Power Rangers

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The Power Rangers.
The Power Rangers.
Photo: Lionsgate


Power Rangers




3/5 Stars


Five ordinary teens must become something extraordinary when they learn that their small town of Angel Grove—and the world—is on the verge of being obliterated by an alien threat. Chosen by destiny, the heroes quickly discover that they’re the only ones who can save the planet. But, to do so, they’ll have to overcome their real-life issues and, before it’s too late, band together as the Power Rangers.


For most of us who spent our growing years watching the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, the colourful crew of teenage superheroes, campy fights and terrible dialogue always made us come back for more. When they first announced that they were going to bring the black, blue, pink, red and yellow to the big screen, you could almost hear the internet’s communal groan about Hollywood’s obsession with riding the nostalgia wave in ad nauseam.

Power Rangers’ lovability is directly proportional to its terrible graphics and campy villains, but somehow the cinema gods blessed us with a great Power Rangers movie. In fact, I had more fun watching teenage banter mixed with saving the world antics than any of the DC movies combined, and all of this was brought to you by a South African director!

Following pretty close to the original series, five misfits discover, by sheer will of the scriptwriter, ancient coins in an old quarry that lead them to a mysterious spaceship, and soon become destined to take on the mantle of Power Rangers to save their town and the world from the evil Rita Repulsa.

Many might have hoped for a grittier reboot of our favourite childhood series, but keeping in style with the campy humour and retaining many of the series’ elements ended up being a better stylistic choice. There’s a fine balance between the humour and the more serious elements, and somehow the entire squad gets character development - even Zordon the Wall takes some lessons in not being a dick. The film also toed the PG line like a pro which soon becomes a running joke throughout, with some risqué jokes right in the first scene and very obvious almost-swear words. They even managed to make the smoothest product placement ever, and Krispy Kreme will forever be remembered as the heart of Earth. The marketing team must be getting all their Christmases at once.

No superhero movie is complete without its villain, and let me tell you Rita Repulsa gave me nightmares. In the series, she’s a comical hysterical-laughing wannabe that you could never take seriously in that Viking-esque getup of hers, but Elizabeth Banks transformed her into something so dark and psychotic that she will creep you out of your skin. She retains some of the original’s insanity but puts her own spin to it, and luckily for Banks they also upgraded her outfit that reaches peak badass. The Power Rangers themselves were usual teenagers with attitude problems, adding in a lesbian character and an autistic character, and though teen angst and puberty drama is a big part of the film, it remains watchable for a more mature fanbase.

As for the CGI effects, which was pretty much non-existent in the original series, it was on par with standards of big budget movies today, though fans might be a bit peeved at the massive changes in Goldar, who was has been turned from a bumbling monkey warrior to a mindless gold giant. Still, in terms of story and 90s nostalgia, Power Rangers is dimensions better to watch than Transformers, which has turned into a CGI-orchestrated mess with plots that feels like it was written by a toddler. 

Director Dean Israelite, who previously directed teenage time travelers in the decent Project Almanac, has a knack for making teenage drama easier to watch and less Disney, and it’s pretty obvious that he’s a Power Rangers fan. His passion for the story, combined with the one-liner machine that is Oscar-nominated scriptwriter John Gatins (Flight), resulted in a charming, fun yet slightly dark version of Power Rangers that will cultivate a new fandom in the younger generation.

Don’t go into Power Rangers expecting The Revanant – it’s silly and stupid and, surprise, for kids, and that’s what makes it amazing.


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