Monday, May 8, 2017

Looking At Movies - Power Rangers (2017)

I know I am a little tardy to the party on this one, but this was a movie I wanted to see and review, for reasons I cannot explain. I hate reviewing movies when I already know how they did at the box office only because if I like a movie that bombed, then I lose a little more faith in people. So far, Power Rangers has bombed at the box office and I am not sure why. It could be because this movie is not what its target audience remembers as kids. My son used to watch the Power Rangers television show all of the time and even he said that the movie is almost nothing like the show. But in my mind, that should have been a good thing.

Power Rangers achieved a level of cheesiness it had to have because of when the story was created, but it balanced the cheese with some decent story lines and even good acting. The only actor you have ever heard of in this movie was Bryan Cranston and, as usual, he did an amazing job as Zordon. If you are over the age of 25, then you have probably never heard of any of the other actors. But as a troupe, these kids did a damn good job.

Another reason I hate reviewing movies after they have bombed is because I rack my brain trying to figure out why they bombed. I don't think movie studios ever take into account how important word-of-mouth advertising is to the success of a movie, and I think it was the first wave of people who saw the movie that ruined it for everyone else.

This is a dark movie that leaves out a lot of the silly little trinkets we remember from our youth. The colored crystals are still there (my son even recognized a cameo by the actors who originally play the green and white rangers) and so is Zordon's big face. The rangers still hook up into a big robot, and the villain is one that the fans of the television show will recognize. But it doesn't seem to fall together for its audience, and the movie has a hard time bringing in new fans.

When a studio remakes something from the 80s and early 90s, the target audience is always the original group that watched the first show. When you take that original concept and try to darken it up to fit into a wider audience, the entire idea loses something special. In an era where super hero movies are king, Power Rangers seems to be headed the way of the Fantastic Four. They are both headed into that pit where movies go when either studios screw up the adaptation, or fans just cannot handle changes made to the story.

The movie rushes a lifelong bond between five people to the point where it is kind of hard to believe that they become that tight, that quickly. There doesn't seem to be any plan in place for creating a long-lasting Zordon character. One minute, Zordon is a greedy all-knowing ranger who only wants to get the new rangers going so he can come back to life, and the next minute he is saving the life of a ranger at the expense of himself being able to escape purgatory. There is no transition in between those two events to help us feel like it makes sense, and that transition is key to the story.

Power Rangers is fun, but it feels incomplete. It is nearly two hours long and the rangers don't get their famous armor until there is about 25 minutes left in the movie. There is no moment when the five of them manage to come together in a daylight pose so you can see that iconic image, and their time as rangers is extremely short. I am not sure why movie studios feel it is necessary to not deliver on showing what people paid for, but it is an epidemic that is ruing otherwise good movies.

Unfortunately, this movie is not playing in theaters anymore. However, the studio might bring it back later in the summer as a second feature. If you get a chance to see this movie on the big screen, then take it. Otherwise, you can wait for cable to check out the action.

Rating: 1 1/2 out of 5

George N Root III is a movie fanatic who realizes that Disney had a small hand in distributing this film. Disney is to movies what sodium is to food, it is everywhere and almost impossible to get away from. In this case, Disney has only a small interest in this film. So there. Follow him on Twitter @georgenroot3, or send him a message at georgenroot3@gmail.com

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