Go Go Power Rangers! This is the anthem of those multi-colored teen superheroes of the television series from the 90s that spawned several adaptations and has been going strong since its inception in 1993. Now comes the new feature film that tells the story again.
What I liked best about this new adaptation is that the writers decided to stick with the original concept and characters, but tweaked it for today’s audiences. Instead of creating a new mythology with a different villain and Power Rangers team, we got Rita Repulsa (Elizabeth Banks) and Jason (Dacre Montgomery), Kimberly (Naomi Scott), Billy (RJ Cyler), Trini (Becky G.) and Zack (Ludi Lin).
As the movie opens, a subtitle reads ‘PLANET EARTH: CENOZOIC ERA’. So, we already know that we’re being introduced to a time long, long ago. Because the best way to begin an action movie is to talk about something that happened in a distance past and how it will affect the present. We learn that the Power Rangers were tasked with protecting life on Earth and watching the Zeo Crystal but Green Ranger Rita Repulsa betrayed the rangers and Red Ranger Zordon (Bryan Cranston) took the power coins. His loyal servant robot Alpha 5 (voiced by Bill Hader) caused a meteor shower that destroyed the dinosaurs and trapped Rita at the bottom of the ocean. In the present day, Rita Repulsa awakens arrives from the bottom of the ocean after resting for millions of years. And after such a long sleep, you know this villain is ready to cause havoc. Fortunately, she gets strength from gold. If milk does a body good, gold jewelry energizes Repulsa the same way. Elizabeth Banks plays Rita with all the over the top campiness you’d expect from a villain in a superhero action flick. But her portrayal makes the character all the more fun, with hair and makeup adding to the package. Rita Repulsa is supreme queen of evil and hearing and looking at her, no one will forget it!
Jason is a high school football star and along with friends Kimberly, Billy, Trini and Zack find an old mine that is an ancient burial ground with a spaceship that has Alpha 5. The robot is able to wake up Zordon, who ended up aboard the spaceship. The teens are told about power rangers and Rita. At first the skeptical youths don’t want to become Power Rangers but Zordon is able to get Jason to convince the others. They have eleven days in which to stop Rita from gaining power and finding the Zeo Crystal, that she intends to use to destroy Earth. And because this is Power Rangers, the script is full of teen angst while they learn to master their powers through team work. The movie has great special effects that makes up for any lack that the viewer may find in the dialogue. Power Rangers Movie may have its issues but that doesn’t stop it from being a fun time at the movies and therefore, worth seeing. Additionally, Yellow Power Ranger Trini is lesbian, which I feel sends a positive message for movie goers. Superheroes come in a shapes, sizes and colors. What makes a hero is being pure of heart and having the right intention to do good based on the love of mankind and the world. I hope that when people watch Power Rangers Movie and see a character like Trini, they’ll relate to her strength and not just because she has the powers of a ranger.
Recreating a new story while staying true to the original that came before it is the challenge faced by remakes. Power Rangers Movie tries to blend nostalgia with modern retelling. It’s hard to say whether fans of the 90s television series (It was great seeing Jason David Frank (Tommy) and Amy Jo Johnson (Kimberly) from Mighty Morphin Power Rangers appear in a cameo) will appreciate it more or whether it will appeal to newer audiences. In my opinion, it’s a cross between the two. People like myself who watched the original Power Rangers from Mighty Morphin to Super Mega Force (haven’t seen Dino Thunder or the latest television version ) were probably eager and curious to see this remake. Parents who watched as children may have wanted to share this special memory from their childhood with their own children. Regardless, kudos to Power Rangers Movie for being like the rangers themselves: fighting the good fight in the difficult climate of remakes and action movies.
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