Movie Review: Saban's Power Rangers
By Danny Pellegrino
March 28, 2017
Reboots, remakes, sequels and movies based on existing TV shows are inevitable. While recent years have made it seem like nothing is original, this has been happening for a while. Back in 1993 when the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers TV show was premiering in the U.S., Addams Family Values, the SECOND film based on the Addams Family TV show was being released. In 1995 when the original Power Rangers movie was opening in wide release, so was The Brady Bunch Movie with a cheeky take on the TV series. Side note: The Brady Bunch movies are hilarious gems and the world needs a Brady Brides movie starring Jennifer Elise Cox as Jan and Christine Taylor as Marcia. I digress. Instead of fighting these movies altogether, we should simply demand more from them. That doesn’t mean I want to see original movies vanish from our multiplexes. I don’t. But we are going to get movies based on existing properties regardless, so we might as well make good ones.
All that is to say I think Saban’s Power Rangers succeeds in spades. It delivers a fantastic movie in spite of the source material. I was a HUGE fan of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers as a kid. I was eight-years-old watching teenagers save the world from evil monsters every day after school. Looking back on the series, it wasn’t exactly high art or great dialogue. What it did offer was a diverse team of superheroes, colorful costumes and some memorable villains. In my opinion, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers has a stronger rogue gallery than Marvel. Don’t @ me. There are so many great ideas in the show, but it’s executed with a tiny budget and lots of camp. With its cheesy tone geared-toward-children sensibilities, making a four-quadrant movie from this source material was surely a tough thing to do. Fortunately, the movie took the things that are great about the show and found a skilled writer, director, actors and producers to bring it to life while maintaining just enough camp to satisfy fans that want a faithful adaptation.
At its core, Saban’s Power Rangers is a superhero team origin story. Five teenagers must come together to save the world from evil. The most recent team-up movie that comes to mind is Suicide Squad. Both movies are about a group of people coming together for a common goal. Where Suicide Squad failed, Saban’s Power Rangers succeeds. The five teenagers that are destined to come together don’t do so in Power Rangers with little or no explanation. They muddle through the process of becoming a team and the movie is better for it. We don’t just have the group gathering together with a quick line of dialogue setting up their companionship. In Power Rangers, the group figures out how to work together and they take the time to learn about each other, knowing that they need to put in work to fulfill the destiny that is laid out in front of them.
Saban’s Power Rangers isn’t afraid to get deep. There’s a scene mid-movie set to a cover of “Stand By Me” that left many people in theater in tears. It’s a powerful moment you wouldn’t expect in a superhero movie, let alone one based on this property. For me, that was the second time I cried.