I would like to bring your attention to what this new Power Rangers film feels like. It has a whiff of a studio wanting to retain the distribution rights to Haim Saben’s massively entertaining TV Series. We’ve all seen films like this and generally they’re pushed out just so they can keep the franchise for another few years before repeating the same process all over again. You can easily identify a film like this by asking yourself “Do I really want this”? Power Rangers has that same feeling, no-one really wanted a Power Rangers film and yet here we are.
For the most part, Director Dean Israelite takes this film in a director where it is grounded in a more realistic approach, but is also self-aware to how cheesy and relaxed it is. If you grew up with the TV series, you already know how fun every episode felt, nothing ever made sense but by god it was entertaining. I applaud the film for encapsulating that tone and feeling just right.
Moving on to the characters, all five rangers are learning to deal with becoming teenage outcasts dealing with a lot of personal problems. All five actors and actresses are relatively new, none of them have ever taken on a big role in a big project yet they somehow do surprisingly well and display great chemistry together, which ties into the whole message about becoming a Power Ranger. The stand out performance has to be from RJ Cyler who plays the Blue Ranger Billy, his character is easily the most entertaining, this could be down to the autistic element about him which provides his quirkiness in an enjoyable way. Elizabeth Banks stars at the villain Rita Repulsa who give a very over the top performance is some surprising borderline psychological horror-esque scenes, very brave of the filmmakers to attempt this. Bryan Cranston and Bill Hader star as Zordon and Alpha 5 who voices just fit their roles effortlessly.
But of course, the main appeal of Power Rangers has always been its cartoonish styled fights so let’s move on to that. The film is heavily CGI based but not so much as to the extent of putting you off the film, The Power Ranger armour was very well designed and grounded the realistic element of the film. When I saw the trailer, I was afraid that the action sequences would follow the same format as the Transformers films, a lot of CGI fighting with explosions and shards of material flying off in every direction, yet Power Rangers is not quite there which is certainly a bonus, the last thing you’d want from a fight scene is being distracted from the actual fighting.
Now while the tone is very set in stone, the stylistic approach is regrettable all over the place, the film can’t make up its mind on cinematography consistency. Even at the very beginning, there is a long take where the camera spins 360 accumulating in a very dizzy sequence. Most of the dialogue is very unnecessary, as if someone had forgotten to quality assure the script. I understand that the cheesiness of the film can for some make this type of dialogue forgiving, however what isn’t forgiving is the amount of dialogue spoken purely for exposition purposes, most of which comes from Zordon.
However, the biggest crime and what may be another key factor of a studio wanting to retain rights is the blatantly obvious product placement. I have to cringe every time an existing company works its way into the main story of a film, no one likes selling out. The product placement taints an already complex story and is the evidence of a cheap way to make more money for the men up top. Speaking of the story, it’s quite incredible when our characters discover their powers and instantly know how to use them. Sloppy writing like this distracts the audience as they query this sudden development, I hung onto this thought and ultimately could have missed out on important story and character development or a cool action scene that could replenish the nostalgia tank.
To enjoy Power Rangers, I had to remind myself of its roots. For those who don’t know before Power Rangers hit mainstream TV stations, it was just one of the many Super Sentai Series in Japan. If you look at the other series within this Japanese franchise you will notice that most of the common devices in Power Ranger were borrowed from these superhero team series. Some even consider the Super Sentai series a completely new genre. This was the key to my enjoyment. Once I started to consider Power Rangers just one of many, I felt more comfortable with what I was watching and the type of film elements being used, therefore transforming my experience.
However, you should watch Power Ranger when you are most accepting of fun, otherwise you be finding the film lacklustre, therefore ruining the chance of a fair judgement. But even if you had fun watching like I did, it won’t be winning any brownie points for a well put together film which is what SeanMcConvilleReviews is here to ultimately judge.
Final Result: 4/10 – Below Average
Have you seen Power Rangers? What did you think? Please let me know your thoughts and opinions in the comments below.
Next Time: Ghost in the Shell