original Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers Series, which aired from 1993 until 1995 in the US. I know that many people will disagree that the original series of Power Rangers was epic. In fact, it was anything but, if we’re being honest. But to me the original Power Rangers (Mighty Morphin, Zeo, Turbo, in Space) is a deep, important part of my childhood (the first episode of Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers aired two months to the day before I was born, and having two older brothers, well, the Rangers were just a way of life), so I knew going into this movie that it would be a nostalgia trip.
This isn’t the Power Rangers as we might remember it, though. This is more than a campy, cheesy, kids TV show where they beat the bad guy in 30 minutes and everything is hunky dory until next week. This version of the Power Rangers tells a coming-of-age story.
Five teenagers, Jason, Zack, Trini, Kimberly, and Billy find the Power Coins, buried 65 million years ago by Zordon, a previous Ranger. From here, the outcast teenagers meet Alpha 5 as well as what could be called the “spirit” of Zordon (played by Bryan Cranston), who tells the new Rangers that Rita Repulsa (played by Elizabeth Banks), has been revived and is regaining her power so that she could summon Goldar and retrieve the fragment of the Zeo Crystal buried beneath Angel Grove.
Given that this movie is more or less an origin story, the pacing is a bit slow at times. The film spends time introducing us to the characters so that we can get to know them, then it provides a bit of training montage as the Rangers prepare to fight Rita, but it’s not until the final act of the movie that everything really kicks into gear. The team finally learns to trust each other, they’re able to morph, and they have to go take on Rita.
I don’t really want to give away too much detail on the film, but I can guarantee that if you enjoyed the classic TV show as a child, you’ll enjoy this reimagining. The only really off-putting thing about this film to me was the casting choice of Elizabeth Banks as Rita Repulsa. I also feel that having Bryan Cranston’s Zordon be a former Power Ranger instead of an ancient galactic sage who created the Rangers was a very good touch to the story. It added a much larger sense of realism and urgency to the character’s goal and provided even a bit of conflict between himself and the Rangers at one point.
I’m ready for the next installment in this series to come out already. I want to check in on these characters and make sure that things are going well for them, not to mention that my childhood crush on the Pink Ranger has returned in full-force. I also thought it was a really nice touch to have some cast members from the original Power Rangers (Amy Jo Johnson who played Kimberly, the Pink Ranger and Jason David Frank, who played Tommy, the Green/White/Red Ranger) show up in a massive cameo at the end. It served to remind me personally of the movie’s humble roots as a silly kid’s TV show. Maybe next time around they’ll give those actors some speaking parts?
Overall, I think that this is a great movie and it’s definitely going to spawn a Power Rangers franchise. There are already massive hints about what the next movie will be about, and even if all it does is play off of a nostalgia trip for people in their mid 20’s-30’s, it’s going to be popular. People are going to want their children to be able to have the sense of awe and wonder that they did watching the original Power Rangers growing up, and this movie and any sequels it spawns will definitely succeed in doing that much better than having a kid today watch the old TV episodes.
Despite the pacing issues that this movie suffers from as well as a lack of motivation and depth to the characters for most of it, I love this film. It gives me everything I thought a Power Rangers movie would and I’m ready for a sequel to give us the Green Ranger storyline. I’m excited to see the possibilities of where this movie franchise will go. I’m excited to see my childhood heroes on the big screen and I’m excited to see them defend the earth from evil.