Power Rangers (2017)
There was a lot of memorable theme songs to old television shows. Still is, for better or worse. I'd wager you'd be rather hard pressed to find one as straight energy-pumping awesome as that old power rangers theme though - so straight high octane. As with most things, this new take on Power Rangers was anxiously met by people with an almost per-disposition to want it to fail, because it was just another "cash in" on nostalgia. Heck, even after release it was met by a new wave of dislike and negative reviews quite common to these sorts of things. Me though, I like to judge a movie by my own opinion - and as at this point I've almost empirically proven that most the time I'll enjoy a movie far more than the common-folk negative review would imply I should. Get out that spandex, it's morphing time!
Let's get this right out of the way - yes, the rangers fully adorned in suits are in a rather small part of this movie when you look purely at the time stamps. At roughly 2 hours long, you'll only find about 30 minutes or so of them fully duded up and ready to fight evil. What I'd like to counter posit here is that when it comes to an actual percentage, that means you've got roughly a quarter of the movie in fully suited "Go Go!" action. It's been a rather long time since I've partaken of any of the shows, but I did a little quick and dirty research here and pulled up the old first episode - because an origin for an origin at it's lamest I figure. Out of 20 minutes, it isn't until about 14 minute in the rangers finally don their suits. I guess what I'm getting at here is that if your going to complain this movie isn't a hundred percent suited sentai action, then you might need to start complaining about the original show as well.
With that out of the way, the start of our movie is very Breakfast Club. Trouble maker kids - even if the trouble is incredibly light - from all walks coming together (with the majority of them all meeting in Saturday detention). I'd argue that you don't quite have the depth of characters as you did in the just mentioned movie however, but considering that this is a Power Rangers origin story, it's nice to see an attempt of any depth put into actually giving these characters some depth. That said, the depth isn't all created equally - yellow probably suffering the most from lack of anything - and I'd argue that red, blue, and pink end up getting the most attention, with black probably having the more emotionally touching background in the little amount it's touched on. We are treated to a sort of pre-game scene setting up the relationship between the wall-living talking head and his gold-obsessed arch nemesis as well. It becomes apparent to me that that sentence makes much less sense when I opt to leave the character names out.
While the character stories might end up falling a little flat in depth and feeling more like an appreciated attempt, the actors still do a pretty darn good job of playing out their parts. Again, yellow ends up feeling like she drew the short end of the straw - not that her actor is bad, by all means she does a fine job, but rather it doesn't feel like she has a whole lot of lines to begin with. Our annoying robot exposition dumper and proclaimer of "Ai ai ai!" is far less annoying this go around, and has himself a few good lines here and there and some decent expression for an animated robot. Our main villain also feels a bit shallow on the depth department, but admittedly spends most the movie feeling like a legitimate threat as opposed to some old lady with a cone bra going crazy up on the moon.
The pace of the movie surprisingly also feels pretty good, particularly when we don't get the full ranger experience until the final act. Although it's paced well, it does sometimes come at the cost of plot convenience - for example, all the kids being at the right place at the right time, event A leading to event B or what-have you. At one point, a character even somewhat calls this out with a line along the likes of "I mean, what are the chances?" It does still carry all the same sort of cheesy morals of the old show - the power of friendship and all - but I don't really see that as any sort of negative as that's the very essence of the show (besides spandex kung fu with sparks everywhere). In all honesty, the very format itself feels very similar to how I remember episodes playing out.
The movie itself is also put together quite well - the car scene we start off to introduce us to red is done in this cool long take that has the camera rotating around in the car seat, and it's really a cool thing to check out that I wouldn't mind getting used a bit more somewhere else. Beyond that, there's about the standard amount of cuts you would expect in a movie with action - not so many that it's upsetting, but every scene isn't one big steady take either. There's also a few moments where the camera can be a bit shakier than it needs to be, I assume due to someone manually holding the camera to get the shot out in the wilderness and not using a steady rig for some reason.
For relying as much as it does on CG for a good deal of things, the effects are pretty well done here as well. Our evil lady has some fun costume designs as well as some practical face makeup going on, and the ranger suits look very much like they can be a worn thing (if it wasn't for all the CG embellishing on them, I'd be more inclined to feel they were actual suits with touch ups done digitally). The fodder enemies - although generic in the sense that they are rock monsters - are far more menacing than a dude in a tight spandex suit, and also end up looking pretty decent. Zordon's big old head looks a bit better being high-tech morphing wall than it did just being a giant floating bald head in a tube in my opinion, although the robot's design might be a bit over-the-top for what he is and probably could have been simplified down a little bit. The final battle sequence is fun to watch, and by the time we scale to the zords and megazords, they all look great even with the changes to how they look in my opinion. Yes, there's a certain charm to a giant thing looking like it's made out of cardboard boxes and being all square and chunky, but I can also understand why they'd want to update that a bit - and they at least kept the design simple enough that it isn't overly busy like the Transformers were.
This is just another case in the ever-growing list of movies that people seem to hate that I just don't understand why. It's a fun movie with more in common with it's source than most people would probably admit, and is probably the better of the American silver screen attempts. I mean, it's leagues better than that second movie with the guy made of ooze. It has some jokes, it has some cheese, and it has a lot more effort into characters than I would have thought it would, all while looking pretty and being put together good. It might not be flawless, and it certainly has room for improvements to be made, but I'd say this ones easily worth checking out if you just want to have a good time.