Thursday, March 23, 2017

MIGHTY MORPHIN POWER RANGERS (1995)





I was snarky teenager when the Power Rangers first came out, so their appeal was lost on me and therefore never bothered to learn more. However, they've been rebooted and there's a new movie coming out this weekend, so I thought I would try to be open minded and figure out what the kids were so keen on.

First of all, I understand that the show and subsequently, this movie were not made with the word "quality" on people's minds. I work for a major studio and I know the meaning of the word "cash grab" when I see it. I understand that there were budget constraints and that kids can have terrible taste in things, so concepts like "special effects" and "acting" and "plot" tend to not be priorities in a project like this.

It should also be pointed out that this movie was released in July of 1995, being the cornerstone tentpole for 20th Century Fox. Seems they could have released the purse strings a little more, but whats done is done.

So right away, this movie opens with a Star Wars-esque crawl to clear up any confusion that someone like myself might have about the Power Rangers and how this whole story universe works.


I read this thing about three times and I still have no idea what its talking about. Also, why is Alpha 5 seeking out teenagers? Technically, you hit the peak of your health and strength when you're in your twenties or thirties. Are they teenagers in the legal sense where they've finished their high school requirement and are able to emancipate themselves from parental guardianship? Because none of these things were answered and I'm going to have issues with a bunch of teens who are forced into fighting life threatening wars and still aren't able to vote in their own planet.




And here's how we meet the Power Rangers. They're skydiving doing the first of many extreme sports that has absolutely nothing to do with the story. Its not really even character development either. I guess its just to rub it in my face that they're teenagers and have the ability to be out past ten p.m.


So the movie introduced us to this story line of a father and his son who's super ashamed of him because he can't do extreme sports. I was expecting Dad to redeem himself at some point. I should have been prepared for disappointment.


Another issue this movie has is everyone is told to be the comic relief in this film. If it was a intentional comedy then okay - everyone brings their own special gifts to the table. But its all the same sarcasm, and everyone's trying to be louder than the other.


Again, I realize there's fault in searching for logic in a Power Rangers story, but these construction workers found a giant purple egg hidden mere feet under the ground they just demolished. I can't ignore this. I just can't.

Okay, so they've been hired by a weird Wizard of Oz type mentor who's only other employee is this robotic Black Manta who's clearly about to snap at any minute, given that they (I have no idea if its a he or she) have no control over their motor skills.

This is actually the only character in this movie that did not feel the need to crack jokes. And there was sadly not enough of him.

This purple thing came out of the egg and made a lot of jokes usually at the expense of others and had an upsettingly obscene beard. He has a plan - and it involves something with ooze and creating weird monkey and crow soldiers to harass the Power Rangers. He was also very clear on first he controls Angel City and then the world, which also seemed short sighted. Its not a well explained plan which makes me think he didn't really work out all the details. He was suspended for 6000 years. There was no excuse for that kind of sloppiness.

There's a fight scene with said crow army and I have a serious complaint against the Power Rangers.

They spend so much strength and time gearing up for combat by doing back flips, spinning around and random dance moves. Had they ever read The Art of War, they would know the key to defeating your enemy is to wear them out before you.


Watching these obvious actors in crow suits made me wonder exactly how many of them have been classically trained on stage.


Here's something else I noticed about the production value of a Power Rangers movie. You can film it anywhere. An abandoned construction site, a parking garage or an old cheese factory - its up to you.

The Ooze master steals their powers somehow ( it involved ooze) and they decide to leave Earth and look for them back. They were doing what they were told, no questions asked, which made me wonder if they were actually teenagers after all.

They actually had to walk. No extreme sports in getting from point A to point B.

And now something for the adults...

I really couldn't tell you what this woman's purpose was. She fought the alien crows but spinning sticks around and gave them directions.


They fought a skeleton Triceratops, which seemed kind of pointless. If he eats you, you just slide out and try again.

And because they so dutifully obeyed instructions, took apart a skeleton, they got to stand around a fire, and get new ninja outfits as well as a second set of spirit animals (why do they get more than one? )


Hey, remember that father who will never earn the respect of his son?  Well, he touched some free ooze and became brainwashed.


So while the Rangers are gone, the Ooze Master is now a foreman who enjoys sitting in the sun and barking at his employees, which are just hypnotized parents who also stuck their hands in something that they didn't know. It doesn't seem like the best use of his time and says that maybe this guy has an issue delegating to a series of managers.

I will say this though - in the short amount of time this guy has been on  Earth, he's managed to set up a business, build up buzz and capital, and a big enough factory, not to mention branding. Clearly someone spent the last six months watching nothing but episodes of Shark Tank.


So the Power Rangers throw away those nifty ninja suits, which clearly served no purpose at all, got back their powers and came back to Earth where there's ooze and weird mechanical insects that aren't doing anything but walking around and bumping into things.


Again, I may be confused on how the Power Rangers work and the boundaries of their powers but they power animal shaped ships. I feel like I should have known this in the first few minutes going in.


Why do the Rangers need to communicate with such strong arm movements? I tried doing it in my own day to day life and people assumed I was too aggressive and about to mug them.


It should be noted that the Ooze Master (was his name Ivan? I don't know) decides to skip the middle man and put himself in one of his metal bugs to fight the Power Rangers. Question: is he aware of his massive time wasting?

Also, I don't want to accuse Disney and the Marvel Cinematic Universe of plagiarism, so I'll just leave this here:






 And back to this story line where this kid saves his dad from menial work and dad still has no way of redeeming himself at any point in this life or the next.

It seemed like a fairly easy victory for the Power Rangers. The entire battle led up to them collectively kicking the villain in the groin and doing it so hard he blasted off into space. No lessons were learned and the city was fine going back to normal and forgetting about the whole thing all together.

And that's what I missed out on.

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