As a member of the Power Rangers generation, somebody who can fondly and vividly remember having the first feature film rented from the local video store and being ridiculously excited to see it, I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t a part of me looking forward to this latest big-screen adaption of the Haim Saban property. Perhaps it is this fondness for the source material that helped me overlook the flaws of this update, of which there are many, but Dean Israelite’s film is made in such a way that it should appeal to a whole new younger audience as well.
Having made 2015’s Project Almanac, a found footage, time travel movie aimed primarily at the teenage market, Israelite is an inspired choice to bring the franchise to the modern-day. And like his previous work, he brings with him some creative directorial flourishes, as well as a jukebox soundtrack taken right from the charts, that make the drama enjoyable to watch – that is until the film descends into an overblown CGI-fest in its finale.
It’s a shame, then, that he is forced to work with a story that has been patched together by five different people (the same number of Power Rangers) which strikes a strange tone from the very beginning, in which a joke about “milking” a bull falls flatter than a Ranger in training. This and reference to the sharing of naked selfies around a school, as well as the most glaringly obvious product placement I’ve seen in quite a while – you’ll lose count of how many times Krispy Kremes are mentioned by the end credits – are among some of the film’s most questionable moments.
But for all of these baffling narrative choices, there is a sense of fun – Elizabeth Banks’ gloriously camp portrayal of Rita Repulsa is a highlight – which make all the other stuff bareable at the very least. Caught somewhere between “edgy” remake and charming homage, the (lack of) tone of this update really lets it down. Truthfully, it did keep me constantly entertained, mostly due to the nostalgic warmth I have for the franchise, but even then it never manages to be anything other than so so Power Rangers.
Image credit to http://www.impawards.com