It was about a matter of time before the Power Rangers became one of the last nostalgic money cows to milk in an age where media seems to be derivative of its former impactful properties and icons. Saturday morning cartoons, such as “Transformers”, “G.I. Joe”, and “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” have already had their fair share of big budget Hollywood adaptations. With most of the collective geek culture being focused on the 1980s and early 1990s, it is no surprise that the demand for a Power Rangers film was vocal. Being of Japanese origins, the original “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers” show was an Americanized version of Japan’s “Super Sentai” series that gained a large following in the states and, as with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, has had surprisingly long staying power in the interests and minds of children and fans. With that comes 2017’s “Power Rangers” film from Saban Brands.
As the trend goes in adapting notoriously cheesy, cheap and silly franchises, “Power Rangers” makes an attempt to combine the elements of a serious tone and the glory of its classic cheesy roots. With this being the case, the resulting film comes out to be a mess of tones, lame attempts at character connection, and forced emotions in a film that almost seems to resent its history in pop culture. The main concern of “Power Rangers” would be whether or not director Dean Israelite and distributor Lionsgate Films would bring “Power Rangers” into the pantheon of “dark, gritty, realistic, and serious” adaptions, or embrace the clear stupidity of not only its premise but its entire existence. Unfortunately, the film doesn’t know what it wants to be. With prolonged scenes of character interactions between Dacre Montgomery, Naomi Scott, RJ Cyler, Becky G, and Ludi Lin, credit should be given to the film’s writers for wanting to create chemistry and take time developing the characters. While it does succeed in creating charm and good vibes between actors, the material utterly fails the talent they have brought in. With a combination of poor editing, clumsy dialogue and forced moments of intrigue and emotion the actors hold their own given the circumstances.
The film feels like two different pictures. The final act is when this Power Rangers movie becomes…well a Power Rangers movie, complete with the classic theme song and fanfare, and while on the most superficial level seeing the imagery of new and improved Power Ranger suits and Zords is cool, it’s only within the final 20 minutes, and even then the film almost rushes itself to end to simply “get through with it.” It comes down to being inconsistent with tone, non-ironically corny, poorly written and, to put it simply, a lame adaptation. It’s a film with many “face palm” moments, which is never a good sign. Even with the final 20 minutes of pure schlock being even barely enjoyable, it still doesn’t save “Power Rangers” from being a bad film.
Photo courtesy of Rotten Tomatoes