Director: Dean Israelite
I just missed the Power Ranger craze as a child, stepping into my fashionable teen years where it was then silly to be still playing with toys and watching cartoons. But, I can still remember my younger friends going mad over them, one of them proudly donning Power Ranger underpants! I feel I have to mention Haim Saban's name every time I speak about the Rangers, who co-created the series with Shuki Levy back in '93. But, it was actually a rehashed Americanise version of the Japanese Super Sentai series of the iconic Tokusatsu genre, the same genre that's famous for Godzilla, Gamera and the Kamen Rider among others. In other words, it was a ripoff, using the Japanese action footage and splicing it with American reshoots. Pretty much what Bollywood was doing back in the 90's with American films. So I actually shun Saban's name slightly when seeing his name firmly attached to anything relating to the Power Rangers.
I'm pretty sure they had to mind melt the key ingredients of a Power Ranger episode to be sure there get the right formula: Silly monsters + Mecha style Zords + ninja action + boss battle + Alpha and Zondar + of course the colourful Rangers themselves. This ticks all the right boxes, however, unlike the previous films, this is an origin story. Resetting Angel Grove as if the last twenty plus years hasn't happened. Typically, in Power Ranger fashion the characters and actors don't match the current series and is pretty much a stand alone movie from the entire Ranger franchise. You'll have to be a hardcore fan of the original series and Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers film to spot the cameos. But could this be a detriment to the film itself, if the target audience is for current fans, or even classic fans, surely it'll be like changing the actor of your character in a series, normally a bullet to the head for many TV shows.
Surprisingly, it actually starts off really well showing some great potential but throw in an awful script and layer it with cheese it quickly morphs into something less. It begins like Josh Trank's Chronicle paired with some Raimi's Spider-Man to then fizzle out into an anticlimactic episode which was such a shame. The oversized beast was rather lame and lacked the colourful coolness of the usual Ranger bad bosses, almost like it hints at it's source material, like it's almost ashamed to show it.
The actors weren't actually that bad, with Dacre Montgomery taking the lead as Jason Scott, the Red Power Ranger, who reminded me so much of Chris Pine's Kirk from Star Trek. That rebellious all-round good guy. The others do well to fit in and are a little less wooden than there predecessors as the story tries to fresh out emotional element in an attempt to make us care for our heroes. RJ Cyler's Billy, the geeky Blue Ranger actually provides some much needed comedy relief.
The big named stars play their parts well enough, Bryan Cranston being the nothing more than a disapproving face in the wall and Elizabeth Banks really brings that cruel yet stupid Ranger villainy to life as Rita Repulsa; but it isn't enough to save the film.
The CGI looks cheap too, especially the evil boss summoned to take on the Rangers and their Zords. Maybe they were scared of putting the Megazord in the shadows if they made the monstrous yet ridiculous Goldar look too impressive. The action is weak too, not enough and lacks the flair the original source has. Replacing it with too much backstory. Quite the disappointment for a kids film with a 12a rating.
What is really noticeably good is Brian Tyler's score and the soundtrack. Tyler's score really ups the ante giving the Rangers some polished anthems that reminded me of Daft Punk's TRON: Legacy, M83's Oblivion and some of Jablonsky's Transformers. The soundtrack is really good too with a great cover of Stand By Me from Bootstraps and tracks from Tove Lo, Fritz & the Tantrums and Phantogram. This is definitely a big plus for the film.
I keep trying to think if the twelve year old me would enjoy this, but I really doubt it. Even though it has a licence to be ultimately corny it still really lacks the action needed to fully satisfy. It's not well balanced, possibly having too much story for an already long 124minute action film.
Running Time: 6
The Cast: 6
Job Description: 4
The Extra Bonus Point: 0
Would I buy the Blu-ray?: Doubt it.