So, last week you might have seen the Power Rangers Movie Review by our guy Mase. He felt the movie didn’t live up to its potential. That doesn’t mean all of us at The Outerhaven didn’t like it though. In fact, I loved it! Was it a masterpiece? Heck no. But was it still really good? Yes, yes it was. Oh, and I’ve been a fan of Power Rangers since Mighty Mophin, and have watch pretty much every season of the Power Rangers series start to finish, so I have credibility on this subject.
Anyway, instead of doing my personal review on the movie, I thought I’d just go for broke and list out the things I liked, and the things I didn’t like, about Power Rangers. Let’s begin.
1. A Modern Take On The Franchise
This could’ve easily been the biggest nail in the coffin, but instead, it became on of the biggest strengths. It would’ve been so easy for them to go point-for-point with what the original series did, upgrade the effects a little, and then call it a day.
Instead, they went for a very modern take on the series, and it paid off. The characters weren’t just cutouts, they were very true to what teenagers are like in this day and age. The Ranger suits weren’t just cloth, they were freaking armor, and though I had reservations at first, when they were in action, I could understand why they went that route.
The Command Center was tricked out, Zordon looked much more epic, Rita got a serious cosmetic and personality makeover, it was all good! But most importantly, it was believable in many ways. Plus, with the opening scene, they added their own twist on the classic mythology, and it was great!
It could’ve gone wrong so many times…but it hit a lot more than it missed. And don’t worry, I’m going to get to the misses.
2. Earning The Power
This is a big one for me, because in just about every Power Rangers season, you’ll get to see 3-5 characters get a way to transform into Rangers, and all of a sudden, they’re warriors. Every. Single. Time. Now true, some do it better than others, and some teams were even trained fighters. But in the original team, only Jason and Zack had skills before they were Rangers. Yet Billy, Trini, and Kimberly could fight almost right off the bat once they Rangered up.
Here though? Not the case. They had to earn their fighting skills. They had to train in the Pit day after day to get stronger, to get better, and to work as a team.
Plus, they couldn’t just morph (another thing that would’ve been very easy to do), they had to truly connect with each other and the Morphing Grid, only then could they be Rangers. What this gave us was a way to see the team bond in a way that usually takes many episodes to do, but did it in a span of minutes. Yet again though, in a believable way.
Then, once the connection was had, and they walked oh so epically out of the Command Center in full Power Ranger gear? You knew they had arrived.
Fun fact. I actually met the actress who played Rita in the 3rd season of the show and the original movie. Cool huh? So needless to say, the character is very precious to me. And, like many things, it could’ve gone horribly wrong in the movie based on early impressions…but…
Rita was freaking awesome. Fact.
This goes back to the “modern version” thing I was talking about. In the series, Rita was almost always up on the moon. She would send her goons to do her dirty work, then throw her wand when things needed to escalate. That was her role. But here? She was a hands-on villain. Yes, she had the Putties and Goldar, but she was never afraid to get her hands dirty. Heck, she killed Billy! Happily! As a taunt to the other Rangers and Zordon!!!! That’s freaking cold!
Elizabeth Banks did a nice job bring a very sinister take to the classic character. Though she’s “dead”, there is a chance she could come back. If so? I approve.
4. Character Above All Else
I can’t state enough how certain things could’ve gone horribly wrong. We’ve seen that SO MANY TIMES with all these modern takes/adaptations/reboots. And with Power Rangers, they could’ve simply done numerous action scenes with them in armor and then the Zord fight and ended the film. Instead? They focused on the characters, all of them. Which was really cool.
By the end of the movie, you knew every single struggle the Rangers had gone through. Jason kept making stupid mistakes, Kimberly hurt her friends and was alone, Trini wanted to be alone because no one understood her, Zack was reckless because he wanted to feel alive because he mother wasn’t well, and Billy had autism which made it hard for him to connect with people.
Heck, Zordon was a fallen warrior who desperately wanted a second chance to finish the mission, and Rita was a corrupted soul who felt betrayed by Zordon and the original Rangers. They took the time to flesh everyone out so every decision, every story beat could mean something.
The fire scene? Very powerful, especially Trini came out. Or when Billy admitted that having the others made him miss his dad less.
Or how about the “Hold the line!” scene. I originally hated seeing the Rangers in their Zords without their visors. Yet, that scene made it all worth while, as you got to see their faces, their emotions, their tears as they started to fail, yet they wouldn’t abandon each other. That’s powerful visually, and that’s powerful storytelling.
5. Honoring The Legacy
^^^^hmmm…that pose looks familiar….
Ok, so we all knew that certain things had to happen in this film. We knew that the characters had to have specific names, certain things like “It’s Mophin Time!” had to be said, and all that. But, you might be surprised with how far they went to honor the legacy that the original show has.
From the Command Center and Alpha-5 (who was also very good, Ay-Ai-Ai!!!), to Rita and the Green Power Coin, to the special cameos by Jason David Frank and Amy Jo Johnson (who played Tommy Oliver and Kimberly Hart in the original series), and more, it was good to see all of these references.
But the one likely no one saw coming, was when the team went into their zords….AND YOU HEARD THE POWER RANGERS THEME SONG!!!
Seriously, they didn’t have to do that, it would’ve been ok with out it, but the team behind the film loved this series so much that they dared to put it in. AND. IT. WORKED!!!!
As For What didn’t work…
1. Zords And Goldar
We kind of knew this going in, so it’s honestly not too big of a surprise…but the Zords and Goldar looked bad. Now, on one hand, for Goldar, they at least gave an explanation for why he looked like he did, so I’ll give a SMALL pass on that, but still. This was supposed to be Rita’s biggest weapon…and it was just a being made of gold….because….why not? I don’t know.
The Zords though are my biggest problem. First off, they weren’t even named in the movie. They were just called the Zords. So if you didn’t know the mythology…you might not have recognized what they were. Plus, the Mastadon didn’t even look like a Mastadon. A guy tweeted me and said, “I guess Zack’s Zord is a Beetle now…” No thank you!
Plus, the Megazord? Didn’t even look like it was the five Zords combined, that’s half the point! They’re supposed to look like 5 things combining into one. And while I won’t fault them for not showing the transformation (budget would’ve went up for sure), the result was not cool.
Finally, why would the Rangers be in pods…ON THE FRONT OF THE MEGAZORD??!?!! That makes them easy targets! I’m just saying.
2. Awkward Humor
This is a personal one, and I know humor is subjective, totally get that. But there was some very dark humor here, and for a movie that I KNOW kids under 10 went to (seriously, they were all over the theater I was in), I would not want to explain some of these jokes.
Like the “milking” scene…really? Or how about the “nickname” Billy had? Yeah…no…
Look, movies like this will either resonate with you, or they won’t. For one of us here at Outerhaven, it didn’t, but for me, it did. It’s ok to hear differing opinions, it’s part of life. Just be sure you hear all the ones you can before making a decision on something.
For me, and this is just my opinion, the Power Rangers movie did a lot of good, and though it didn’t make a ton of money at the box office, it still did well, and I hope there is a sequel coming, cause I would love to watch it. Especially with that new kid coming in….