By Shazwan Zulkiffli
The moment Saban released pictures of the Mighty Morphin reboot, I couldn’t help but to just cringe. From that point on, I knew deep in my gut that this movie would disappoint me and many other Power Rangers fans who grew up following those adventures in Angel Grove. However, much to my surprise, the movie did appeal to many neutral or new fans of the series as Saban brought a ‘supposedly fresh’ 21st century perspective to a campy 20th century franchise.
The new Power Rangers movie is an attempt to reboot another successful franchise and make it ‘millennial friendly’ – or in other words: the creator, Haim Saban just wants to milk the cash cow dry after heavily investing into the Hillary Clinton campaign (no kidding!) that failed. The reboot captures the story of Jason, Angel Grove’s golden boy who strangely threw his future away for a dumb cow prank (seriously guys, what was that about?), and follows him as he meets Billy, the token nerdy black dude who’s not into black culture, together with Kimberly, another American teen struggling with important first world problems like her dilemma on boys. Somehow along the story, they meet Trini and Zack, who strangely don’t have last names – because they just don’t matter as much.
Other than the typical outcast-getting-together theme, the way Lionsgate builds the characters is frankly interesting. In the era of political correctness gone astray, Lionsgate won the hearts of modern liberals and woke kids by introducing a genuinely diverse cast without telegraphing any weird intentions. I mean, we’re talking about the franchise who made a black guy the black ranger and the Asian woman a yellow ranger – and everyone turned a blind eye until today. So, it’s refreshing to see Saban actually introduce a cast suitable for this era.
The acting wasn’t half bad either, especially RJ Cyler’s interpretation of Billy, the Blue Ranger. You can’t expect the Red Ranger, Dacre Montgomery, to be more than the dull but handsome-looking jock with shitty leadership skills, but at least he got the job done. The other three rangers were average, but to be honest, Bryan Cranston’s Zordon stole the show. Lionsgate made Zordon much more human than he was in the series, and Zordon’s eagerness to fulfill the prophecy is something to admire and you have to admit that you were waiting for Zordon to say a few famous lines from Breaking Bad.
Moving on to the costumes – it’s hideous. I know that the Rangers use alien technology to morph and fight, but can’t it at least look decent, or iconic for that matter? The costumes remind me of G.I Joe’s Duke’s robot armor with a cheap paint job from a workshop in Skudai. It feels like they forgot to refine the designs from phase 1, and that’s never an impression you want to leave when rebooting a big name franchise like the Power Rangers. The screentime of the rangers in their suits is not just sad, it feels like we’ve been robbed. At least go with the full-on acrobatics in the damn suits longer!
I remember clearly that despite the Rangers looking similar to each other, there were distinctive features that made each Ranger special. Each of them had helmets specially designed for them according the theme of their Zords. Now, they didn’t even empathize on each Ranger’s spirit animal Zord. The iconic Mighty Morphin transformation sequence where the Rangers shout their spirit animal Zords was replaced with a corny unmemorable segment where they ‘earned’ their suits. It’s no longer Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, but just five angsty teens with colored alien armor.
The individual Zords are okay looking, but the Megazord is just downright ugly. The Megazord looks like a faceless ripoff of Optimus Prime with added colors and batteries sold separately. The fact that you can forget what the Megazord looks like when you get home shows how terrible it is. Gone are days of the legendary Megazord transformation, the badass sword, and the memorable design. After the announcement of the new 6 movie story arc, it looks like this new change is likely to stay.
Israelite threw all the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers essence out of the window for a new and improved money-making scheme that might not even pass as decent action figures. The director gave no f*cks about the true Power Rangers fans and just wanted to sell a mediocre product to a crowd that’s used to everything average. 90s fans can now forget about their beloved franchise, and accept the fact that this wasn’t made for you – because it will still rake millions in the future and no one can stop it. I can only give it a 3.5 because others would enjoy it but if it wasn’t for others, I would have left the cinema halfway towards the movie.