Tony's Take

SABAN’S POWER RANGERS review

It’s Morphin Time!

Saban’s “Power Rangers” opens millions of years ago, as the Rangers Team is attempting to thwart Rita Repulsa’s plan of destroying the World.   With only seconds to spare, Red Ranger, Zordon, buries the 5 stones with the hopes that they will be found by the next team of Rangers.  Forward to the present: we find ourselves amongst a group of misfit kids in Angel Grove: a trouble quarterback, a girl with an identity crisis, an autistic boy, a teen taking care of his mother, and a girl who keeps moving from place-to-place; all with their own personal struggles and identities.  One night, with the 5 of them all in the same place, they stumble-upon the stones in the quarry.  While fleeing from security, their cars gets hit by a train and they crash.  However, they wake up the next morning with no idea how they got home and not a single injury to their body.  Curious and mystified by their incredible abilities, they realize they must go back to the quarry and try to learn more.  They end-up discovering an alien ship, containing a robot named Alpha-5 whose soul-purpose is to get this next Ranger team ready to battle Rita and Goldar.  With only days to spare, the team must train and prepare for a battle against Rita and her army; knowing that failure will lead to the destruction of Earth.

Dacre Montgomery plays the troubled former-high school quarterback and Red Ranger, Jason.  Naomi Scott plays Kimberly, a girl who just lost her best friends and becomes the Pink Ranger.  RJ Cyler plays a young teen on the autistic spectrum and the Blue Ranger, Billy.  Ludi Lin plays Zack, the Black Ranger.  Becky G. plays the outcast Trini, the Yellow Ranger.  Elizabeth Banks plays the evil ex-Ranger, Rita Repulsa.  Bryan Cranston plays the Red Ranger and AI of the ship, Zordon.  Bill Hader voices Alpha-5, the robot tasked with preparing the Power Rangers.  David Denman plays Jason’s father, Sam.  Matt Shiverly and Cody Kearsley have small roles as well.

Saban’s “Power Rangers” suffers from the clichéd origin story, but it takes creative risks that allow the film to entertain and provide a deep enough story that will make even the diehard Power Ranger fans happy.  The film relies heavily on its cast and, luckily for the audience, the band of misfits share great chemistry.  Each of them has something unique to offer and it serves to move the story along.  While the kids certainly look like they’re having a good time, it’s Elizabeth Banks who seems to be loving her role.  Banks’ Repulsa is as campy and “comic-booky” as you can get, but she fully devotes herself to the role, which serves to create a very intriguing character.  As I said earlier the film does struggle, especially when introducing the five different leads.  The cliché of “in the right place at the right now” is almost laughable, as is its’ depiction of the High School.  Even after discovering the stones, “Power Rangers” still crawls along and once we finally get the kids in their suits and zords, it’s not nearly long enough.  While the film’s finale is visually-appealing, the earlier effects-driven sequences are often not nearly as sharp or clear.  The film also finds-itself tonally confused, featuring different age levels of subject matter; bouncing from kid friendly to almost-adult material.  Parents may find a few moments of discomfort if bringing their young children, as it is often darker than similar franchises “The Avengers” and “Transformers”.  Bringing this beloved series back to its fans is certainly one of the main reason for “Power Rangers” existence, so it should come to no surprise that there are plenty of nostalgic moments, cameos, and even a hilarious Transformers reference!  “Power Rangers” has a run time of 124 minutes and it does take a while for the film to gain momentum.  Overall, “Power Rangers” is back, ready to captivate a brand new audience and send them on an entertaining, thrill-ride!  And, of course, the roots for a sequel have been planted!

“Power Rangers” is about a group of teens who must become the Power Rangers and defend the World from complete and total annihilation.  The film features plenty of entertainment, a strong cast of characters, and many different call-backs to the iconic series.  If you are a fan, go see “Power Rangers” this weekend!!  Otherwise, maybe wait until it hits Blu-ray to give it a watch!

 3/5

Saban’s POWER RANGERS is rated PG-13 for for sequences of sci-fi violence, action and destruction, language, and for some crude humor, in theaters MARCH 24TH!

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