Power Rangers – 3.5/5 – Movie Reviews by Ry!

Power Rangers – 3.5/5 – There is something to be said when it comes to nostalgia.  When reliving something from the past, you get that riveting sensation captured in specific moments of your childhood.  This is something that many people get when watching certain films.  When certain properties get reimaged; you are brought back into a world that made you smile with glee.  This is the kind of feeling I get with this new iteration of the Power Rangers.  Pulling from original material, this reimaging helps bridge a gap between diehard and casual fans.  Even with some of the common issues that may plague a film, Power Rangers gives you enough pure enjoyment for one fun ride.

Premise:  Five teenagers must come together to form the team that will stop the world from ultimate destruction.

At the heart of this film are five teenagers:

Darce Montgomery as Jason (Red Ranger)

Naomi Scott as Kimberly (Pink Ranger)

RJ Cyler as Billy (Blue Ranger)

Ludi Lin as Zack (Black Ranger)

Becky G as Trini (Yellow Ranger)

They all do an outstanding job in creating distinct characters that will eventually become a team.  Through their individual takes on the iconic five, they provide that raw, intriguing and unique banter found within a newly formed group of friends.  No matter if it’s serious moments, comical hijinks of typical teenager angst, you feel the purity in their dialogue.  This helps build true humanistic qualities, allowing for them to become superb, likeable and well developed people for the audience.  You understand who they are through their raw talent on the big screen.  To compliment them are ancillary characters.  That would be Zordon (Bryan Cranston) and Alpha 5 (Bill Hader).  These two provide conceptual people through their voice, which adds layers to their ‘mentor’ roles.  This helps add background, history and depth from the lore.  This molds well with the main five’s development, allowing for a back-and-forth ‘teaching’ trope that creates believability in the surreal.  The secondary characters do a great job by adding purpose to the world.  They don’t go beyond clichés, but they do just enough to create a sense a realism in the fictional town of Angel Grove.  For all the greatness of the cast, there is one that sticks out like a sore thumb.  That would be the villain Rita Repulsa.  Played by actress Elizabeth Banks, her portrayal of the iconic villain feels like a display of ironic detail.  Her ‘over-the-top’ display of vile and cruelty is very cumbersome.  She feels like a character meant for a different film because everything else is approached from a grounded aspect.  Her sensational approach exudes comic clichés and cheesy lines.  Since she is only on screen minimal of the time, it never completely detracts from the enjoyment of the film.  It is worth noting that, being a fan, you can tell she pulled complete inspiration from the original material.

The direction is a combination of coming-of-age themes fused with an origin tale.  The outline is as followed:

Main character(s) hit rock bottom > conveniently becomes pupil/individual(s) with unique powers > situations/scenarios redefine their life > an epiphany revealing the ‘hero within’ > face against (insert generic villain/doomsday scenario)

Watching the story unfold, you notice a lot of the typical themes of teamwork, finding yourself, hope and becoming the ‘hero’ trope being overplayed.  Even in the generic detail, the overwhelming ‘grounded’ feeling in the first half helps hide these common techniques.  What you’re witness to (at first) is the development of the characters through the ‘coming-of-age’ aspect.  You see that all five teenagers have hit various depths of failure.  In that failure, they (through convenient plot devices) come together and find the power coins.  This leads them to finding the spaceship with Zordon and Alpha 5.  After some forced exposition, the film begins to evolve through the characters.  With a combination of methodical direction and characterized depth, the audience comes to find that raw connection of brevity to the simplistic source material.  The generalization of everything falls to the wayside as you become part of their journey to become the Power Rangers.  With a mixture of action montages, silly interactions and some ‘friendship’ tropes, you see the typical ‘hero’s tale’ becoming something more.  Even with some strong purposeful content, it is obvious when the film gets stuck in a plot hole.  When this happens, it swerves with the use of cheesy dialogue and unexplained plot devices to move the film along.  Once the depth and character dynamics are built, we head into the second half.  Here, the ‘coming-of-age’ mantra fades for the origin tale.  This is when the five teenagers become the force of ‘good’ to fight the ultimate evil in Rita Repulsa.  What this latter half boils down to is a mixture of stylistic action, nostalgic references and the common ‘good vs. evil’ scenario.  Even as the direction levels out the story with predictability, it never falls over the edge.  The dynamics of the two halves come together within a perfect lining of ‘playing to the fans’ while ‘being its own thing’.  For all the grandiose events, it is the adrenaline that keeps you going through it all.  Once we get to the climax, there is a shameless use of ‘product placement’ to create a McGuffin for the good and bad guys to fight for.  Even when this happen, it never detracts from the epic detail of the final encounter.  Once the film comes to an end, you feel overjoyed by what you have just experienced.  That nostalgic feeling overwhelms you with a feeling of wanting more (down the road).

The visuals are mixture of common aesthetics and CGI.  With the grounded detail of a ‘small town’, there is that generated purpose for the story and characters.  With the latter half, you are molded into the surreal detail through CGI.  With the computer graphics helping provide the wealth of imagination through the creation of the Power Ranger’s suits, there zords and the villains; it allows you to live big through the art of escapism.  You clearly see what is going on because of the camera completely being centered on the Rangers, zords and the villains they fight.  The score is a mixture of popular songs and some ‘original’ material.  It helps provide some girth, but doesn’t add a lot value.  The only value that happens in at one part with the original Power Rangers theme song.

Power Rangers plays purely to nostalgia.  Even with all the fun, there is enough to generate something different and exciting through the reimaging of this concept.  If you’re a fan of the series or like to just have some fun at the theaters, go check this out.  This is worth seeing on the big screen.

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