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Review: Power Rangers (Movie, 2017)   Leave a comment

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Yours truly got the see the movie the morning of its launch March 24, 2017.

To get the 3 biggest things out the way now:

  1.  Amy Jo Johnson (Played the original Pink Ranger) and Jason David Frank (Played the original Green and White Rangers) make a cameo appearance together after the Power Rangers beat Rita Repulsa and Goldar. They’re standing with the crowd of people gathered to take pictures of the Megazord.
  2. Speaking of cameos: Alpha 5 says the iconic “Ay-yi-yi-yi-yi!” a few times in the movie, which was the catchphrase of the original Alpha 5 in the 1992 TV series. Rita also says “Make my monster grow!” and laughs maniacally as Goldar makes his appearance.
  3. The post-credit teaser confirms there WILL be a second movie and Tommy Oliver will presumably play a key role then.

 

Speaking of the Green Ranger, remember this?

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In the movie, it’s comfirmed Rita Repulsa was the first Green Ranger. 65 Million Years Ago, Zordon was the first Red Ranger. He and the other Rangers battled Rita Repulsa, who betrayed the team and killed them all. Everyone including Zordon would fall to Rita, who betrayed the other Rangers because of her lust for more power. Using the last of his strength, Zordon seals away the Power Coins just as a blast of power rips Rita’s body apart and hurls her into the sea. The place where this epic battle took place would later be known as Angel Grove (of course).

A huge nod to the TV series only those familiar with the original franchise would have caught: Rita sought the Zeo Crystals (!), which had been hidden somewhere in present-day Angel Grove. At the end of the Mighty Morphin’ storyline, The Rangers were sent back in time to retreive the five Zeo Crystals. They would harness their power to become the Zeo Rangers. In the reimagined storyline, the Zeo Crystals are connected to the Morphing Grid. Whosoever possesses them will gain unimaginable power.

That aside, Rita says something really interesting just before she’s literally slapped into space by the Megazord: “Others will come after me.” While the movie’s plot was a closely guarded secret (props to Saban and Lionsgate for that), there were rumors Lord Zedd might make a cameo appearance. On that note, apparently the plan is to make the Power Rangers movieverse a 6-movie franchise. The right tone was set in this one if you ask me.

Anywho it’s probably fair to say Tommy Oliver will be a prominent character in the second movie (which Lionsgate has apparently already greenlit to happen) which obviously means Elizabeth Banks will reprise the role of Rita Repulsa. Speaking of, she did one hell of a job. All questions about weather or not Banks could pull it off were answered by her performance. She made Rita a twisted character and gave you plenty of reasons why she’s one bad…well, you know.  Remember the clip released last year of her throwing Trini around her bedroom? One of her lines during that encounter was “I’ve killed Rangers before.” This isn’t just in referral to the opening minutes of the movie. I won’t spoil what happens about 15 minutes later but someone kinda kicks the bucket.

…At the end of the day, if you are a fan of the original series I think you can rest easy. Don’t go by objective reviews. See the movie and judge it for yourself. On that note, I give the film a 9/10. Only reason it didn’t get a 10 is because there was no remixed Power Rangers theme music.

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Teaser Trailer for Power Rangers 2017 released   Leave a comment

 

…You are now free to breathe again.

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Saban is taking an interesting route with this movie, which is rebooting and reimagining the series from the very beginning. It’s presumed there will be a TV series on Nickelodeon but that has not been set in stone. No question Nick wants to see how the movie does before they commit to a series. The only people Saban might have trouble getting for the TV series are Elizabeth Banks, who plays Rita Repulsa and Byran Cranston, who plays Zordon.

The thing I like about the teaser trailer is just enough is shown to generate interest and give you an idea but not too much in terms of the flow of the story or plot. It feels familliar to those familliar with the original 1993 series but is accessible to those who are not. Saban clearly has a mature audience in mind with the reboot, which is very encouraging. With the movie, you’re able to slow down the pacing just enough to give each of the Rangers a decient amount of plot development.

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Jason, Zack, Billy, Trina and Kimberly of the new Power Rangers movie.

One thing I definitely want to comment on now is the racial makeup of the Black (Asian), Blue (Black) and Yellow (Latino/Hispanic) Rangers. Like the original 1993 series, this was done on purpose. I’m pretty disgusted by those who are pissed the race/color assignments from the original series for two of the Rangers–Black Ranger was Black and Yellow Ranger was Asian–is different this time. Saban got away with perpetuating stereotypes 20 years ago but decided not to rehash things in that way for the reboot.

Saban should be applauded for taking the high road, especially given the Social Justice issues in America right now. That aside, everything else including character names is the same. Trini’s name is Trina since the actress is Latino/Hispanic. Billy is still the group’s genius and as shown in the trailer, he rigs an explosive to the cliff and blows out the Power Coins. Jason has some issues with the law enforcement and moves to Angel Grove with his father (who he seems to have issues with) to get his life back on track. Kimberly has social issues at school and Zack is a bit of loner.

I like how real the Rangers are being portrayed. They each have their own issues that they’re dealing with. Stuff that can related to. Then they have to deal with an enemy from another world that has no problem exploiting their human weaknesses. Based on her comment in the teaser, this is clearly not Rita’s first time fighting Rangers. I’d be very interested in learning more about Rita’s backstory. An easy to miss easter egg in the above screenshot: The Green Ranger’s Power Coin. The popular theory is that battle suit is actually Rita channeling the power of the Green Ranger.

Of course, you can’t talk about Power Rangers and NOT talk about Zords. Pictures of the new Zords have been released but zoomed in. Looks like we’ll have to hope they’re featured in the next trailer. It is interesting to note the Rangers gain superhuman abilities as demonstrated in the trailer. The guys are ripped (Jason basically slaps off a chunk of a sink), they can breathe underwater and they can jump Super Mario style over ravines. Zords aside, it’s interesting to note neither Zordon or Alpha are shown in the teaser trailer. Likely intentional but we can probably expect one or both of them to appear in the next trailer.

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…Now that we’ve looked in the future, let’s go over the original Power Rangers cast for the sake of nostalgia ^_^

  • Walter Jones: Played Zack, the original Black Ranger. Storywise, Zack left with Jason and Trini to attend a Youth Summit in 1995. In truth Walter, Austin and Thuy were in a contract dispute with Saban and left the cast for those reasons. In a 2011 interview, Walter revealed his only regret leaving when he did was missing out on being in the movie. The cast apparently found out 20th Century Fox wanted a Power Rangers movie in the fall of 1994 after the contracts were re-negotiated.
  • Amy Jo Johnson: Played Kimberly, the original Pink Ranger. Storywise, Kimberly left after being presented with the opportunity to train with a famous Gymnastics instructor. In truth Amy left because her contract was expiring and she opted out renewing for another season. At the time she was cast, Amy was actually the most experenced cast member with prior acting experience (1991’s Susie Q). She makes a cameo appearance alongside Austin in Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie (1998).
  • David Yost: Played Billy, the original Blue Ranger. Storywise, Billy was pulled out of the role of a Power Ranger in the buildup for Power Rangers Zeo because he wasn’t compatible with any of the Zeo crystals. He falls in love with the Pink Alien Ranger and decides to stay on their homeworld, Aquatar. In truth, David was retired as a Ranger but kept in a supporting role on the show for the final year of his contract. David, who is Gay and came out to his fellow castmates pitched having this incorporated into his character to teach tolerence. Saban reportedly turned down the idea in fear of backlash from the network and angry parents.
  • Thuy Trang: Played Trini, the original Yellow Ranger. Storywise, Trini left with Jason and Zack to attend a Youth Summit in 1995. In truth Thuy, Austin and Walter were in a contract dispute with Saban and left the cast for those reasons. Thuy died in a car accident in 1999. According to a rumor, Thuy was on the short list of people Saban was looking at to have an on-screen mentorship role for the new Ranger team in the second half of Turbo.
  • Austin St. John: Played Jason, the original Red Ranger. Storywise, Jason left with Zack and Trini to attend a Youth Summit in 1995. In truth Austin, Walter and Thuy were in a contract dispute with Saban and left the cast for those reasons. Austin later returned three times. First, he came back as the Gold Ranger in the second half of Power Rangers Zeo. He also makes a cameo appearance alongside Amy in Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie (1998). He returned one more time in the Power Rangers Wildforce Episode Forever Red (considered by most PR fans to be the greatest Episode Ever) where he is the original Red Ranger once again. After his run on Zeo, Austin became a firefighter in his hometown where he works to this day.
  • Jason David Frank: Played Tommy, the original Green and White Rangers. The most famous and most decorated actor in Power Rangers history, you can’t talk Power Rangers and NOT mention JDR. Jason had the longest run of the original team and even stayed involved behind the scenes after his contract expired a shortly after Power Rangers Turbo began. He played the Red Ranger in both Zeo and Turbo and came back as the White Ranger once more almost 10 years later in Power Rangers Dino Thunder. Jason also appeared in the Wild Force Special Forever Red as the Red Zeo Ranger and the Megaforce Special as the original White Ranger. JDR left for good after his run on Dino Thunder to pursue a career in MMA full-time.

…There you have it.

The only former Power Ranger more famous than JDR is Johnny Bosch Young, who became a voice actor after his run on the show ended. How they handled the handover in Turbo was pretty classy: They had the veterans recruit their replacements more or less. This showed with the mentorship aspect before the transfer of power happened. The story goes, JDR and Bosch basically told Saban they wanted Austin to play the Gold Ranger in Zeo and threatened to walk out if they didn’t make it happen.

That’s a rumor I heard in 2004. Another rumor was Amy wanted to come back for the Turbo movie so she was brought in with Austin in cameo roles. Fans of Zeo were likely familiar with Austin but may not have remembered Amy. They didn’t hype up the fact two former rangers would be making an appearance and it worked.

Most of the former Rangers do attend conventions throughout the year though it’s much harder for Austin due to work (I believe he’s with the Sacrememto Fire Department). Amy announced last year at a convention she was moving on from her identity as the original Pink Ranger. Now in her early 40s, Amy recently released her first movie as a Producer and Director. David works in the industry offscreen. Everyone still keeps in touch and they often run into each other at conventions.

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