“Power Rangers” does justice to original
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Jason, Kimberly, Billy, Trini and Zack are misfits and social outcasts in the city of Angel Grove, and they are often ostracized as a result. However, that all changes once they stumble upon five coins that give each of them incredible power.
Seeking out the answers to their new strength, they find the ancient being Zordon hidden away in an underground spaceship. He tells them of their destiny to become the Power Rangers, master their new power and unite as a team in order to protect the earth from the imminent threat of the space witch Rita Repulsa. Can these five teens overcome their differences and save the world before it’s too late?
Directed by Dean Israelite, “Power Rangers” is based on the TV show of the same name that began back in the early 1990s in the US, which itself was an Americanized version of a show from Japan that is known locally as Super Sentai.
That being said, this new movie, while based on the story of the original Ranger team, finds inspiration from many other iterations of the Rangers from over the years. Despite this, Israelite can weave it all into a competent mix of the campiness that the series is known for, while keeping it grounded in a way that allows the audience to take it seriously.
All in all, it’s a pretty successful concoction, especially for those that have grown up with the source material from the 90s.
Throughout the movie, Israelite utilizes quick and clever angles and shots to keep the action moving. The opening sequence where we get introduced to Jason is a particular marvel with what maneuvers the camera pulls off.
From there on out, Israelite manages to keep up that balance of campy fun and seriousness throughout the whole movie. “Power Rangers” surely won’t win any awards, but it’s certainly not a movie that will be forgotten. Yes, the plot seems a little stuffed towards the end of the second act, and the final battle is very heavy in CGI, but at the end of it, this reboot holds onto everything that made the original franchise such a big hit.
As far as story goes, “Power Rangers” is nothing new. It is an origin story through and through — training montage and all. But it does something that many origin movies miss: it gets the audience to actually care about the main characters.
Two-thirds of the movie are spent getting to know this new team of rangers, just as much as they are getting to know each other. So, when the time comes to finally don the iconic suits, it’s a rewarding experience due to the fact that time and care was taken to make sure the five heroes are fully fleshed out.
While this characterization shows evidence of skilled writing, it is apparent in the latter half of the film that the script went through several drafts. This is not to say the quality dips in the film, but some scenes and plot points feel added on or carried over from earlier drafts. It all manages to stay coherent and engaging, but these moments are noticeable.
The five actors and actresses leading the cast as the Rangers are Dacre Montgomery as Jason Scott/Red Ranger, Naomi Scott as Kimberly Hart/Pink Ranger, RJ Cyler as Billy Cranston/Blue Ranger, Becky G as Trini/Yellow Ranger and Ludi Lin as Zack/Black Ranger.
All five get equal screen time to shine and they all handle their roles well. Their acting ability is just as developed as the characters they portray. Bryan Cranston plays Zordon, the wise warrior who acts as the Rangers’ teacher. While Cranston’s role is mainly limited to voice acting, he is still able to create a commendable presence on the screen as if he was on set himself.
Bill Hader plays Alpha 5, Zordon’s android butler of sorts. Like Cranston, Hader’s part is voice acting only, but he still manages to inject enough energy into the role to be entertaining.
The villain of the film, Rita Repulsa, is played by Elizabeth Banks. She is probably the weakest character in the film. As mentioned before, this reboot of Power Rangers is an excellent blend of campy fun and serious storytelling.
Unfortunately, Bank’s performance is a bit too hammy to fit in with the rest of the film. If this was the original show from the 80’s, she would have fit right in since everything was over the top. While Banks still manages to be a convincingly creepy space witch, her acting is sometimes a bit much.
Recently, there has been many a reboot of old franchises. Some have been successful, while some have been downright awful. “Power Rangers” falls right in the middle, albeit more towards the successful side.
It retains all the fun of the original premise while managing to be convincingly serious and emotionally engaging. With this being the first of a planned six films, here’s hoping the next five can be as ‘Mighty Morphin’ as this one.
TL; DR (Too Long; Didn’t Read)
+Excellent mix of campy fun and serious moments
+The five main teens are likable and well developed.
-Rita can be too campy at times, not fitting with the tone of the movie.
-The plot feels a bit stuffed in the second half.