The last time I legit watched the Power Rangers was back in 1996. I didn’t pay any attention to the spin offs; The original Jason, Kimberly, Zack, Billy, Trini & Tommy were the only ones I cared about. I was 8 years old when it first launched, and now here I am 23 years later, taking my 7 year old daughter to see the Power Rangers for her very first time. I never would have thought in a million years the franchise would have had this kind of staying power, but here we are. So, what did we think of it? We both thought it was a lot of fun and enjoyed it. Director Dean Israelite (Project Almanac) captures the feel and spirt of the original show, and I was caught off guard by a pretty emotional scene later on. As a parent though, I was honestly surprised by some of the swear words used in the film. Rita Repulsa (played by Elizabeth Banks) is also particularly terrifying. It felt like they were really pushing that PG rating to its limits.
The film begins with a different group of Power Rangers defending the earth from the Green Ranger; Rita Repulsa in this version, who has betrayed them. Zordon the Red Ranger (voiced by Bryan Cranston) asks Alpha Five (Bill Hader) to perform a meteor strike, which wipes out the dinosaurs, Zordon himself and sends Rita to the bottom of the sea. Fast forward to today and we’re introduced to our 5 troublemaking teens. Jason the Red Ranger (Dacre Montgomery), Kimberly the Pink Ranger (Naomi Scott), Zack the Black Ranger (Ludi Lin) Trini the Yellow Ranger (Becky G.) and the star of the whole thing, Billy the Blue Ranger (RJ Cyler). They have really great chemistry together, but RJ stands out among them. I never would have thought I would see the day I said the Blue Ranger was my favourite, but when I asked my daughter which one she liked, she even said the blue one (gasp!). He’s responsible for most of the jokes and funny comments (we’re some kinda momma Zord!), and he’s also the catalyst for that pretty emotional scene later on in the movie. It would have fell flat if the other rangers didn’t bring sadness and desperation to the situation, but they nailed it (I can’t believe I’m using those words to describe a Power Rangers movie). Elizabeth Banks is gruesome as Rita Repulsa. This is not the crazy, silly alien woman I remember from the TV show. This one’s menacing and a real threat to the world. She does have the power to summon larger creatures (GOLDAR!) as well as her putty army, who now are rock creatures (think Pokemons Geodude evolution Graveler). There were a few times Rita had my daughter hiding behind her hands (particularly a dream sequence involving her) when she was on screen, she’s scary stuff.
As for the special effects, they’re pretty much hit or miss. The final battle is great, but there were some scenes where special effects were used and it just took me out of the movie; they looked really fake. The rest of the cast are great. Bill Hader as Alpha Five, who is a much different robot then I remember. He’s got a lot more spunk, and is actually kind of badass; and Bryan Cranston as Zordon who does a great job considering he’s just a talking/floating head.
Overall, it’s definitely not a bad way to spend an afternoon. The cast works great together and have a ton of chemistry. They’re all really likeable and by the final battle, you’re rooting for them to win. It might be a bit too scary for the little ones in some parts, but those scenes are very brief. It retains the spirt of the original and for me that was a huge bonus, having been such a giant fan of the show when I was young. It feels like the Power Rangers and that was one of my main concerns going in. I’m happy with where the franchise is going, it’s in good hands. Just a heads up, be sure to stay after the movie ends for a mid-credits scene, to get you all hyped up for the inevitable sequel! – NVJ