Power Rangers: Krispy Kreme style
Power Rangers, also known by the name Saban's Power Rangers, is directed by Dean Israelite and stars Dacre Montgomery, Naomi Scott, RJ Cyler, Becky G, Ludi Lin, Bill Hader, Bryan Cranston, and Elizabeth Banks.
The Power Rangers were both desperately begging for a decent reboot and asking to leave well enough alone. The very name Power Rangers I find impossible to say without repressing a chuckle, even though it's a far better name than something like the Morphin Squad or something else stupid. If you've seen at least snippets of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers 90's flick or TV show, you will quickly learn that the Rangers fighting a barrage of baddies comes off as cheesy, harmless fun. For the most part, it was aware of what it was and didn't try to be anything overly serious or melodramatic. That is not quite the case here in 2017, where director Dean Israelite attempts to morph the story of the superhero quintet into a somber teenage drama, despite maintaining a humorous edge.
The Power Rangers consist of five social outcasts in the town of Angel Grove. There's Jason Scott (Montgomery), who blows his football career after a failed prank attempt. Then there's Kimberly Hart (Scott), part of a cyberbullying incident involving an image of one of her friends. Third is Billy Cranston (Cyler), an autistic, nerdy loner. Fourth is Trini (Becky G), a girl questioning her sexual orientation which has led to her having a shortage of friends. Finally, there's Zack (Lin), a bilingual teenager who is taking care of his sick mother. The five come together at a mine one night where they uncover the the power source of the Rangers: the Power Coins. Each one of the quintet takes a coin, discovering later on that they each have become stronger and have acquired superhuman powers. The five eventually come into contact with the consciousnesses of the robot Alpha 5 (Hader) and Zordon (Cranston). Zordon informs the five about the history of the Rangers and the existence of the evil Rita Repulsa (Banks), who betrayed the Rangers in an earlier time and is currently in the process of resurrecting. Rita works on finding pieces of gold to raise her servant Goldar, who will find the Zeo Crystal, which could destroy all life on Earth if Rita gets it into her possession. Zordon tells the new Rangers that Rita will be back to full power in eleven days, and if they intend to stop her, they must bond together and discover how to morph.
The main issue with this version of the Power Rangers is how middle of the road it is. This is a movie that nails average on the head so hard that it's actually kind of impressive. For as many good things that I could possibly say about this movie, there is an equal number of bad things. Israelite directs this movie with no obvious ambition to mighty morph the Power Rangers into something audiences can invest in and dissect with eager curiosity. And at the same time, he directs the movie with careful attention at avoiding overbearing goofiness that would evoke more eye rolls than laughs. Credit the movie with this: it's the first blockbuster superhero movie to feature LGBTQ and autistic superheroes.
- The movie is well-casted. Each of the Rangers gets a moment to be funny or do something meaningful to the plot, and you might notice that each Ranger has a different type of ethnicity since an all-white cast would most likely have been met with hellfire from the passionate, diversity-obsessed folks in the audience.
- You might be wondering why did I mention Krispy Kreme in the beginning? That, my friends, is because a major integral plot point in the movie involves Krispy Kreme donuts. Let me repeat that. A MAJOR INTEGRAL PLOT POINT OF POWER RANGERS INVOLVES KRISPY KREME DONUTS! Product placement happens all the time in movies, but you really reach something utterly bizarre and over the top when your story depends on the use of such product placement. Of all the things in the world that Power Rangers could have chosen to advertise, they choose delicious donuts. They certainly thought it could pass off as a funny joke. All I think it does is be the cue for thousands of people to place their palms in their faces.
I really am struggling to come up with reasonable high and low points, simply because the movie is just so average in every conceivable way. There's nothing horrible here by any means, and at the same time, there's nothing great. The movie tries to be more gritty and serious than every previous Power Rangers installment, and it doesn't really work out. It's also trying to be humorous and charming, and it doesn't really work there either. Every good cancels out every bad, leaving you with a rather empty and not-very-fun superhero flick. Sorry, Power Rangers. Your cinematic morphin time is still yet to come.
(because that's as average a grade as I can give)
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