I don’t want to write about this. It’s been quite a while since I’ve seen it and I still don’t want to write about it.
Power Rangers was one of the most prevalent shows of the 90’s. It was hip in the same way a stereotypical surfer dude is. It paraded histrionics and embraced comedy. It was the Schwarzenegger of kid’s television. Cornier than corn-on-the-cob and as lighthearted as an action show can be, Power Rangers, if it knew anything, knew its tone. It understood, without any reservations, its identity.
Power Rangers starts off with a sex joke. Nothing like a brazen, out-of-left-field sex joke to welcome an audience of 8-year-olds.
It is a sledgehammer to the mirror of reality for fans. I actually turned to my friend and was like, “Wow. Really? This is where we’re going with this?”
It’s a slow and long way down from that point forward and that point wasn’t too far from the start.
It wipes the floor with the concept of the Power Rangers before it even began. It was never meant to be a character exploration nor did it ever dissolve into a puddle of cheap filth, but our screenwriters and director here, in their infinite wisdom, decided sex jokes were the proper introduction of a Power Rangers movie.
It is simply disrespectful to the material. 90’s television was innocent and genuine. The dialogue was the food equivalent of cotton candy. There was never much substance there but the humor always kept it sweet and worth watching. You certainly could never say the Power Rangers was jaded. If anything, it was unnaturally enthusiastic, to the point that it was near impossible to take the show seriously. Rather than try to change that perception, the original crew carried it along, feeding into an adventure that caused no serious consequences. The world was at the brink of destruction, but I as a viewer was never concerned. The Power Rangers would get it done.
Dean Israelite decides to add a fresh spin on the saga. Rather than collude with the previous makers and look to manifest an allusion of the past, of this time when things weren’t so serious, Israelite decides he wants a dire story and then, along with RJ Cyler’s “strategic” weirdness, try to package it together into this antique with a fresh polish job and, somehow, a new feel to it.
If anything, Power Rangers is a movie that clearly wants to be taken serious but also wants to stay loyal to its predecessors, and to do both takes a surgeon’s hand and scientist’s attention to detail, neither of which a director who just made his film debut in 2015 possesses.
I’m perplexed by producers handing blockbusters to inexperienced directors and have been for quite a few years now. If I ever figure out the rationale, I’ll let you know. Until then, I’ll keep mentioning it, like I did a few weeks ago when I wrote Kong: Skull Island.
Not only is this Power Rangers a different animal from its parent, it’s a whole different species altogether, and worse, clearly out of its league.
There never was enough character concrete in the originals to allow for adult discussions on anything. Yes, we would have the adolescent lessons of loyalty and staying true to your values, but these teachings do not require an anthology to understand, nor a lot of inner turmoil for the viewer. Israelite wants to say something more meaningful, but he never gets around to saying what that thing is. If he does, it skipped past me because the movie doesn’t do much to keep you looking if only to see when this train wreck is going to end. The acting is withdrawn and without characters to feel for, audience engagement is difficult. I at no point feel a part of this experience. I hesitate to even use the word. Seems like an injustice to utilize it in this context.
It’s a reboot that’s formulaic rather than artistic and scientific rather than illustrative. Compromised by the expositional hose, Power Rangers doesn’t feel like a movie so much as it is a traversing of the lifeless and dormant. I’ve been on this ride more than a few times and it lost its entertainment value long ago.
Once again, if you’re new to my blog, I’ve always ranked movies on a scale of 0-100 (I don’t know why, I just always have). Here’s the grading scale.
80-89 It was a pretty good movie and definitely one worth seeing, but it doesn’t quite scratch my top ten percentile. (Olympus Has Fallen, The Cable Guy, The Cabin in the Woods, Tears of the Sun, Edge of Tomorrow)
50-59 This movie isn’t intolerable but it’s not blowing my mind either. I’m trying really hard to get some sort of enjoyment out of this. (The Great Wall, Robin Hood, Underworld, The Do-Over, X-Men: Apocalypse)
40-49 This movie is just mediocre. It’s not doing anything other than the bare minimal, so morbidly boring that sometimes I’m actually angry I watched this. (Underworld: Evolution, Batman & Robin, Bloodsport, War, The Ridiculous 6)
30-39 Definitely worse than mediocre, the 30′s ironically define the 1930′s, full of depression, lack of accomplishments, poverty and just so dumb. (Most Likely to Die, Independence Day: Resurgence, The Crow: City of Angels, Centurion, Planet of the Apes)
0-19 Watching this movie resulted in one or more of the following: seizure, loss of brain cells, falling asleep/unconsciousness, feel you wasted your time/day, accomplished nothing for you, left the movie knowing less about it then you did going into it, constantly asking yourself why you came to see this movie, or near-death experience. In short, staring at a wall was just as entertaining as watching this movie. This movie deserved a sticker or a label that said, “WARNING: EXTREME AMOUNT OF SUCKAGE.” (The Coed and the Zombie Stoner, The Forbidden Dimensions, Cyborg, Outcast, Sabotage)
My score for Power Rangers: 47.
This movie has Bryan Cranston in it, by the way, if you were looking for another reason to cry yourself to sleep. Israelite misses on the power of nostalgia with this one. Like, completely, and without that thread from the past and that alchemy those crews performed in the 90s, Power Rangers fails to be itself.