Go go flashy Hollywood reboots? Saban’s Power Rangers fails to excite audiences

Go go flashy Hollywood reboots? Saban’s Power Rangers fails to excite audiences

Troy Pierson, Staff Reporter

The action-adventure martial arts movie Saban’s Power Rangers, which released to the box office on March 24, 2017, brings audiences back to a time of troubled teenagers turned samurai superheroes, tacky villains and lifeless background plots. Directed by Dean Israelite, this 1990s television reboot is almost as cheesy as its predecessor, recreated with twenty-first century high-definition explosions and computer graphics in an attempt to please an unknown age group.

The premise of the 2017 film stays relatively based on a combination of the 1993 children’s television series Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, which sparked a worldwide phenomenon, not only resulting in the production of 22 seasons, but also a collection of toys, costumes, and other merchandise. The story follows five teenagers in the small town of Angel Grove as they discover an underground spaceship and form a group of superheroes known as the Power Rangers to protect the Earth from intergalactic invaders who wish to destroy them and the universe.

The main characters, the Power Rangers, are half-baked. It seemed as if the story tried extensively to make the characters more personable as individuals, but it is hard to distinguish the differences between some of their personal identities. Each Ranger comes from a separate walk of life, and the story slowly attempts to make the group become companions at a rate which is frustrating to watch. The entirety of the film is more about the main characters bonding together as a team by practicing and training instead of massive battles and explosions. This would initially appear as a good way to build up to the inevitable final battle scene, but the pacing was dragged out too long. If the story added more substance to the characters to make them more relatable, audiences would cling to the characters’ emotions more throughout the story.

An interesting characterization of one of the Rangers, the yellow Ranger Trini (played by actress Becky Gomez) is revealed as a bisexual. Although her identity was lightly touched upon during the film, it was certainly different in that the story tried to focus on teenager emotions of the present day. In regard to execution for the specific characterization of this Ranger, it is best to leave it up to the audiences to decide. This is new territory for the movie industry, and to see the first adaptation of this idea into a teenage-oriented movie is a subtle but reassuring touch.

Another essential characterization element is one of the Rangers, the blue Ranger Billy (played by actor RJ Cyler), is revealed to have autism. Although the character is on the spectrum of the mental condition, this is another intriguing way the movie appealed to audiences. The way this character’s condition was executed fairly successfully; the producers decided to take a more positive humorous aspect to the character and his condition, making Billy the comic relief of the Rangers. It is encouraging to see that this characterization was achieved without any bias or mockery to the condition itself; this example may lead producers of future movies to take influence from this film to adapt to more characters.

A focal point that leads to the confusion of the movie is the lack of a target audience. Although the rating for this film is for individuals over the age of thirteen, there still remains an amount of sexually-oriented adult humor that younger fans will fail to pick up on. For audiences who will understand the jokes, it will still appear out of place for a movie that was originally created for children.

The main villain poses as an utterly predictable antagonist. An evil woman named Rita Repulsa with supernatural powers wants to take over the world and the universe, using a series of scare tactics to brainwash some of the Rangers onto her side and eventually make an effort to kill them. Although the updated version of this villain amounted to a better representation than the cringe-worthy Rita from the 1990s Power Rangers, the villain’s only intentions arise out of pure evil, the only basis for her intentions are that she was once a Ranger who simply wanted more power for herself. Virtually no emotions connect to this antagonist whatsoever, which unfortunately subsists as a major flaw in the main plot when pertaining to character vs. outside conflict in the story.

A predictable and bland storyline coupled with a lack of satisfaction from the boring action and fighting sequences makes Power Rangers yet another teenage movie to forget. This movie grossed around $40 million its opening weekend according to Box Office Mojo. IMDb gave the movie a 7.0 rating, and Rotten Tomatoes gave it a 48 percent rating.