#REVIEW: “POWER RANGERS”
Review by Justin Waldman for Mr. Will Wong
Growing up in the 90s, the Power Rangers was one of the hottest TV shows of the era, garnering millions of fans worldwide. While the Movies and TV shows from the original franchise were admittedly campy, they had heart and characters ultimately were relatable. The reimagining of Power Rangers in 2017 maintains all of the heart minus some of the camp, coming with a darker vision and it works rather well.
This latest Film in the Saban Entertainment empire, begins on earth during the Cretaceous period where we see Rita (Elizabeth Banks) and the original Red Ranger, Zordon (Bryan Cranston), battling for dominance. Rita wants to capture the Zeo Crystal which could remove all life off earth and enable her to both destroy and create planets. The Rangers are tasked with having to stop her. Zordon sacrifices his own life to protect earth and take down Rita.
Fast-forward to modern day where we meet a Breakfast Club of misfits-slash-heroes. Jason (Dacre Montgomery), our former football star who threw his life away; Kimberly (Naomi Scott), a teenage girl who shared a photo of a former friend and was out-casted; Billy (RJ Cyler) who self-identifies on the spectrum and because of that doesn’t fit into social scenes; Zack (Ludi Lin) who is the charismatic goofball, coping with an ailing mother; and Trini (Becky G) who constantly is moving around and just wants to fit in. These five teenagers end up together in a mining yard and Billy, being the adventurous one that he is, accidentally sets-off a large detonation and discovers an alien ship containing coloured disks empowering those worthy to become Power Rangers. This as a result takes our five heroes on their journey and transformation as Power Rangers. They discover that Rita is back and set on trying to recreate her monster Goldar which she summons to retrieve the coveted Zeo Crystal, and thusly they have to take her down in order to save humanity.
Power Rangers succeeds in capturing the nostalgia of its franchise, while also being a perfect entry point for someone who never saw the originals. There are moments in the Film that are complete fan service with nods to the original camp for which the franchise is known, but this in no way detracts from the Movie itself. In fact, there rarely is a dull moment.
Overall, the performances in Power Rangers are rather good, the standout being Banks, who manages to steal the show every time she is on-screen, giving Rita Repulsa a new depth unknown before. The Rangers themselves, RJ Cyler, Becky G, Ludi Lin, Dacre Montgomery and Naomi Scott embody the spirit and legacy of their characters and the brand, complementing one another well.
Fans old and new will find something to truly appreciate and love about Power Rangers. Director Dean Israelite and Screenwriter John Gatins deliver exactly the nostaglia that the now older generation of fans miss, at once speaking to a newer generation with this working as an origins story.
eOne Films release POWER RANGERS in theatres on Friday, March 24, 2017.