Fellow Disney fans, I must apologize because I am overstepping my Beauty and the Beast review with this. It’s just that I was pleasantly surprised by this incarnation of the characters based on Toei’s Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger. Initially, I was really worried of what the finished product is going to be like. However, after seeing it in the cinema a couple of days ago, I am sold on the idea of a Power Rangers cinematic universe. Hey, with all the cinematic universes around, what is one more?
The cast definitely stood out and I recently discovered that they all didn’t get along at first. But just like their movie counterparts, they were able to work things out with each other. I must admit that I was not familiar with any of the five actors playing Jason (Dacre Montgomery), Zack (Ludi Lin), Billy (RJ Cyler), Trini (Becky G), and Kimberly (Naomi Scott). Yet, I left the movie theater loving them. When the original series aired in the 90’s, I was behind the Red Ranger all the way and Dacre really shined in the role especially during the times he needed to rally the team. Elizabeth Banks delivered a great performance as Rita Repulsa as well despite the limited screen time.
Regarding the story, I really like how they went back and revealed the relationship between Zordon (Bryan Cranston) and Rita. It also sets up the sequel which I imagine will include the storyline of the Green Ranger, Tommy Oliver, being her champion to battle the other rangers. Anyway, I will not get ahead of myself and speculate that much. In the film, Zordon and Rita were teammates. The latter hungered for more power though, turned on her former allies, and began to search for all the Zeo crystals, objects of immense power. She triumphed over Zordon’s team but Alpha 5 (Bill Hader), his robot assistant, was able to preserve his essence in their spaceship. This after he sacrificed his life to seal his team’s power coins in the earth.
Fast forward to the present time and we have five teenagers from different backgrounds coming across the power coins after Billy blasts the side of a gold mine with a homemade explosive. The next day, they find out that they have developed super strength so they come back to the blast site to uncover the truth behind their transformation. Eventually, they stumble upon Zordon’s ship, hear the story of his and his team’s fall in the hands of Rita Repulsa, and learn that they now have the responsibility of protecting Earth against the same enemy. While they grapple with these revelations, Rita’s body is recovered by a fishing boat and she begins her quest to restore her powers and unleash Goldar to unearth the Zeo crystal.
I can’t name just one scene as my favorite so I’m going to highlight my top 5 favorite scenes:
1.) Trini vs. Kimberly
What would be more amazing than having two female characters spar against each other? To have those female characters fight over the last piece of a Krispy Kreme donut. The short ‘fight’ choreography was so unexpected for me that I have to include it in this list. I wish it was longer but, understandably, there were other people in the store so they were restricted to their table. Still, a great scene to showcase the effects of their training.
2.) Go Go Power Rangers!
Anyone who has seen the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers should remember the iconic theme song that opened each episode. That is why I cheered loudly when the Zords were charging through the battlefield to a remixed version of the original tune. There is probably no better way to hype a Power Rangers fight sequence than to use that LSS-inducing music.
Channeling The Breakfast Club, the opening act introduces us to lead characters getting some ‘jail’ time. Within the four walls of the detention room, we first get to see the interactions between Jason, Billy, and Kimberly. Later on, they pass notes like, ‘We should start a band’, around and they don’t get caught because of their inherent strength. We just don’t know how they managed to control their powers when just a few days ago they were breaking bathroom sinks and cafeteria stalls. By the way, let us not forget the mid-credit scene featuring an absent Tommy Oliver who fans know is the future Green Ranger. They played it safe by not casting him as they were probably unsure of how audiences are going to react to the new Power Rangers.
4.) Billy Comes Back
Another unexpected turn of events in the movie is Billy Cranston’s death at the hands of their nemesis. Rita attacks Trini in their home which causes the rangers to try to stop her despite not having morphed yet. What ensues is a lopsided battle which results to the smartest guy in the group to get killed. The incident triggers the rangers’ team spirit and the morphing device gets activated. However, instead of coming back, Zordon chooses to revive Billy and leaves Jason in command of the others. I was teary-eyed for that sequence but my sadness gave way to excitement because…
5.) It’s Morphin’ Time
All those failed attempts at changing into armor-enhanced Power Rangers built up to this moment. Finally, when the five teenagers morphed into their ranger counterparts, I had goosebumps all over my body. It was not the cutscene-while-shouting-a-dinosaur’s-name I was accustomed to. But the journey those kids had to go through before they are ready to embrace their true potential was brutal. Their transformation was a product of blood, sweat, and tears, and you were surely rooting for them when it happened.
If all goes well, I hope we don’t wait a long time before we get a sequel. I’m sure this new Power Rangers team has already amassed a following among the kids of today. Besides, with all the trouble going on in the world, we need more superheroes. I give this film 3 out of 5 stars.