Saban's Power Rangers (2017)
Critic Consensus: Power Rangers has neither the campy fun of its TV predecessor nor the blockbuster action of its cinematic superhero competitors, and sadly never quite manages to shift into turbo for some good old-fashioned morphin time.
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as Jason Lee Scott/The Red Ranger
as Kimberly Hart/The Pink Ranger
as Billy Cranston/The Blue Ranger
as Trini Kwan/The Yellow Ranger
as Zack Taylor/The Black Ranger
as Alpha 5
as Rita Repulsa
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Critic Reviews for Saban's Power Rangers
As cash grabs go, this one is delightfully unconcerned with coolness, neither shying away from its chintzy roots nor ironically embracing them.
What this Power Rangers does -- unlike the show -- is explore the complexities of our core team: They're imperfect but perfect enough to be selfless and save the world.
A winning and cartoonish coming-of-age tale about supermodel-pretty misfit kids bonding in the belly of an alien spaceship.
Overall, "Power Rangers" is a sometimes funny but flawed movie full of the action that most people who want to see movies like this crave.
Ultimately, this is a kids'-property superhero movie about teens getting power from ancient aliens and battling someone named Rita Repulsa (Elizabeth Banks, taking large bites of the scenery). The filmmakers do not forget to have fun with it.
Audience Reviews for Saban's Power Rangers
If you were a 90s kid, you know about Power Rangers. Who would have known that a TV show that combined Japanese monster fighting footage with cheesy teen drama and slapstick would become a pop phenom and nostalgic touchstone for a generation of kids? As Hollywood is want to do with anything nostalgic, it was only a matter of time before the series got its own mighty morphin' big screen revision. In the coastal town of Angel Grove, five teenagers meet in detention and are destined for monster-smashing greatness. Jason (Dacre Montogmery) is a star football player and natural leader. Billy (RJ Cyler) is a nerdy whiz kid on the spectrum. Kimberly (Naomi Scott) is a former cheerleader who has been abandoned by her friends. Zack (Ludi Lin) and Trini (Becky G) are barely at school, both of them tracking their loner paths. One day the fivesome come across strange glowing rocks that imbue them with powers like super strength and agility. "Are we like Spider-Man or Iron Man?" Billy asks, to help orient a superhero savvy audience. They're neither, of course, for they are the Power Rangers, an intergalactic warrior organization meant to protect worlds from threats. Zordon (Bryan Crantson) used to be a ranger millions of years ago and is now a floating head. He assembles the teens because of the looming threat of Rita Repulsa (Elizabeth Banks), a former ranger tuned bad and bent on your standard world destruction. The angst-ridden, misunderstood teens must come together to stop Rita and save the Earth. What tone does one adopt for a $100 million dollar reboot of a popular decades-spanning franchise intended for children that involves such names as Zords, Rita Repulsa, Zordon, Goldar, and the catch-phrase, "It's morphin' time"? Apparently the answer is a cross between Chronicle and Iron Man. For a show that even the most ardent fans would say was anything but serious, we have a fairly serious take on the material, at least serious enough when it wants to be. The filmmakers take a somewhat grounded approach to the sillier elements and that means a lot of palpable Breakfast Club-style teen angst and alienation, and it works. I was genuinely surprised that the second act's focus on the teamwork and training of the five rangers was my favorite part of the film. It is an origin movie so expect a learning curve as the characters adjust to mastering their powers and abilities and the alien technology. You can't just throw out a movie about space ninja cops that ride inside giant robot dinosaurs and battle monsters at the behest of a giant alien floating head without some setup. The training sessions cover a lot of ground but in fun ways that also build sequentially. The ascension of skills and confidence helps the characters open up and bond, and while some moments can be clunky (are any of their parents concerned where these kids go for seeming days on end?) it's pleasant and satisfying to watch the outsiders finally find an understanding community of peers. The teen stars leave a positive impression, most notably Cyler (Earl of Me, Earl, and the Dying Girl) and Scott (The 33), who definitely seems poised for bigger things. The characters have enough relatable conflicts, drama, and insecurities to produce just enough shades of characterization to make them interesting and worth rooting for. Those conflicts are also somewhat surprisingly adult and modern, often in clash with their parents' requests, something that might lead to some weird conversations in the car if parents bring their young kids. Jason is fighting against his popular image, Billy has a hard time fitting in and making friends because of being autistic, and Zack is the caregiver to his dying mother, and these guys are in a lesser tier of adult conflicts, so think about that. Trini is stifling against her parents expectations and labels, notably implying her own sexual orientation that seems to be tearing her up on the inside, something that she cannot even fully articulate at this time. Maybe the movie is trying to have it both ways by not referencing the word "gay" but it at least felt like a more valid inclusion of conflict and diversity than the recent live-action Beauty and the Beast. Lastly, Kimberly used to be the chief mean girl and the reason why she was jettisoned by the popular set is because she was cyber bullying a would-be friend. She spread a private nude picture her friend sent her boyfriend and shared it throughout school (Jason tries to helpfully mitigate this by saying, "Thousands of pictures are sent in school," which begs the question about Angel Grove's underreported sexting epidemic). The team dynamic and the characters opening up to one another were enjoyable enough that I didn't mind the relative dearth of action for 90 minutes of the two-hour running time. It's a backdoor superhero movie that finds some interesting dark twists on its source material. The original TV show sought, in the most 90s way, "teenagers with attitude," but the would-be rangers were just sort of normal teenagers. The 2017 movie at least provides that attitude and edge in a way that doesn't feel as generic as a kid riding a skateboard and drinking a Mountain Dew eight inches away from his face. The TV show was campy and colorful and relatively trifling, and the movie version attempts to put more danger and loss into the emotional stakes. Zordon is given a new back-story; no longer is he simply a disembodied mentor, now he has a scheming reason for the rangers to succeed. It's a small thing but it opens up the character of a floating alien head, and I cannot believe I just wrote that sentence. The friendship between our core group of characters matters so that, in the end, when it looks like they might lose, it does feel like something is going to be lost. With that being said, this isn't a reboot that's all gloom and doom. The reality of waking up one day and having super powers is played to the hilt of teen wish fulfillment and it makes for a fun series of self-discovery moments. These are teenagers adjusting to their new powers (heavy-handed puberty metaphor?) and enjoying the new potential unleashed for them. Their fun is contagious as is their camaraderie. In fact, the conclusion where the rangers do morph and don their armored suits and drive their robotic dinosaur Zords may be the weakest part of the movie. The ultimate payoff feels a bit lackluster and mechanical, as if it's simply falling back on cataclysmic citywide destructive action because that's what is expected in these kinds of movies. Every person should anticipate a giant monster on giant robot brawl to conclude the story as it concluded every one of the 830 episodes. It's just not that interesting especially since the big bad Goldar is simply a big personality-free heavy that looks like he's made from runny Velveeta cheese. Rita, as portrayed with screechy, kooky camp by Banks (Pitch Perfect 2), feels like she's been transported from a different Rangers universe. She literally gobbles gold to summon her colossal champion. She didn't feel like an effective antagonist, and that's even before her wicked scheme correlated with shameless product placement. Rita, Goldar, and their overall evil scheme makes for a rather perfunctory conclusion that feels like a downturn from the earlier, better events. Director Dean Israelite (Project Almanac) has a directorial style I'll dub "Michael Bay lite" considering how much his hyperkinetic, blue-tinted, light flared universe jibes with fellow Bay production disciple, Jonathan Liebesman (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles). His visual compositions can get excessively busy at the worst times, making it hard to fully engage in the onscreen action especially during the climax. There isn't that much action until the final confrontation, and I think this unexpectedly works as an asset to a franchise-starter that functions as an origin tale. Akin to the elongated tease from 2014's Godzilla, there is a sense of relief from watching the rangers in their full suits and fighting with full powers. However, it lacks more payoffs. The movie expects that delaying the final presentation of its heroes is good enough to arouse audience satisfaction, and it's not. The revised, souped-up Power Rangers (nee Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers) is a fitfully entertaining movie that works more often than it doesn't. Fans of the TV show will probably be pleased with the big budget big screen heroics and the reverence shown, though older fans might feel a bit closed off from the teen-centric tone. The relatable angst and group camaraderie made for efficient characterization that helped make the rangers feel like people rather than suits of armor and superfluous gymnastics. I enjoyed the characters enough so that I didn't miss the scattershot action and its slow motion stylistic indulgences. The special effects are fine and transparent its filmic influences, from Chronicle to Iron Man to even The Breakfast Club. It feels familiar but yet still different enough from the cheesy TV show, so it manages to justify itself. As far as my own history, I was just a bit too old once Power Rangers hit, so it was never my nostalgia. I found the new movie an acceptable origin tale that walks a delicate tone that allows serious moments to have weight and non-serious moments to be fun. If you're a Power Rangers kid, I'm sure you'll find enough to sate your demands. If you watched the trailer and thought it looked like something worthwhile, you might find enough to be suitably entertained, especially with well-calibrated expectations. If you're anyone else, then I doubt there's enough to necessitate your mighty morphin' dollars. Nate's Grade: B-
With the 90's nostalgia boom officially here, it was inevitable that Hollywood attempt a big budget adaptation of one of the most bizarre pop culture fads that irritated parents and big sisters worldwide - The Goddamn Power Rangers. And it was bizarre. It was a campy TV show aimed at kids that more-or-less ripped off the concept of the Green Lantern Corps, and absolutely took footage wholesale from a Japanese superhero show for its action sequences. Every child had their favorite ranger and awkward martial arts fights broke out across every playground in America. It's easily one of those childhood interests that one can look back on and question God why it ever existed and why one ever spent time and money on it in the first place. Yet for Millennials and Gen Y it was a generational touchstone, and much like Gen X properties before it, the Power Rangers are a resource to exploited by studios lusting after franchises. So what about this movie? Yeah I guess it was alright. Okay, okay I guess it deserves a bit of unpacking. Saban's Power Rangers is a better movie than it probably deserved or needed to be. It's a fun and breezy popcorn movie with a fair bit of heart and generally likeable characters. This is not a performance based-drama, an existential treatise, or a deconstructive examination of gods and men. And it never needed to be. If anything, Power Rangers is about standing up to bullies. And the power of friendship! And gigantic dinosaur robots whacking kaiju with...umm...power swords. Yeah. Our heroes are a fun, diverse bunch as you'd expect. Dacre Montgomery is a Jason/Red Ranger who is a washed-up high school quarterback with a penchant for slapping bullies and getting into trouble. Naomi Scott is a Kimberly/Pink Ranger who is suffering from the stark realization that she's kind of a bitch. The solution - join a team of superheroes to become less awful! RJ Cyler earns MVP as an autistic, nerdy Billy/Blue Ranger. He provides a good chunk of the humor of the movie, and most of its emotional heart. Becky G plays a young lesbian Trini/Yellow Ranger estranged from her family, while Ludi Lin is a Zack/Black Ranger who takes care of his ailing mother and doesn't understand the concept of self-control. Bryan Cranston is largely wasted, as he seems to be in most pictures he gets shoehorned into these days. And as you have probably heard, Elizabeth Banks has the most fun chewing the scenery and hamming it the fuck up as Rita Repulsa. She's a live wire throughout, and a quick reminder to the audience that Power Rangers is designed to be campy, crazy shit. Despite all the fun, Power Rangers leans a bit too heavily on the tropes of a superhero origin story flick, which is to be expected in this day and age. Many feared that this would become Power Rangers as directed by Michael Bay, but instead Dean Israelite settled for Power Rangers as directed by JJ Abrams. That carries all the pros and cons associated with that, but for me it worked. The product placement borders on the absurd. So much that Krispy Kreme becomes a plot point in the third act. Think Taco Bell and Demolition Man without the wit. That bad. Anyway, Power Rangers ends up being a decent rental movie or download for millennials and their young families. Which means I'm old. Yea.
Dean Israelite's morphs a campy TV series into a full fledged action adventure with the Power Rangers. Riding in at nearly 2 hours, the character buildup, at least for most of the characters, does its job. The first couple of acts of this picture takes its time morphing into shape, and this is good; the better parts of the film. The finale is where all the fun happens; however it speeds up too quickly for its own good. The CG and action is a mixed bag, but more than tolerable. The finale showcases more than enough to go around. RJ Cyler, Dacre Montgomery, and Naomi Scott are the heart of this picture. Ludi Lin, Becky G, and Elizabeth Banks, while integral characters, suffer from a sufficient lack of development. While the Power Rangers isn't perfect, it more than satiates the hunger for an action adventure.
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