Film Critic and Writer for ComiConverse.com, the Founder and co-host of the official Nerdcast Network Podcast
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90’s nostalgia hits back this week, as the iconic show Power Rangers get their own big budget picture. But does it bring the Mighty Morphin teenagers back into the limelight? Â Find out as our Film Critic Jordan Samuel dives into the anticipated movie.
Film Review: Power Rangers (2017)
Five teens with attitude are inexplicably brought together by coincidence or destiny to become the newest generation in a line of warriors known as the Power Rangers. The world rests in their hands as Rita Repulsa (Elizabeth Banks), a powerful witch and former Green Power Ranger, launches an assault seeking the Zeo Crystal with an army of stone golems called Putty Patrollers and a giant golden monster called Goldar.
I grew up with the beloved Mighty Morphin Power Rangers (1993) TV show, as so did millions of kids, we enjoyed the camp factor and awesome characters. The show was an adapted version of theÂ Â TV show KyÅryÅ« Sentai Zyuranger (1992), with Saban Brands bringing in a teenage aspect and delivering the franchise over to the Americas.
Since then, the series has transformed into a billion-dollar investment, with various projects getting their own version of the original team. These have included the likes of: Alien Rangers (1996), Zeo Rangers (1996) and the upcoming Ninja Steel (2017).
In 2017, the same thing is happening again with Lionsgate prepping a Hollywood re-imagining. Project Almanac (2015) head man Dean Israelite got the keys to the kingdom, but does he succeed in rebooting the iconic series?
I’m happy to confirm Power Rangers (2017) is a great tribute to the original. The film just lacks any serious attempts in welcoming newcomers into the series, in the end becoming a bit too faithful to the source material.
Dean Israelite’s task to re-brand a massive franchise is a quite daunting. The result is a flawed but enjoyable early summer experience. Power Rangers (2017) is enjoyable, blending everything we love about the classic show with some twists thrown into keep the tale fresh. Israelite does a well-ordered job in presenting the Power Rangers, with a bigger an emphasis on their different personalities. Giving these superficially generic teenagers a different role and tone: elevating them over the straight 90âs characterization in the show (gone are those overly colourful outfits).
Jason (Dacre Montgomery), Kimberly (Naomi Scott), Billy (RJ Cyler), Zack (Ludi Lin) and Trini (Becky G) all have an on-screen connection. Banters comes across varied and less cringe-worthy than expected: as certain jokes sometimes make your belly roll. Dean directs these younger actors with so much pride, like what he did in his previous works (Project Almanac). It makes us care and root for these characters: with some sequences filled with very useful comedy.
It doesn’t come without issues, as the reliance on prior knowledge bogs down the film with some unnecessary baggage. The script is cluttered with call-backs to original Red Ranger Zordon (Bryan Cranston), alienating people not used to the insane backstory. Power Rangers should have invented a simpler storyline for the newcomers, being to faithful instead warrants the franchise from leaving the shackles of continuity.
Over the top classic villain, Rita Repulsa (Elizabeth Banks) is the standout element here, as Banks has fun in bringing the 65-million-year-old former Green Ranger to life.
Channeling the tone of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers (1993) with finesse, balancing a dark and insane version of the classic villainous Rita. The role is connected with the current Power Rangers, which succeeds in bringing a proper hatred out from actress Elizabeth Banks.
Action is decent in Power Rangers, especially when in close-quarter combat, stunt doubles are used lacking a needed element of danger. But when the iconic Zordâs (Animal-like Mechas) are on screen, everything crumbles; with the audience not being able to follow the action; becoming almost shot-by-shot rip-offâs on Micheal Bayâs Transformers franchise.
The CGI looks terrible in most sequences, lacking any sense of weight with the Zordâs and Repulsa’s Putty Patrollers coming across as just plain lazy. But the armour suits are well-crafted; a massive improvement when compared to the ones on the show. They regain classic designs with new additions. I would have preferred a practical take on the creature designâs, throwing away the generic computer imagery giving us some more tension.
Power Rangers (2017) feels like a tribute to my childhood, but it lacks the true polish needed to surpass those expectations. Overall, I had fun with the picture, but couldnât shake the feeling that this film made was ten-years too late. Power Rangers would have been incredible in 2008, but instead comes across as just okay, given what we’ve come to expect of our films these days.
Dean Israelite needs to be commended for bringing back the franchise into the current generation with, what turned out to be, a hearty nostalgic summer movie.