Sunday, 26 March 2017

Review: Power Rangers

Power Rangers
Cert: 12A / 124 mins / Dir. Dean Israelite / Trailer

Full disclosure, this film wasn't really made for me and I'm absolutely fine with that. By the time Power Rangers started airing on UK television in the mid-90s, I was already going to work down the pit for sixteen hours a day (and more importantly, getting back into obsessing over Star Wars), so other than a bare-bones knowledge of its existence, I was bringing little in the way of baggage to this particular gathering. However, I like to think I know enough about movies to spot the difference between world-building and box-ticking. Most cinematic reboots don't become really heavy-handed fan service until their second or third instalments. Power Rangers waits around forty-five minutes. More amazingly though, it sort of works.

So. Something-something group of disparate teenagers; Something-something asteroid crash site; Something-something evil forces awakening; Something-something super-powers awarded to worthy heroes. Think the Sword in the Stone meets Guardians of the Galaxy. Classic hero's journey stuff, no problem there. A gently-paced opening act introduces the five teenagers who will go on to be trusted with tools of unbelievable destruction, before its successor arrives bearing over-generous amounts of exposition and training montages. The by-the-book origins story is solid enough, the super-powered Breakfast Club bonding feels more laboured. The young central cast themselves are good form, but any performer older than twenty or so comes off as patronising at best. Scoring the most highly in that round are Mr Bryan Cranston and Ms Elizabeth Banks*1, both of whom blithely continue to devalue their own showreels.

As well as satisfying all the checklist items required of a throwback movie, the thematic nostalgia is furthered by referencing visual beats from The Lost Boys, Ghostbusters and perhaps more notably, the first Avengers flick. But as the film goes on, it shifts in tone from moody-teen pouting to the brightly coloured, super-camp finale which is at least fitting for its televisual roots.

As hero origin-stories go, Power Rangers is surprisingly reasonable, if somewhat unremarkable (considering it's a shameless series-opener and two hour action-figure advert). And as much as it pains me to admit it, the film has more focus and unabashed self-awareness than DC seem to have managed recently. Still, we live in hope. Obviously, this film will be sequelled to death, inevitably diluting the fun and feasibility with each new entry (for those interested, there's a mid-credits teaser scene, but nothing at the end).

But fair play to Lionsgate for putting out a 12A certificate film when the core target demographic is aged around 7. And Power Rangers is definitely at the lighter-end of 12A, but the rating still stands. Approach with caution.

And this is a thing as well, mind…

Rita Repulsa: Poundland Sexy-Loki!

…I mean that's got to be deliberate, right?

So, watch this if you enjoyed?
File alongside TMNT, even though this is a head-on collision between Chronicle and Monster Trucks.

Should you watch this in a cinema, though?
Not necessarily, unless you want the multi-coloured carnage to be bigger.

Does the film achieve what it sets out to do?
Y'know what?
It does

Is this the best work of the cast or director?
With the best will in the world, I should hope not.

Will I think less of you if we disagree about how good/bad this film is?

Yes, but is there a Wilhelm Scream in it?
There is.

Yes, but what's the Star Wars connection?
Level 1: The voice of Alpha 5 is performed by the voice of BB-8, Bill Hader.

And if I HAD to put a number on it…
^^ And a 4 seems harsher than it's intended to be, it's just not strong to be a 5 round these parts. The film was relatively enjoyable for its duration, but by this time tomorrow I'll be struggling to remember most of what happened in it, apart from admirable work with the Blue and the Yellow Rangers, and Elizabeth Banks letting herself down again. I'm not the target audience, and it had pretty much no impact on me either way.

*1 I know that the Power Rangers' nemesis hasn't been newly named for this movie, but an antagonist named Rita further strengthens my theory (following on from last week's Elaine and Maureen) that prominent female roles in 2017's movies are being screen-written by my Grandma's friends. [ BACK ]

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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