You’ve probably all heard that the Power Rangers are getting a new movie based on the original series. I’ve seen a lot of people excited by the news and others still already calling for the original cast to return.
Let’s take a step back for a second. I understand the mainstream excitement: there’s a lot of nostalgia for the original series. It was great! However the franchise is not what it used to be, in some ways for the better but in many ways for the worst.
I should know, I’ve watched every single episode of Power Rangers and both films. I’m not active in the fan community but I keep a close eye on it. I know how the show has evolved over the past twenty years both on the screen and behind the scenes. With all that in mind here’s my expert opinion:
Don’t get excited yet.
Yeah whatever, expert on Power Rangers, it’s not something I brag about as a real thing but it’s relevant today. Let’s break this down.
- Saban Brands, the owners of the Power Rangers franchise, has teamed up with Lionsgate to make a Power Rangers Movie
- Official synopsis: “The new film franchise will re-envision the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, a group of high school kids who are infused with unique and cool super powers but must harness and use those powers as a team if they have any hope of saving the world.”
- This is all we know about the film. No dates, no cast, no writers, no crew
Sounds inoffensive so far. Let’s tackle the issues though.
Bring back the original cast
Let’s not kid ourselves. This is a re-imagining/reboot starring teenagers. The original cast are in their fourties now. Thuy Trang who played Trini the yellow ranger tragically passed away in 2001 in a car accident. While the surviving cast do participate in fan conventions and such they’ve moved on now. Many of them no longer act and frankly none of them could pull off the role of a teenager. They barely could in the Nineties.
The current state of Power Rangers
It’s no secret that the quality of Power Rangers has taken a nose dive in the last few years. I mean you know, relative to Power Rangers that is. During the Noughties the franchise was owned by Disney and production was moved to New Zealand. There were good and bad seasons due to many factors such as cast, crew, writers and source material.
At the beginning of this decade Saban Brands bought back the Power Rangers franchise and since then has put out two seasons of questionable quality. Power Rangers Samurai was full of bad acting, miscasting and a quick, dumbed-down version of the source materials script. Power Rangers Megaforce has taken over 100 episodes of footage from two separate sources and mashed them together into one hurried season with little character development and slightly better acting.
Right now the production team for Power Rangers is not good. Terrible may not be an overstatement. I do not think they’d be able to put together a good film based on the Power Rangers going by the current quality of the show.
Power Rangers uses source material from the Japanese series Super Sentai; this is why they get new zords and/or suits every year. However the original movie did not use any of this source material outside of designs for the Megazord. For the upcoming film this may or may not be a good thing: the Japanese footage restricts the story the writers can tell, however the cinematography and stunt-style is an integral part of the show.
Future of the franchise
There is hope for the production of Power Rangers though: next year veteran PR crew member Judd Lynn will be returning to the franchise. He was largely responsible for some of the better seasons of the franchise, fan-favourites such as Space, Timeforce and RPM. This may help with the quality of the show, although nothing is certain at this point.
The film may have a different production crew entirely! As mentioned earlier there is no information about staff for the movie and if they plan to film it in LA the crew will be different anyway.
It’s for kids
Even if it is a reboot, it’s still a franchise largely aimed at children. It’s more likely to be skewed towards a younger audience, even more so than the Avengers. While this may necessarily not be a bad thing, it’s my way of saying it won’t be a gritty reboot.
Here’s the thing: it may be excellent. If they get the right writers, directors, producers and actors on board it could be suitable for kids and still an excellent film. Power Rangers has moved on quite a lot in the last 20 years, and so has the world.
Just reserve your judgement for now.