Monday, March 27, 2017

My Review of Power Rangers (2017)

Written by John Gatins & Matt Sazama & Burk Sharpless & Michele Mulroney & Kieran Mulroney
Directed by Dean Israelite

Zordon (to the Rangers): "This is your destiny... This is your time."

Oh, the 1990's. How I love thee. I was a kid back then and there have been certain things from that period that I've now learned to appreciate a lot more than before and things I've been looking back with joy as well.

Power Rangers was one of those shows back then I was pretty much into but only the first three or four seasons (and the 1995 movie) and like certain things, it was also something I drifted away from. So while the franchise has had multiple spin-offs (and still counting), a reboot of the original team has now become the focus of this movie.

I'm wary of reboot, but I'm hardly unique in that respect but after watching this two hour affair, the one thing I came out with was that if you're going to modernise a franchise like Power Rangers, this is exactly how you do it. No, this movie really is that good.

To sum up the main players very simply, you have former football stud, Jason Lee Scott/Red Ranger (Dacre Montgomery), cheerleader turned social pariah, Kimberly Hart/Pink Ranger (Naomi Scott), gadget making Billy Cranston/Blue Ranger (RJ Cyler), the new kid for three years,Trini Kwan/Yellow Ranger (Becky G) and the somewhat reckless Zack Taylor/Black Ranger (Ludi Lin) as the five meet up through a series of events, find some colourful coins and gain superpowers and a whole new mission along the way of getting to know each other.

First of all though, the characters. It's without a doubt the movie gets effortlessly right as each of the Rangers comes across as a real person and the friendships forged between the pair are organic and grow beautifully within the movie itself. The themes of autism, sexuality, revenge porn, ruining your future and being a young carer are also explored with great depth that enhances the respective characters without ever patronising the audiences.

The argument that audiences can't deal with diversity in a mainstream superhero gets blown away here as this movie absolutely proves that they can. There isn't a single Ranger that doesn't feel like a real person and it's hard to pick a favourite because they're all so good to watch. Seriously, every single one of them steps up to the plate in terms of character and performance. There's not a duff performance in sight.

Of course being Rangers isn't an easy feat. It actually takes until the final twenty minutes of the movie and a tragic moment (that's also reversed) in order for the gang to be able to morph into their armour and while the various training montages are excellently done, the new team up of Zordon (Bryan Cranston) and Alpha 5 (Bill Hader) take a little getting used to but again they work pretty well with getting the gang to accept their new destiny and prepare for the big battle.

As for the villain of the piece, I loved Rita Repulsa in the original series and Elizabeth Banks certainly brings a lot to the piece. The new backstory with Rita being the original Green Ranger whom Zordon defeated is a nice twist and while I think the character could've done with more screentime, whenever Banks is on the screen, she's a delightfully OTT villain to watch, very much like Rita was in the original show itself.

Rita's general plan is fairly basic. First she eats up enough gold and people to restore herself and then she uses both her putty creations and the giant Goldar in order to get the Zeo Crystal and destroy all life. The sequence where Rita and her army rampage Angel Grove in order to get to the crystal is pretty stunning as the Rangers mobilise together as a team and we get to see them in their Zords as they battle to save the day.

Of course Rita is defeated but not completely taken out of the ongoing story. With five sequels alleged planned for this rebooted franchise, I imagine she'll be back to cause more mayhem and with the mid credit sequence setting up something else, I really cannot wait to see more of this new generation of Rangers on the big screen.

- Both Amy Jo Johnson (original Kimberly) and Jason David Frank (original Tommy Oliver) made a cameo appearance towards the end of the movie.
- Speaking of Tommy, the mid credit scene set up the character to appear in the second movie. There's a chance though the character might be gender swapped.
- Marvel fans will like the Iron Man and Spiderman references the movie made.
- There was a kiss between Jason and Kimberly that was cut from the movie. There's an implied attraction between the two nonetheless though.
- There's references to some of the more recent spin-off shows in the movie if you can spot them.
- Standout music: You've got a modern version of the classic theme by Brian Tyler, also Fitz and the Tantrum's Handclap and Bootstrap's version of Stand By Me.

Like I said earlier in the review, this is exactly how you reboot an old franchise. Power Rangers felt distinctively like the series it originated from but with a very contemporary twists. The Rangers have been excellently cast, are believable as characters and allies and develop brilliantly over the two hours they're given onscreen. While Rita could've had a little more screen time, she's an excellently updated antagonist with a new backstory that can be richly explored once another newcomer makes their presence known in a future release. Overall, a great movie for both kids and adults alike.

Rating: 8 out of 10

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