By Troi Watts
My inner child jumped for joy as soon as I heard that a Power Rangers movie was going to be made. I went even crazier after I watched the first trailer. The trailer looked intense and modern, definitely different from the Power Rangers I remembered, but in a good way. Was my inner child happy with this latest rendition of the cheesy show? Absolutely!
This Power Rangers movie is the origin story of the modern team: five high school misfits end up at the local mine by chance and stumble upon five mysterious coins, each a different color. Because the mine is a restricted area, the misfits flee from security only to end up being struck by a train. However, they don’t die… They each wake the next morning with one of the coins, feeling strange and discovering that they have new abilities, like super strength. As they test these new abilities down at the mine, they discover a spaceship hidden in a cavern. There they realize that they are the new Power Rangers and have been tasked with defending the Zeo Crystal, the thing that created life on Earth, from the evil Rita Repulsa. If Rita gets the Zeo Crystal, Earth is doomed. Can these misfits band together and become true Power Rangers in time to save the world?
The cheesiness of the original Power Rangers series may have given people pause, but this movie is anything but cheesy. Realistic and modern, there are no spandex, awkwardly tight uniforms or over-animated gestures in this film. The special effects are remarkable, as these new uniforms take on a shiny, robotic form, actually looking like effective armor. Unlike the original costumes, these uniforms have removable visors that let the audience see the actors’ faces, making it unnecessary for the actors to overly gesture and move. This change allows the fight scenes to progress better as well, resulting in the actors not having to exaggerate when they are injured or when they vanquish a foe. However, the special effects are a little cheesy in regards to Goldar, the giant gold monster that Rita Repulsa creates to fight the Rangers. In the filmmakers’ defense, it’s hard to make any giant monster look realistic on screen.
The actors themselves do a great job. In the original series, it often felt like the actors were flat, not being able to move outside of the series’ formulaic, childishly simple plots. The actors in the most recent film portray their characters with remarkable depth, given that this is still a Power Rangers movie. Each character embodies a different struggle that modern young people deal with (for example, Trini, the Yellow Ranger, is homosexual and Billy, the Blue Ranger, is on the autism spectrum). It is really easy to believe that these people have troubles. It doesn’t come off as trying to be melodramatic, nor does it make the struggles of young adulthood any less of an issue.
What hooked me most was the storyline. Writers John Gatins and Matt Sazma took the original series and molded it into a modern, complex story. The first minutes of the film explain the origins of Rita and Zordon, the boss of the Power Rangers so to speak, and how the coins came to Angel Grove. Without spoiling it, I will say that Rita’s origin is logical and satisfying, even if it is predictable. Overall, I feel that this storyline gives Power Rangers the push it needed to break away from the original series and become its own story for this generation.
I would like to mention that this film is rated PG-13, which seems odd since Power Rangers has always been marketed towards kids. Most people would blow this off, remarking that PG-13 doesn’t have the same meaning as it used to, but I would warn parents not to ignore this. This Power Rangers movie is for the new generation, but also gives some attention to those of us who grew up on the originals. To make a long story short, I’ll say this: within the first five minutes of the film, a boy remarks how he milked a cow. However, the cow is a boy with only one part that could be mistaken for an utter… enough said? Also, on a point that some may be okay with, Rita Repulsa transforms throughout the movie, going from a realistic looking mummy to a crazy zombie lady to, finally, a mostly normal looking villain. Today’s makeup and special effects make these earlier stages look quite frightening (I’m a college student saying this). It might be a little much for children.
All in all, Power Rangers is worth a watch! Funny, realistic, and nostalgic (did I mention that the theme song is played?), this movie lives up to the expectations set by kids who watched the originals and serves as a great foundation for the new generation. Just be careful with taking younger kids to see it, as they might get scared or hear very inappropriate things. Overall, this is absolutely worth the trip to the movies! Plus, the ending suggests a sequel, so you might want to be prepared for when that comes out.