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MOVIE REVIEW: FTN Reviews Power Rangers

March 25th, 2017 by Andrew Comments

Power Rangers (12A)
Director: Dean Israelite
Stars: Dacre Montgomery, Naomi Scott, RJ Cyler, Ludi Lin, Becky G, Elizabeth Banks, Bryan Cranston, Bill Hader.
Running Time: 2hrs 4mins.

Based on the television series of the same name (it drops the ‘Mighty Morphing’ part of the title), the movie follows the five high school teenagers Jason, Kimberly, Billy, Trini and Zack, who discover coins that allow them to become the Power Rangers under the guise of Zordon, an alien intelligence and his android Alpha. They must come together as a team to defeat the evil plans of another alien – Rita Repulsor, who wants to steal the Zeo crystal, a power source hidden on the Earth without which all life on the planet would perish.

The new version of the story does its best to both be faithful to the original source material, and yet add new elements to try and bring it up to date. When we meet them they are not friends and some only know each other in passing, if at all. Others are in detention together for various mis-haps – the opening shows a prank of Jason’s that does not go well and ends in a police car chase, Kimberly has been involved in some way in a form of cyber bullying that may or may not have been her fault, Billy now has a form of autism similar to Aspergers meaning that he has no problems with technology but struggles with people and making friends, it is alluded to that Trini has issues with her family because of her sexual orientation, and Zack spends his time at home taking care of his terminally ill mother.

These elements actually make the movie more interesting than expected, instead of boring characters this adds a level of complexity to them – when they are training and attempting to ‘morph’ into their armour they find that they are unable to because if these complexities, that they are holding them back and this was a step in the right direction as sadly, once they do morph towards the end if the movie, that is when the tone of the movie changes… and for lack of a more simpler term to describe it, the movie turns into a wannabe Transformers-type action movie, unintended laughter and all.

It’s a shame because the cast for the most part, especially considering they are relatively little known actors, bring a solid a game, the movies direction actually has some nicely filmed cinematography and is edited well enough that it is visually entertaining. A selection of clever dutch angles, aerial view photography and clever one-shot sequences (the opening car chase reminds of a particular scene from Alfonso Curon’s Children Of Men in its complexity), and even though Bryan Cranston (with the exception of a sort of cameo during the opening) appears in CGI form and is gladly collecting the cheque, he brings no less of his a-game presence to the screen.

And then there’s Elizabeth Banks as Rita Repulsor.

I’ve never been a huge fan of hers from any of her performances, though she has shown that she can act and do a pretty damned good job in movies like the Hunger Games movies. But whatever the hell she is doing here, she is not doing that. This is without a doubt the worst performance she has ever done. It’s like she’s channeling a cross between Jack Nicholson doing Batman whilst also channeling Sylvester Stallone doing Judge Dredd. It’s so hammy and over the top – which I know is how they did the original Rita Repulsor from the series – but it just doesn’t work for the tone that has been decided for the rest of the movie. She’s gonna need a healthy dose of fibre to help get that much chewed scenery out. I have no doubt that she will be up for the award at next year’s Razzies, she is just awful.

Power Rangers is not a terrible movie, but it is terribly uneven, despite a solid first two-thirds which are gritty, nicely directed with a flair for visual acuity, and well written (if a little slow paced), it squelches on the promise of that first part with a disappointingly cheesy and unintentionally funny re-tread of some of the worst parts of the Transformers movies. Oh, and Rita.

By the end of the movie, if anyone is hopeful for a sequel then stay around for a mid-credits sequence that hints at one character that will be added if a sequel gets the go ahead.

Parental Advisory: The movie is rated 12A for the level of violence in the fight scenes, which is not all that uncommon nowadays, but parents of younger children should be aware that there are a few scenes of visual horror (for example a – nicely executed – vision sequence that shows a brief nuclear holocaust-like moment) that may scare younger viewers.

2 out 5 Nerds

Co-host of the Monday Movie Show, Andrew is a huge movie fan who is into all sorts of things movie related, as well as a fan of all things nerd. In his spare time he likes to work at script writing, that is when he's not spending it on something movie or nerd related!