Few things evoke a 90s kid’ sense of nostalgia more than Power Rangers.
I can’t be the only one who sat religiously in front of the TV on Saturday mornings, waiting for the iconic theme song to come on. My favourite scene always involved the Zords combining into Megazord and bashing up bad guys. At grade school, being a fan of Power Rangers (along with such series as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Dragonball and Sailormoon) was the height of cool, and we constantly snuck in stickers, cards and collectibles into our bags, to be swapped during recess. When my dad got a console, we got The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie game, which I’d play for hours on end (always picking Aisha, the yellow ranger, or Kimberley, the pink ranger – coz girl power, right?).
When tweenhood came and I started fan-girling about other stuff, I stopped watching the series. Over the years, I’ve not had much chance to think about the show and the joy it used to bring my brother and I as children. Until I saw the 2017 trailer at the theatre a couple of months back. It looked completely different from the shows I used to know – darker, cooler, more in tune with a modern generation – a far cry from my memory of silly, over-the-top villains and spandex costumes. When it starting showing at theatres, I went with S to watch it. Going in with zero expectations (we all know how reboots can be these days), I was pleasantly surprised by the movie’s plot, quality and character development.
The film opens with the Power Rangers, a group of alien warriors, on Prehistoric Earth. Betrayed and defeated by their ex-team mate the Green Ranger (aka Rita Repulsa), the Red Ranger Zordon, takes all of the Rangers’ power source – the Power Coins – and hides them before ordering his robot assistant Alpha 5 to send a meteor onto Earth: killing him and sending Rita to the bottom of the sea.
Fast forward to modern day Angel Grove, football star Jason is thrown off the team and placed under house arrest after a failed prank. He is sent to detention, where he meets ‘misfits’ – the autistic Billy and the cheerleader Kimberley. Jason and Billy explore an abandoned gold mine, where the latter detonates explosives to destroy some rock, attracting the attention of Kimberley (who was diving nearby) and fellow students Trini and Zack.
They find the Power Coins, but the blast has also attracted the local police, so they make their getaway – speeding towards a train track where their vehicle is totaled by a train. Despite the accident, all five wake up in their homes the next day with no memory of what transpired after, and with strange powers. Seeking answers, they return to the mine where they find an ancient spaceship and meet Alpha 5 and Zordon’s consciousness. Zordon tells them about the original Rangers, and how Rita has been awaken after being fished out from sea by a trawler. He warns that she will recreate her monster, Goldar and seek the Earth’s Zeo crystal, which she can use to control planets. If she succeeds, all life on earth would die.
The teens train but are unable to morph. Frustrated, they fight against each other, and the group seems to be in disarray. With time running short, will they be able to defeat Rita Repulsa and save the world?
The movie seriously surprised me. While the plot was rather cliche (misfits find newfound powers, train, bond with each other, get over their weaknesses and become superheroes), the new ‘modern’ take on a well-loved franchise brought with it a breath of fresh air – prepping it for a new generation whilst still satisfying the older one’s sense of childhood nostalgia. The movie dedicated a big chunk to developing the characters, whom are not only racially diverse but also culturally inclusive, and they pulled off the messages without being condescending. For those looking for OTT action scenes, you won’t find them much in this film – except the ‘climax’ where our heroes battle it out with the baddie. All in all, I’d rate it a respectable 7.5/`10.
Now excuse me, I’m going to go listen to the theme song.
Go, Go Power Rangers!