Movie Review: Power Rangers
Starring voices of: Dacre Montgomery, Naomi Scott, RJ Cyler, Becky G and Ludi Lin with Bryan Cranston, Bill Hader and Elizabeth Banks
Directed by: Dean Israelite (Based on characters created by Haim Saban and Toei Company Limited)
Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-fi
My Rating: ****/5
Review By Steven Pryor
After 20 years of absence from theater screens, a reboot of the “Power Rangers” franchise has arrived. It is the third film adaptation of the hit TV series after “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie” in 1995 and “Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie” in 1997. While the film may not be in the same league as other recent superhero blockbusters, it serves as a strong update to the series that combines realistic, effects-driven action with a self-aware rendition of the ludicrous nature of the concept.
The premise is a re-imagining of the original “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers” series that ran from 1993 to 1995. In the Cenozoic era, an alien being known as Zordon was engaged in battle with the evil sorceress Rita Repulsa. During their final battle, Zordon used the last of his strength to hide the Power Coins from Rita and send them both into hibernation. In the present day city of Angel Grove, Rita awakens and seeks an ancient artifact known as the Zeo crystal to amplify her powers and destroy the world. So, it falls to Zordon and his robotic assistant Alpha 5 to recruit five young teenagers to take up the mantle of the Power Rangers and defend the world against Rita and her army of alien monsters.
While the story is familiar to those who are fans of the series, director Dean Israelite’s take on the the popular action show presents the plot and characters in a darker context. The red ranger, Jason, is a former star athlete whose promising future was ruined by trouble with the law and a leg injury from a car accident. The blue ranger, Billy, has to deal with losing his father as a child as well as the difficulties of being on the autism spectrum. The yellow ranger, Trini, is an outcast with “girlfriend problems” and had to change schools more than once as a result. The black ranger, Zack, has to deal with the absence of his father as well as take care of his terminally ill mother. Even the normally happy-go-lucky pink ranger, Kimberly, is bullied by other members of her social circle for her appearance. Still, this is one of many versions of the long-running franchise that never forgets its roots as a colorful action series; and balances its darker storyline and edgier characters with slick action and colorful special effects. Over the film’s 124-minute run time, the Rangers learn to overcome their differences and master their powers in a snazzy relaunch of the series that borrows heavily but swiftly from other franchises, such as “The Dark Knight Saga” and the Marvel Cinematic Universe.