Director: Dean Israelite
Run Time: 124 minutes
Cast: Dacre Montgomery, Naomi Scott, RJ Cyler, Ludi Lin, Becky G, Elizabeth Banks, Bryan Cranston, Bill Hader, et al…
Plot (taken from IMDb): A group of high-school students, who are infused with unique superpowers, harness their abilities in order to save the world.
When you think Power Rangers, what comes to mind? Putties, ridiculous fights, giant Zords and obviously dubbed scenes. Right? Wrong. The new Power Rangers movie feels like a mixture of F4ntastic 4 and Chronicle, but aimed somewhere vaguely between kids and teenagers. The resulting film is an ugly mess that never quite knows what it wants to be.
The film starts by showing you a hilarious hi-jink involving cows that results in lengthy detention and a disappointed father. This high-school football hero is a bit of a bad boy, but could he be sweet inside when people “get” him? Ugh. Power Rangers should be about a group of teenagers teaming up to fight ridiculous monsters who can grow to the size of skyscrapers with a little bit of drama surrounding the group on the side. In this film the teenagers’ problems come first.
Each of the five future Rangers have one thing in common, you see. They’re all in detention, but no one really wants to tell the other why. It’s cheesy, 90210 or The O.C stuff. Just as in Chronicle, the film centres around a group of outsiders who find some kind of alien thing that gives them super powers. Again, just as in Chronicle, you will spend the most time with the guy who’s most outsider, becoming friends with the leader/ cool dude who can jump great distances. It’s all rather ho-hum and predictable stuff – a trend that carries on throughout the film.
You can see everything that happens in the film before anyone in the film does. What? They must find their common ground and become friends before they can wear the Power Rangers suits? Who would have guessed? Bryan Cranston’s blocky CGI face, that’s who. What we have here is another film with Bryan Cranston thrown in just to get a few bums on seats. The inexplicable Cranston has a bigger role than he did in the much-advertised Godzilla however. Just as Godzilla, though, this Power Rangers just isn’t as good as the first American film. At least the original film was true to the TV show.
“Rebooted for a new generation”, words that fans of the original balk at, and with good reason. This new-look Power Rangers won’t get the kids exited about the long-running franchise. It’s a mess. As I said earlier, Power Rangers doesn’t know whether it wants to be a kid’s film, or a teenage drama. It ends up being neither and stuck somewhere between. It’s a super hero movie with lacklustre action aimed towards kids with the abomination of Elizabeth Banks’ Rita Repulsa, but with forced teen angst and drama shoved in for the sake of it. No. Red Ranger. I do not care about your problems. I just want to watch you fighting bad guys.
Power Rangers is a poor man’s Chronicle throughout its bloated two-hour run time. The visuals are dull, the Putties are boring rock creatures and the antagonist is like something out of a pantomime. The trouble is, outside of Elizabeth Banks, the cast put on a decent enough performance. It’s pretty basic stuff that they were put through, but all the Rangers did well enough. There’s a suggestion here that with a smaller run time and less teen drama that Power Rangers could have been a passable super hero film. I do think, however, that even this would have been a mistake.
The audience for a Power Rangers movie is largely going to be older. People who grew up watching the original series in the 1990s. Some kids may have gone to watch the film, but your run of the mill teenager? Probably not. There are moments in the film that do something for nostalgia (such as the Zords and seeing them in the suits for the first time), but changing the Putties and making the fights far less visceral and generally far slower just wasn’t a good move by director Dean Israelite. There’s barely any fun in the film and it sadly takes itself far too seriously. Why try to do what Marvel and DC are – people just won’t care if it doesn’t have Tony Stark in it.
Power Rangers is a mess.