Review of Saban’s Power Rangers

sabanspowerrangers

Millions of years ago Rita Repulsa betrayed Zordon and the rest of her fellow Power Rangers. Driven by a thirst for universal dominance, she battled her former teammates on Earth. At stake was possession of a mighty artefact, dubbed the Zeo Crystal. The conflict ended in a stalemate, with both sides perishing when a comet dropped on their heads. Said blast eradicated the dinosaurs too. How sad. If praying flower girls existed back then perhaps our reptilian ancestors could have been saved from a meteor-instigated extinction? Anyways, fast forward to modern day Angel Grove. Rita is resurrected when a fishing trawler uncovers her corpse. The ex-Green Ranger resumes her plan to acquire the Zeo Crystal, even if it means destroying the globe in the process.

OVERVIEW

I must confess that I never was a big Power Rangers fan. Back in the nineties I would watch the occasional episode, whilst waiting for the latest X-Men cartoon to begin, but that was about it. Many other kids were however obsessed with the show. After the Ninja Turtles craze had died down there was evidently still hunger for martial art superheroes. Given that Hollywood is on a mission to resurrect anything nostalgic it’s no surprise to see a cinematic rebirth of America’s take on Super Sentai. These new Power Rangers have a budget so gone are the cheesy costumes, replaced instead with Iron Man style armour and CG enemies. Political correctness also means that the casting has undergone a shuffle. The yellow ranger is no longer Asian!

What we have here is an origin tale. Five teenagers stumble upon Zordon’s lair, where they locate medallions that morph them into the titular heroes. After assuming the Power Rangers mantle they are tasked with foiling Rita’s scheme, but first they need to train and learn the virtues of friendship. Despite a lack of recognizable names, the actors who were hired to play the Rangers all did a commendable job. These versions of the characters have much more depth than their TV counterparts. Jason is the prankster who is given the responsibility of leadership. Kimberly is dealing with the guilt of hurting friends. Autistic genius Billy is vilified by a “replace the I in his name with a U.” Zack makes wisecracks to mask the pain of living with a terminally ill mother. Trini meanwhile is unable to communicate to her family that she is a lesbian.

VERDICT

My rating for Saban’s Power Rangers is two and a half stars. For the most part the movie was okay, but it began to lose me towards the end of its two-hour running time. I liked the early scenes, which are rich in character development. The finale was too juvenile for my taste though. A golden creature battling against a mech may sound cool on paper; in actuality however it felt like a kid friendly Pacific Rim. That would be fine if the movie was marketed exclusively at children, but it isn’t. Some of the raunchier gags are suitable for teens or older only. Then there is also the small matter of Rita’s violent murders. She kills a cop and also liberates a hobo of his false teeth, in a most gruesome manner. Parents who have offspring that fear the dentist will not approve.

Given that I don’t class myself as a Power Rangers fan it’s tough to evaluate how aficionados of the franchise will regard this movie. Viewers that watched the TV series, back when it aired, are now adults who may well appreciate the film’s more mature tone. On the flip side it could be argued that the movie falls into the 1998 Lost in Space trap. Replacing the campy humour/effects with a more sombre script and lavish CGI removes the essence of what Power Rangers originally was. I for one think that the guys in rubber suits have more charm than the sterile CG monsters found in this flick. Like a teenager with attitude, the Power Rangers have morphed into something different. Whether the change is good or bad will come down to your own personal taste.

35 thoughts on “Review of Saban’s Power Rangers

    • Back in the day I didn’t know Power Rangers was Super Sentai with American content spliced in. Perhaps that is why it never jived with me? As an anime fan I should like super heroes who battle monsters in mechs. The corny humor and childish plots was a deal breaker.

  1. I was never a big Power Rangers fan either, despite growing up while the show was on, and I haven’t seen this movie myself, so I can’t speak its quality. But I do agree about these adaptations that remove all the campiness from shows that were never meant to be that serious. Everything has to be dark and gritty now for some reason.

    • I wouldn’t describe this movie as dark and gritty, but it is certainly more serious than the TV show. Society is much more cynical now that it was in the past, so studios fear that audiences won’t accept campy films. I hear the Speed Racer movie was goofy and it bombed at the box office. Getting the balance right is tough.

    • Thanks. It’s nice to find someone who appreciates my corny jokes. Like you I wasn’t a huge Power Rangers fan. At the time it aired I was starting to feel that I was too old for children’s shows. The animated X-Men series changed that mindset. Years later I am in my thirties and still watching anime.

      • You are welcome. Yeah, some anime have mature content which is more suitable for adults than children. I like some of the older anime.

        X-Men will always one of my favorite shows to watch as a kid. The more I think about it, it’s pretty deep.

  2. I’ ve never really watched this series. I saw bits and pieces of this back in the day, but I can’t say I had much interest in it when it aired. This movie version sounds like some good popcorn entertainment though, so might check it out atbsomeatat point if I have a bit more time on my hands. Great review and a fun read! ๐Ÿ˜Š

    • It’s funny how we are both fans of anime, but Power Rangers never clicked with us. Perhaps you should check out Gatchaman Crowds? The heroes in that series are sort of like Power Rangers, but the story line is much smarter.

      • Yeah, that is strange isn’t it? Perhaps we should give it another chance someday, see if our opinions for it have changed ๐Ÿ˜Š As for Gatchaman Crowds, haven’t heard of that one before be, but I have noted it down for my list of things to check out ๐Ÿ˜€ Thanks for the recommendation ๐Ÿ˜Š

  3. Add me to the list of those who were never a fan, though I have zero desire to see this film either.

    I’m surprised people didn’t notice how the Rangers would differentiate in size and stature (especially the girls) whenever they were fighting from when they were poncing about in the high school inserts! >.<

  4. Count me among those with no Power Rangers knowledge, either. I was shocked when my husband asked me if I wanted to watch the movie. Since it was on the cheap, I said sure. And…meh. I was disappointed that we didn’t get to see the actual Power Rangers in action until the last 20 minutes of the movie. Everything before that wasn’t my cup of tea. I was hoping for something more akin to an old-timey kung fu movie married with Godzilla. That wasn’t this movie.

    • I’m not surprised that hubbie was interested in watching the movie, even if he doesn’t know what the Power Rangers are. The way it was marketed makes it seem like one of those superhero films that are all the rage at the moment. Maybe you would like the TV show more than this flick? It has a lot more kung-fu and the end of episode battles are guys in robot/monster suits akin to classic Godzilla.

      • Possibly. My Power Rangers “knowledge” comes down to only seeing the occasional commercial for the show. It did always look rather campy, like a Godzilla movie, which I don’t think I would mind. Might be fun to check out sometime on a whim.

  5. Hehehe Their new suits, really do look like Iron Man style armour. ๐Ÿ™‚
    They look extremely uncomfortable. Wearing one of those on a movie set, must have been hell. At least the old suits, were like pyjamas hehe

    • The armour look cool, but yeah I wouldn’t want to wear one on a hot day. I’m sure that the actors were relived that they don’t wear the suits for very long in the movie (just in the finale.) Some fans may be disappointed by how little time the heroes are in costume though.

  6. I found Power Rangers before I really knew anime was a thing and loved them. Now, though, I think I’d be bored. These new suits look nice though.

    Also, I’m still kinda WTF over power rangers existing during the time of the dinosaurs.

    • The television series had a diverse cast so I am okay with the composition of the team. In terms of being politically correct the Asian is no longer the Yellow Ranger and the African American is no longer the Black Ranger. The girl still has to wear a pink costume though.

  7. Of all the properties that would have benefited from a gritty reboot… this wouldn’t even have made the list. Did they beat every single villain in exactly the same manner? Because if so, they’ve got their accuracy to the source material down pat.

      • And we did! I probably refer to FFVII in every single post in some way just for my own amusement. Some games are definitely more mainstream than others like everyone knows Mario. Most people I’ve talk to around my age have at least *heard* of Final Fantasy, Resident Evil, Metal Gear, and the like even if they don’t know much about them.

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