Of all the films that have come out in 2017 that are, at least in some regards, founded in nostalgia, Power Rangers was high up there. At the same time, it was left in a highly unknown territory. It could be great, it could be terrible, it could be anything. I went out on a limb, though. I grew up with Power Rangers from at least the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers to Power Rangers in Space era – so I knew all of the shout outs in this film, which does help, but isn’t necessary to know.
Power Rangers takes a more modern approach to the concept of the Power Rangers, obviously beginning with the fan favorite of series, Mighty Morphin’. Five teenagers discover colorful coins that ultimately define their fate as Power Rangers, the protectors of all life on Earth. When the evil Rita Repulsa is freed from her prison after 65 million years, she plans to finish what she started and find the Zeo Crystal to destroy and ultimately rule the world, and the Power Rangers need to learn to work together to defeat her.
I will state the most obvious thing about Power Rangers that sticks out like a sore thumb – they don’t morph…for a while, so don’t expect it right out of the gate. In fact, it turns out finding out how to do just that is one of the primary goals in the film, which wasn’t the smartest idea. You know from the get-go that they need to stop Rita, but they first need to learn how to morph. Now, this reminds me of sports films where teams are trying to make it to the top to win that championship, so they have to train throughout the film. At the same time, they play other games while training, too. This is Power Rangers, they know what people are expecting, and they hold off until the last possible moment, which in some very understandable ways, is severely disappointing.
Let me explain, the pace itself was disappointing, but the rest really isn’t. The pace is only disappointing based off of your assumption on how it’d actually be. It’s not a bad movie, it just takes a different approach than what fans wanted. Strictly, from a film standpoint, the decision not to morph for awhile was only a slightly poor choice, given how it messes up how balanced the pacing of the film is. It’s hard to explain, but I’ll try. Let’s break it down!
PEOPLE SCORE – 7/10
Acting – 1|Characters – 2|Casting – 1|Importance – 2|Chemistry – 1
We all know the people score is very important for any film, but it’s probably more important than you think for Power Rangers. Everyone in the film basically holds a double life, so to keep up with that, they needed to pay extra attention to the details in this category, but for the most part, they just do okay here. The acting is sub-par. Could it have been better? Easily, based off of how it was written, but it just never reaches “that point”. As far as I could tell, all of the characters were both memorable in their own regards and played their own part in furthering the plot of the film. That being said, I’m pretty sure every actor was replaceable. I don’t think any of them really fit into their role in a way that screamed they were the only one that could. Also, no one really had amazing chemistry, it was mostly just…fine…which actually isn’t very good at all for the Power Rangers. The entire concept revolves around teamwork and working together.
WRITING SCORE – 9/10
Dialogue – 2|Balanced – 1|Story – 2|Originality – 2|Interesting – 2
Next up, we have the writing score, which actually didn’t really suffer much damage at all. The main problem it had was in how balanced it was, and that’s just because the entire decision to draw out the exact moment when the teens would morph shouldn’t have been part of the plot. Everything else was mostly fine. I liked the dialogue, I think the story was deeply important for kids of today. Even though it’s based off an old TV show, the way in which they did it was unique and original, and it definitely was interesting from beginning to end, but maybe that’s because I’m a Ranger nerd.
BTS SCORE – 7/10
Visuals – 2|Directing – 1|Editing – 2|Advertisement – 1|Music – 1
Behind-the-scenes was also pretty decent here. Other than the classic Power Rangers jingle showing up at one point, the music wasn’t all that memorable, nor do I care to listen to the soundtrack. I also believe the directing was a little poor given how the storytelling should have gone a bit quicker. Keep the character development, but also get them into their suits quicker, which brings me to the advertisement. This was slightly false advertising. What do you see on every poster and trailer? The suits, and the suits are only really there for the climax of the film, so don’t get your hopes up. The visuals are good though, as is the editing.
NARRATIVE ARC SCORE – 8/10
Introduction – 2|Inciting Incident – 2|Obstacles – 2|Climax – 2|Falling Action – 0
So how was the narrative arc structure? Mostly solid, but there wasn’t really any falling action after the climax was done. The introduction is self-explanatory. You meet the five heroes and what they’re all about. The inciting incident is when they find the coins and ultimately unleash Rita. The obstacles comes down to them trying to morph and training against holograms, and the climax is morphin’ time, basically. Personally, the biggest change I’d make here is switching around the obstacles to actual fight sequences. I watched Power Rangers for the heroes fighting, not for the people trying to figure out how to morph…that’s not exciting.
ENTERTAINMENT SCORE – 7/10
Rewatchability – 2|Fun – 2|Impulse/Buy – 1|Impulse/Talk – 1|Sucks audience in – 1
Is it entertaining? Sure thing. I’d rewatch this film, I had fun watching it…probably out of nostalgia, I wouldn’t mind owning it…though I question if I’d buy it, and I actually wouldn’t mind discussing it with a fellow Power Rangers kid. Finally, it sucks the audience in at some points, but not the entire thing.
TOTAL SPECIAL – 40/50
Nostalgia – 10|Power Rangers – 5|Martial Arts – 5|Science Fiction – 10|Halfway Decent – 10
We are finally up to the specialty questions that I wrote before seeing the film. First of all, I expected some serious nostalgia, and no matter how they did it, it was cool. There was tons of shout-outs that every 90s Power Rangers kid will acknowledge and respect. However, how was this as a Power Rangers movie specifically? Could be better. It tried too hard to be dramatic, which resulted in some great character development, but lacked in feeling like a Power Rangers movie. How were the martial arts? They were okay, I guess, but I just watched a bunch of martial arts movies, so I wasn’t exactly impressed, lol. It would have been better if there was more. How is the film’s sci-fi angle? Pretty decent, I mean they definitely expressed the alien aspect of Zordon and everything, which is good. Finally, is it halfway decent? Yeah, I believe it turned out exactly as they wanted, so I’m giving them credit for that.