Just forget the words and sing along

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Fishing in the Discount Bin - Power Rangers

He we go again on Fishing in the Discount Bin, watching movies and blogging about them, because a friend once told me it would be a neat thing for me to do.  Good thing he never told me to go jump off a bridge.  Anyway, today, we touch upon the 2017 gritty reboot of Power Rangers.  This is in my notes at July 3, 2017.

Well, looks like 1980s nostalgia is starting to wind down, so that means it's time to ramp up 1990s nostalgia!  And it all starts with our grim and gritty reboot of Power Rangers.

My God, I found this movie to be such a nostalgia high.  I mean, there's one scene, where the Rangers are training to be Rangers.  Zack discovers the Zords, and takes his out for a test spin, almost blowing their secret identities and endangering the team.  Jason chastises him.  It almost comes to blows.  Billy breaks them up.

I watched that scene in the theatre and was like "Oh my God, that was in the fanfic I wrote in high school." 

I mean, it's not so much that this is a grim and gritty reboot of Power Rangers.  Instead, they dialed down the camp and took the material seriously.  And the end result is just another generic superhero film.  But nostalgia!

The one thing that they took seriously was that these recruits are "teenagers with attitude."  And such attitude!  What makes these particular teens so moody?

Jason, the Red Ranger - The source of his angst is what starts the film.  Starting quarterback for the high school football team.  But, a senior prank results in a massive car accident, leading to him blowing out his knee and being placed under house arrest.  He blows the season for his high school team, making him a social pariah, and blows his chances at a college scholarship, putting him on the outs with his dad.

Kimberly, the Pink Ranger - We're originally told that she punched her boyfriend in the face and knocked a tooth out, but later in the film, we find out why.  One of her friends, goofing around one night, texted her a nude photo.  Kimberly forwarded it to her clique, along with some body-shaming comments.  Her boyfriend called her "the meanest woman alive" for doing that, and she retaliated with the punch.  Oh, and she got thrown out of her clique.

Billy, the Blue Ranger - Our first autistic superhero in our spate of superhero films.  Billy is a savant when it comes to science, and one time, he accidentally built a bomb and blew up his locker.

Zack, the Black Ranger - He's caring for his ailing mother, meaning he skips school a lot, and the extreme stunts he pulls are his way of coping.

Trini, the Yellow Ranger - And here's the one that made headlines when the film came out.  Trini is a lesbian.  She's still coming to terms with her sexual identity, and her family is being less than supportive, leading to a lot of turmoil at home.  In our spate of superhero films, Trini is the first openly gay superhero.   

And this winds up being the core crux of the film.  They can't morph and become Power Rangers until they trust each other and think only of each other, and despite all the awesome martial arts training, they don't really start doing that until they let their guard down and start telling each other about their issues. 

So, Power Rangers makes for a pretty good teen melodrama.  Then they remember it's a Power Rangers movie, and tack on a typical episode for act 3.

Seriously, what was the typical formula for an episode?  The fight the Putties, they fight the monster, Rita makes her monster grow, the call on the Zords to fight the giant monster.  Evil is defeated.  And, because all of these superhero films have an extended action sequence for their third act, what happens in the third act?  They fight the Putties, they fight the monster, Rita makes her monster grow, they call the Zords to fight the giant monster.  SPOILER WARNING.  Evil is defeated. 

Yeah, my biggest complaint is it takes them far too long to morph and for this to become a Power Rangers movie.  That being said, it's nice to see the origin story told in such a decompressed manner. 

There is a lot of good, like how they explore the Power Rangers mythology.  I like that they made Zordon the original Red Ranger.  I like that Rita is revealed to be the original Green Ranger, fallen from grace and bent on galactic domination.

And man o man, Elizabeth Banks just seals the show as Rita.  With all the superhero films out there, we don't see a lot of, moustache-twirling, just pure evil villain any more.  And that's how Banks plays Rita and it's just so delightful. 

Anyway.  I wish they just finished the origin story earlier in the film and had more Power Ranger action.  Especially since it didn't do well enough at the box office for their six-film franchise to get off the ground.  Oh, well.  They say it still did pretty good in merchandise sales, so we might get #2 after all

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