Full disclosure I am a huge Power Rangers nerd. I have seen every season spanning twenty-four years of continuity. I can tell you some behind the scenes trivia and how the PR lore was established and go into long rants about the better seasons, what worked, what didn’t work. So when I heard there was going to be a reboot I thought “For the love of Zordon, why?” But I decided, since it was a reboot, I should give it an earnest try and look at it as an independent film, free of the lore of the original series of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.
Beware, spoilers ahead
You have to look at the movie from two perspectives. The new original movie way, and in terms of the original series of those of us who are fans.
The movie started in the middle of a war of some kind around 64 million years ago, when Earth was apparently the grounds for a battle of some kind, which ended up wiping out the dinosaurs. The red ranger is seen crawling over to the dying yellow ranger and takes her Power Pancake…coin the red ranger then takes his own pancake, with three others and buries them in the ground, asking those coins to find those who are worthy. We then see our first glimpse of the blue alien in the red suit, Zordon and of course and there’s a brief look at the green ranger before he is swallowed by a spaceship with the help of someone named Alpha.
We are then introduced to Jason…who’s into pranks and football and gets himself into a car accident after smuggling a bull into the rival school’s locker room with his random-never-seen-again friend. He ends up injured, license suspended (even though we seem him driving again) and having to wear an ankle monitor. He also has detention for this, every Saturday. If you’re flashing black to a fist in the air and a riveting round of “Don’t you for get about me” you’re not wrong.
In detention we meet Billy, who is on the spectrum, when Jason defends him from bullies, and Kim, who is just so grunge and unhappy that she goes to the bathroom, running into her cheerleader ex-friends and then cuts her hair.
Billy invites Jason over to his house to fix his little ankle problem and Jason sneaks out of the house for it. Billy helps him and in exchange convinces him to go with him to a gold mine, just outside of Angel Grove. Eventually they’re joined by Kimberly, Zack, and Trini, after Billy makes the rock explode and they find five, awkward, different colored cookies.
So look, anyone who’s seen the original Might Morphin Power Rangers knows the rest, they meet Alpha and Zordon get imbued with powers and abilities fight evil, get zords, form giant robot, defeat the bad guys. This movie is stuck between a teen drama and a superhero action flick and that’s a real shame because a lot of seasons of Power Rangers really balanced the characters and action well.
The Good: Rita is a creepy and intimidating villain. Her actress does an amazing job of portraying this psychotic evil woman. Billy is the best character in this entire movie, no joke. He is the most well developed and most interesting out of the others. You can tell his actor enjoyed the role.
The transition of them from five random people to a team was well done and the training montage really showed where their weaknesses are. The scene around the fire was really touching and sweet and most of the characters are able to come together on an emotional level.
The Bad: They screwed up the morphing grid, the zeo crystal, and devoted way too much time to the characters and while that was important, the movie went about it the wrong way. For some dumb reason, everyone at first mispronounced Trini’s name and the audience is never given an explanation for that, nor are we given an explanation why her mother treated her like a criminal when she made a crack about discovering superpowers the night before.
The suit design is awful, Zordon is awful and the audience is left with a lot of unanswered questions. Why did Zordon get trapped behind a wall and how will the morphing grid save them. How was Billy able to “morph” into his suit at a random moment while the others largely couldn’t. If Jason was under a curfew as part of his plea deal and criminal activity, why don’t his parents ever check on him to make sure he’s in the house when he’s supposed to be?
It’s as if it was a teen angst movie that didn’t want to be a superhero movie, but realized they had to do it because it’s a reboot.
We’re not given a lot of explanation as to what their zords are, unlike in the original and their helmets don’t really resemble their zords, at least not until you look really close and stare at it for five minutes. Lame!
As a huge Power Rangers fan it made me mad and I didn’t like it. Looking at it through the lens of a bran new movie, it’s average at best. This movie does not deserve awards, with perhaps Billy’s actor as the exception for his great acting chops.
Final Grade: C-