Movie Review: Power Rangers (2017)

Please note: there are some very minor spoilers here just for a bit of character background and minor plot details. Hopefully nothing that will ruin your experience.

Based on the long-running children’s series and team of superheros, Power Rangers is a 2017 adaption and reboot directed by Dean Israelite in only his second feature film. The film revolved around five teenagers from Angel Grove, California who discover ancient artifacts which give them them almost superhero abilities. Jason Scott (Dacre Montgomery), Kimberly Hart (Naomi Scott), Billy Cranston (RJ Cyler), Trinity Kwan (Becky G) and Zack Taylor (Ludi Lin) are the five teenagers with attitude (sadly not said verbatim in this movie) who must work under Zordon (Bryan Cranston) to stop the evil Rita Repulsa (Elizabeth Banks) from destroying the world.

+ the core cast of teenagers are enjoyable, with only Billy being the standout as annoying (he reminded me a lot of Curtis from Arrow’s most recent season, one of my least favourite parts), which was a fault of the character not the actor. Zack (Lin) was my favourite, because his backstory was simple but effective in getting me to feel for him, without needing to stack on various traits to hold him back. Casting relatively unknown actors was a good idea
+ Bryan Craston as the body-less Zordon was good, but somewhat underutilised. The changes to his backstory were neither great nor horrible, but he does have a good voice for the role he had. Bill Hader as Alpha 5 was great, especially once he busted out his trademark “aye aye aye”
+ one scene in particular of the teens getting to know each other around a campfire was the highlight of the non-action moments. It was quiet, with just the acting of the cast to hold it together, and they all delivered perfectly
+ once the action begins, and the Zords come out to play the film really brings back some nostalgia that I was not feeling until that point. I’m personally not a fan of the new, sleek designs for the Zords (and, I’ll say it, robots in Hollywood in general) but seeing big budget Zords on screen was enough to hook me in for the ride

– Banks’ turn as Rita Repulsa was simply out of place. Her character was far too goofy to be taken seriously in this “real world” story, but at the same time her actions were so evil and violent compared to the lighthearted base material. I would have preferred her to either be more like the old show version, or for the rest of the film to match her darkness. She does say “make my monster grow”, though, which was basically the one thing I wanted out of her
– because of the above, the tone of the film goes back and forth between a horror movie and a childrens’ movie and a superhero movie and a Breakfast Club-esque coming-of-age movie in the span of it’s two hour runtime

powerrangers_2.png
“Different colours, different people. Different coloured people!”

> It’s not a negative as such, and in many ways it makes so much more sense in this movie than it does in most others, but gosh it was a transparent way to have as many different sexualities/races/genders etc as possible. In just our core five we have: a white male sports-star with troubles from the law; an ambiguously brown cheerleader involved in some also ambiguous cyber bullying; a black, nerdy male with autism who is bullied; an ambiguously South-American, possibly queer girl who is apparently a bit of a bitch; and an asian (Chinese) male who spends his time looking after his family. “Different colours, different people. Different coloured people!” That line from Alpha 5 summed up the core cast nicely, though it still felt a bit like the producers went through to try and get as many traits on in a meta-way.
> I still don’t quite understand what the cyber-bullying Kimberly was involved in was. Someone please let me know.

Should you see this film: With comparisons to both The Breakfast Club and Chronicle (there’s a sentence I never thought I’d write), this film did a good job of making me care about most of the cast. A very uneven tone was disappointing, especially Elizabeth Banks as Rita Repulsa, but the big budget action scenes might be enough to scratch your nostalgia itch. Give it a go if you’re interested in the property, but don’t go out of your way if you’re not already a fan.

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