The Power Rangers movie was surprisingly thoughtful, spending most of the first two acts delivering well-developed characters and history of the characters. I can only presume that after movies like Marvel properties, Pacific Rim, and other like films, they saw the way paved to take a swing at making this film.
Saban’s Power Rangers franchise finally got more into the story than the karate-wielding action with this latest chapter or effort to reboot the franchise.
Directed by relative new-comer Dean Israelite, off a screenplay written by John Gatins, whose writing resume includes Real Steel, Flight, Kong: Skull Island and the upcoming Real Steel 2.
It stars Dacre Montgomery (Stranger Things), Naomi Scott (Terra Nova), RJ Cyler, Ludi Lin and Becky G., with Elizabeth Banks (Modern Family, The Hunger Games) as the evil Rita and Bryan Cranston (Super Mansion, Sneaky Pete, Breaking Bad) as Zordon.
When I went into the theater to watch Power Rangers, to be honest, I was not expecting much. The generic reviews for the film (47% Rotten Tomatoes) left me disinterested, but my nephew was visiting and I had the perfect excuse.
And I’m glad I did.
The story is a pure origins tale, that tells us how Zordon came to be, to the history of who Rita was, and then, by the fates of destiny, how our five teenagers happen across the Power Ranger stones and find themselves defending the fate of the Earth from Rita and her giant gold monster.
I’ve watched this franchise over the years, from the early days when they were a Japanese show on at 3AM and through the early editions of the franchise, with those giant blocky robots and rubbery giant monsters.
Acts one and two of the movie pretty much introduce us to our teenage heroes, giving us plenty of character development and motivations, while then delving into watching our young heroes learning what their destiny is about, and their training to be the defenders of the Earth.
I really loved the character evolution. In fact I was surprised by the depth of which they went into that with this film. It was almost surprising how much the story dug into the characters of each person on the team. And we barely saw any of the “cool” stuff until the third act.
Rita’s introduction into the story felt natural and was woven into the tale nicely. She wasn’t the idiotic comic relief she used to be in the TV series. The Rangers weren’t the kata-flinging dancing characters they were in the series either. Plus the Zords and the big Zord were rather elegantly designed instead of the blocky crap they’ve been over the years.
The ability to use their “morphin power” was defined a little differently evolved too. I loved it. But then again, how the Zords combined was done somewhat cheaply or disappointing.
But I must confess, that the character evolution might be a bit slow for the younger ones, as the film feels geared more for the kids that have become adults in this era. But as my nephew put it, it was a little slow in the beginning but it picked up nicely in the end.
I was surprised to see Bryan Cranston or Elizabeth Banks attached to this project when it was first announced. It gave me hope that there was more to the project than the usual hollow attempts at reviving older franchises. I could not imagine either one of them supporting a weak plotted movie. I was not disappointed.
A few times, I was worried because for some reason the director seemed to want to use a shaky cam style for a few simple conversations and an action scene or two, but it wasn’t a persistent habit. THANK GOD. I hate shaky cam.
Then at one point, for a quick thirty seconds, they couldn’t help themselves as they paid homage to the old TV series, they played the classic TV theme. It almost ruined the entire moment for us, but it only lasted a short bit.
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Like I said above, Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a 47% rating, while users over on IMDb gave the film a 7.1/10.
Once again, thank god I did not listen to the “professional” reviewers because “it” has happened once again, that disconnect between some critics and film fans. Critics trashed the popcorn fun film, but the fans are loving it.
Case in point, my normally quiet local movie theater has been jammed pack since Power Rangers came out.
I have to say, I would easily give this film a popcorn 7 out of 10. But more importantly, I did not mind dropping the bucks to watch Power Rangers.
It was sleek, smart and entertaining. If you like this kind of stuff. I just hope that if they continue with this reboot, they make sure the retain the smartness this reboot exhibited.