Directed by Dean Israelite
Written by John Gatins, Matt Sazama, Burk Sharpless, Michele Mulroney and Kieran Mulroney
Starring: Dacre Montgomery, Naomi Scott, RJ Cyler, Becky G, Ludi Lin, Bill Hader, Bryan Cranston and Elizabeth Banks
The original “Mighty Morphing Power Rangers” is available on Netflix right now, and I recently spent some time revisiting the series. The first thought that crossed my mind was “why did I like this when I was younger?” The production values were cheap, the writing was terrible, the acting was awful, the music was corny – save for what is possibly the greatest theme song in the history of television – and all of that recycled footage. I am not just talking about the “Super Sentai” thing, I mean when the morph and enter battle and call on the zords, the series uses the same footage every time. What was appealing about this campy piece of schlocky television? It was the fights and the zords, and like just about every other ‘90’s boy, I had a big crush on Amy Jo Johnson (Pink Ranger). “Power Rangers” is the best reboot for “Power Rangers.”
Dean Israelite makes a serious “Power Rangers” (by “Power Rangers” standards) movie by cutting out the campy shlock of the TV series. In this film leaves the cheesy voices and the corny writing out of it, and thanks to the film’s bigger budget, the cheap production values are gone as well. The acting in this iteration of “Power Rangers” is pretty damn good. Elizabeth Banks and Bill Hader do not give hammy performances, and I was personally pleased to see that Banks took the role of Rita Repulsa seriously. It would have been so easy to cross over into camp with that role, and she did not cross that line. Neither does Hader, who uses a regular voice and not the overly exaggerated performance from the series. The young actors they cast as the Rangers were fantastic, both individually and together. Bryan Cranston – who provided voice work for the original series – delivered an excellent and surprisingly complex, version of Zordon.
While this was the best version of “Power Rangers” could have been made, I left the theater feeling like Israelite made a movie that was too focused on character development. I liked that we spent a lot of time to get to know these characters and that the film was about friendship, but I wanted more Power Rangers doing Power Ranger stuff. I wanted them to be fighting bad guys with cinematic level fight choreography. Instead, it is mostly training, and the choreography was akin to the television series. “Power Rangers” was too much of a good thing and not enough of what I had wanted out of the picture.
“Power Rangers” was a fine enough movie for what it was, it was the best version of “Power Rangers” that could have been made. Even though the film was lacking in some areas, I had wanted to see in the movie, but certainly, more than satisfied my nostalgia for “Power Rangers.” They play the theme song when they charge the zords into battle; Bill Hader says Aye Yai Yai and Amy Jo Johnson cameos at the end of the movie, and don’t worry 90’s boys, she is still hot.