power-rangers-2017

‘Power Rangers’ reprise delights ‘90s baby

Mar 28 • Arts & Leisure • 166

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TAYLOR WOLFF
staff writer

It is almost impossible to look at a “now playing” billboard at a movie theater without seeing a reboot.
From “Kong: Skull Island” to “Point Break,” no film is safe from getting a facelift.
‘90s babies everywhere rejoiced when it was announced that “Power Rangers” would be heading to the big screen in 2017.
With the last feature film of note in the franchise dating back to 1995, the latest adaptation was long overdue.
The film, aimed toward teen viewers and nostalgic fans, was practically a mashup of “The Breakfast Club” and the first season of the original television franchise “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.”
The film opens with a brief flashback to the Cenozoic era explaining the origins of the Power Rangers on Earth and the only scene in which Bryan Cranston’s Zordon isn’t a computer-generated face.
With the brief background in tow, viewers are transported to modern-day Angel Grove, where football star Jason Scott is in the middle of pulling a disastrous prank.
After just about everything could go wrong, Jason finds himself under house arrest, kicked off the team and stuck in Saturday detention.
It is in this John Hughes-esque setting that Jason sticks up for Billy Cranston. Grateful, Billy offers to sabotage Jason’s ankle bracelet and the use of his mother’s van for a few hours.
Needing to escape the judgment of his father, Jason accepts the offer and finds himself at an abandoned gold mine, which is where things start to get interesting.
After using explosives to dig further into the rock, Billy and Jason are soon joined by Kimberly, Trini and Zack. The Angel Grove students discover five coins, each of a different color.
The group quickly pocket their find and flee the scene, only for Billy’s van to be hit by a train.
Jason, Billy and Kimberly wake up unharmed in their homes with new powers.
Curious about the newfound changes, the trio heads back to the mine, where Trini and Zack have also returned.
In the midst of testing their new abilities, the group accidentally discover a spaceship in a hidden cavern.
Onboard the ship, Alpha 5 soon appears and explains that the coins pocketed by the teens were power crystals left behind by Zordon for the next group of Rangers to protect the planet.
Zordon also appears through the ship’s matrix. It is then that the team is informed of Rita Repulsa and her plans to raise her minion Goldar, whom she needs to aid in harvesting the Zeo Crystal from the Earth.
Complete with a good deal of doubt, teen angst, a training montage and many failed attempts to morph, the Power Rangers prepare to foil Rita’s cataclysmic plans.
Looking at the overall picture, “Power Rangers” did not disappoint. The acting was on point.
Despite featuring big name actors like Bryan Cranston, Elizabeth Banks and Bill Hader, the relatively unknown cast produced a solid, angst-driven performance that was fun to watch.
Advances in filmmaking since 1993 did the beloved franchise the technical justice it deserved. The relatively believable special effects and use of CGI enhanced the performance of the cast.
The diversity of this film was outstanding and in some aspects groundbreaking. Billy, the Blue Ranger, is on the autism spectrum and Trini, the Yellow Ranger, admits to having girlfriend problems, making it apparent that she is a lesbian.
“Power Rangers” might be the first blockbuster film to have both LGBTQ and autistic superheroes, which is something extremely important.
Even with the acting, technical aspects, and applause-worthy diversity the plot and pace of the film wasn’t the best.
Keeping in mind that this film was full of Power Rangers history and likely setting audiences up for at least a sequel, this film didn’t quite accomplish everything it wanted to. It almost seemed like the plot was too bogged down in origin story and the culminating battle was too short and simple.
The training montage itself seemed rushed. Possibly an extended version of the film would have heightened the overall experience.
Tasked with the challenge of bringing a beloved franchise back to the big screen, “Power Rangers” proved to be a successful reboot.
Looking beyond some flaws in plot and pace, this film manages to be energetic, entertaining and splendidly modern.
Be sure to keep an eye out for the original Pink and Green Rangers and the after-credit scene. This film is a must see for both new and old fans alike.

TAYLOR WOLFF
wolff006@knights.gannon.edu

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