Review: Power Rangers
Nostalgia can be a powerful thing. It can be great, clinging to something you love and giving you something positive when you are having a crap day. But sometimes it can be damaging and you can kid yourself that something is better when it’s not.
I did watch the original Power Rangers and I enjoyed it. Sure it is very cheesy but a lot of great things are. Love Actually, Friends, Mamma Mia, Con Air, Face/Off and a million and one other things are cheesy but that doesn’t make them bad.
That being said this reboot delivers exactly on what you want it to do. It’s a reboot of Power Rangers. What may surprise you about what has been dubbed “Breakfast Club with superpowers” is that there is a bit more depth to it and that the kids feel more like fully rounded characters. Billy is an autistic teenager who struggles to communicate, Kimberly struggles with guilt and is trying to reform herself, Trini is a quirky girl who struggles with her identity and Zak is alienated and hangs out at a junkyard.
What this means is we get a great setup. The characters feel real and the process of them becoming heroes works well. Bryan Cranston’s Zordon also works well; he is not a perfect mentor and the way he relates to the Rangers is effective, while Bill Hader voices Alpha 5 with his drier humour is a bit more toned down than the zany original but still great comic relief.
If this all sounds a bit dour and “gritty” don’t worry. Elizabeth Banks as Rita Repulsa delivers a curious evil performance, her accent and demeanour coming off as a bizarre evil Bjork (not a bad thing). While the action may come late when it comes you get everything you want with a few in-jokes tossed in.
For me the only real complaint I could have (the occasional awkward tonal shift aside) is a very blatant product placement, possibly the worst since Cast Away. Even then they still get a couple of good gags from it.
In short this film for me is a reboot done right. Building on the original, delivering what the fans wanted but also providing a surprising amount of emotion and character that I wasn’t expecting.