(Go Go) Power Rangers!
Walking in to the theatre I was filled with both excitement an apprehension. As a child of the (American) Power Rangers revolution I was unsure what they could have done to update this cheesy mixture of spandex-laden teenagers doing an unnecessary quantity of backflips. Turns out they can remove both the spandex as well as the backflips in place of awesome space suits and actual fighting. I was pleasantly surprised by what turned out to be a genuinely good film with some great updates to bring it in line with modern superheroes (the trailer, let’s be honest, is a better Fantastic Four film than any of the “Fantastic” 3 which have happened). It also provided more substance than the original by creating backstory amongst not only the characters but also in relation to true events on earth. Overall, a lot of fun, a refreshingly enjoyable film (even in absence of prior knowledge of the Power Rangers), and a fair few face-palm-worthy moments of blatant reference to the original TV series.
We find ourselves on earth following a trio of high school kids who wound up in detention together. One thing leads to another and the trio end up at the town mine where they meet our 2 remaining protagonists. They then unearth coloured trinkets and find themselves awoke in bed with no memory of how they got there but with alarming new strength and reflexes. They return to the site where they learn of the Power Rangers and their enemy Rita, go on an epic few training sessions, and eventually lead to them unifying in strength and battling the antagonist. They added some excellent backstory to explain who the Power Rangers were and how their new mentor, Zordon, became the way he is, as well as how the villain ties in to their story. They managed to flesh out what used to be nothing but a villain of the week style cheese fest into a well thought out and simple story about saving the earth.
One of the best aspects of this film was its characters. The five principle characters are diverse and interesting from the honourable leader, through the quirky outcast, to the socially troubled tech kid. Each brings a strength and dimension to the team which it would be lacking without. Our mentor, Zordon, is equally as fallible as he is commanding and the backstory plays into this well. He has a temper and is largely stubborn but can be reasoned with and is thus more than the big face in the tube who gave orders in the original show. His assistant, Alpha-5, is as sassy and enjoyable as he ever was and has been given a CGI, almost Star Wars-like, upgrade. And finally, our villain, Rita Repulsa whilst not the most complicated of antagonists is enjoyable and compelling and Elizabeth Banks’ performance is probably the second best in the film.
Overall, a wonderful surprise to see a childhood favourite updated so well and I would happily see the (inevitable) sequel they have set up #spoilers