I was forced to watch the Power Rangers movie last night. My friend is in that weird little demographic of people nostalgic for the original Power Rangers, not interested in the current TV output and that thinks a big budget Hollywood version is a good idea. Hence, he saw the film at the cinema, raved about it and bought the blu-ray.
So, yes, I was expecting very little of it. And actually… it wasn’t all that bad. The design work is shite - the suits looks terrible, the Zords look terrible (especially combined), Alpha looks ugly as hell. They went bizarrely over literal in adapting Goldar (who was originally mainly gold in colour, yes, but was a humanoid griffin thing, here he’s just a barely sentient lump of actual gold) and yet missed the point of the putties (they’re made of rock. Rock!).
But, the plot’s passable if predictable. They made a really interesting choice in having Zordon be a former Red Ranger and Rita that team’s Green Ranger who’s gone bad - as she grows more powerful through the film, her costume develops into the basis of a Green Ranger suit. The cast is pretty solid, especially the people playing Jason, Billy and Kimberly (no idea of their names) and Elizabeth Banks’ Rita. Making Billy autistic is an interesting addition to what was a thin character originally, and they certainly make all of the team more rounded than they were in the 90s. The direction’s good too. There’s a nice bit of fancy camera work early on, with a 360 rotational shot in a car as it crashes and the Zord battle is mostly shot with a clarity that Michael Bay could do well to sit down and study.
The main thing is, it wasn’t nearly as cringey as I expected it to be. The first 40 minutes or so is a perfectly respectable teen super-hero thing. Not on the same level as a good Marvel movie, but decent enough. When they meet Zordon and Alpha, you get exposition and all the Power Ranger terminology and it doesn’t jar nearly as much as I thought it would. I think it helps that it takes it self seriously. It doesn’t feel the need to wink at the audience with jokes at its own expense, a “look, we know this is stupid, just go with it” move, like the first Transformers film did every three minutes.
I still think it’s a weird film that doesn’t quite have a market to aim at - certainly not young kids, the name’s a barrier to most adults and I don’t think the nostalgia market is there for it, but I’d actually be open to watching a sequel. Which I really didn’t think I’d be saying beforehand.