Release Date: March 24, 2017
Director: Dean Israelite
Writer: John Gatins, Matt Sazama
Cast: Dacre Montgomery, Naomi Scott, RJ Cyler, Ludi Lin, Becky G., Elizabeth Banks, Bryan Cranston, Bill Hader, Matt Shively, Cody Kearsley, David Denman, Robert Moloney, Anjali Jay, Sarah Grey, Morgan Taylor Campbell, Caroline Cave, Kayden Magnuson, Lisa Berry, Wesley MacInnes, John Stewart, Fiona Fu, Clayton Chitty, Austin Obiajunwa
MPAA Rating: PG – 13
Runtime: 124 minutes
Production Company: Lionsgate, Saban Brands, Saban Entertainment, Temple Hill Entertainment, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
Country: Canada, USA
Budget: $105,000,000 (estimate)
Power Rangers in the early 90’s was the show kids all around raved about, rushing to their television set right after school. It was a fun, action-packed filled extravaganza that was impossible to ignore. It was cheesy to say the least, but all was forgiven; with it at times being self-aware and fully embracing itself. There’s been countless reimagining of the original show, but nothing comes close to the original. Though in all old properties enough time passes by to warrant a reboot, which is what we have here. While I can watch the 1995 theater release movie, corniness and all, this reboot is an origin story separating itself from that film in all regards. And with this fresh take, it’s not a home run, but will for sure make fans of the 90’s show happy.
It’s always a smart choice to service fans when at all possible. Showing what’s been loved from before, but from a different perspective, will lead you to a win a majority of the time. So, in the beginning, seeing familiar faces from the Power Rangers legacy from the past was a good way to start things off. Believe it or not, there was controversy over the casting in the original show for years due to the Black actor being the Black Ranger and the Asian female character being the yellow ranger. As a Black man myself, I never saw an issue with this, but the studio came up with a clever way to resolve potential backlash while simultaneously making it funny. Speaking of the casting, the Blue Ranger, Billy (RJ Cyler), stole the show, reacting to becoming a Power Ranger as most would. Excited!
All I wanted was for this film to feel like a true action adventure that served the fans and paid respect to the franchise with a few corny set ups sprinkled randomly throughout. For the most part, that was delivered on time. The bond between the rangers felt real, and they had to earn their powers. Additionally, despite building up towards the end, there’s plenty to see up and to that point to get you hyped. There are many conveniences throughout the film, like the Rangers getting their power at the same time the evil villain Rita Repulsa (Elizabeth Banks) emerges. Though being honest, given the source material, this was all expected long ago. When the Rangers suited up for the first time, it felt like I was in elementary school again; me smiling ear to ear reminiscing on the past, as if I was a Ranger myself. It’s simple, yet fun, and the soundtrack dropped in the action at all the right moments.
Though after a while, when it seemed to be a knock out of the park, reality set in that all things can’t be perfect. While I enjoyed the Rangers morphing and kicking all kinds of butt, that scene of action was far too brief. A feeling of disappointment filled the theater as every fan was enjoying each punch and kick, only to have to rush to the next set sequence. All would be forgiven, but in the next sequence the Zords were even more of a letdown. There’s nothing wrong with cheesiness in the right context, but here there were many moments of awkwardness.
What came as a surprise was that the most enjoyable part was the Rangers coming together as friends, and then family. I thought I’d over look this part going in, only anticipating the action, and while being enjoyable, the character relationships is what worked best. There was a good amount of hesitation with the casting of Zordon (Brian Cranston) and Alpha 5 (Bill Hader), but it all worked out far beyond my expectations. Overall, I had a fun time with this reboot and look forward to the future set of films, if any, and will gladly see it twice to visit my childhood once again.