By: Nick Ferwerda
How do you take one of the cheesiest television shows of all time and turn it into a solid standalone movie? Believe it or not, but Power Rangers does a commendable job at doing so.
During prehistoric times, a war takes place between the original – now defeated – Power Rangers and the evil Rita Repulsa (Elizabeth Banks). During her destruction, an alien named Zordon (Bryan Cranston) has taken critical blows, yet he’s still able to put a stop her chaos and bury five coins that hold the power of the fallen Rangers; hoping that a new team will someday protect the world.
Skipping ahead to present day, the audience meets five adolescent students of Angel Grove’s high school. The outcasts include class-skipper Zack (Ludi Lin), troubled cheerleader Kimberly (Naomi Scott), Jason (Dacre Montgomery) who is under house arrest for a petty crime and attending detention on weekends, bullied intellect Billy (RJ Cyler of Me and Earl and the Dying Girl), and Trini (pop star Becky G) who struggles with her home life and her own sexuality. As the teens meet each other, discover the coins and their new roles, and unite as a loyal team to collect armour and learn how to “morph”, Rita resurfaces to find the all-powerful Zeo Crystal. The crystal gives the planet life, and Rita has plans for it.
Power Rangers lives up to the action-packed original series and exceeds expectations. The actors portraying a new class of heroes are all great at paying homage while also finding individual ways to stand out. Unfortunately, the new film skimps out on heavy martial arts framework – a key component to what made the original fights work – and the script (written by Real Steel’s John Gatins) occasionally lacks authenticity. Luckily, Gatins compensates with witty comedy and a few truly heart-wrenching moments.
Power Rangers may have had big shoes to fill, but the film delivers. It pleases the franchise’s fanbase along with other movie goers who just want to see giant robot dinosaurs fight a monster made out of pure gold.
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Nick Ferwerda: @NickFerwerda