It’s been a long time since we first saw Saban’s Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers came on the small screen on many Fox stations across North America. Kids could not get enough of the colour-coded teens infused with alien superpowers and their transforming vehicles. It was vary similar to old school anime shows like Voltron and Dynaman, but for kids that were not used to the concept, it was new, intriguing and fun. Come twenty-four years later, things are a bit different, and we have new cast of Rangers, but the differences are vast, and very welcome. New movie technology has made superpowers and vehicular transformation on the big screen much more realistic in scope, but now we have the time to learn more about the Rangers themselves. We also can learn more about those that brought them together, Zardon, Alpha 6, and their first nemesis, Rita Repulsa, and her “puddies”.
Now for our rangers: Red Ranger Jason (Dacre Montgomery) is the big man on campus at Angel Grove High School, but he has a knack for trouble. Now he is on house arrest, and wears an electronic tracker. His actions have landed him in detention with Blue Ranger Billy (RJ Cyler), an autistic boy that got into trouble by odd circumstances, and with Pink Ranger Kimberly (Naomi Scott) who has a rep for being a mean girl cheerleader. When another detainee bullies Billy, Jason sticks up for him, and Billy tells him he can get the tracker off if he can drive Billy somewhere later. Meanwhile, Kimberly gets a text and meets with two other cheerleaders in the ladies’ room, just to be called out on a mean Facebook post where she posted a picture of one of the other girls, Amanda, with her crush, Ty, as a form of revenge. Thus, the catfight begins.
Later, Jason drives Billy up to the mine where Billy’s late father worked. Billy’s father had found an odd artifact, and Billy wants to investigate more about it. There they meet with Black Ranger Zack (Ludi Lin), a poor boy doing his best to care for his invalid mother on the poor side of town, and Yellow Ranger Trini (Becky G.), a strange girl that is everything the opposite of what her shallow family expects her to be. Soon strange things happens, and after a series of weird events, they meet with Alpha 6 (Bill Hader), and Zordon (Bryan Cranston) in a cave at the mine.
Soon they have odd powers, and are using them to their advantage to mostly back at those that have wronged them, but soon they learn that this will not be enough, and they have to learn about each other to gain access to their armour and “Zords” that will be crucial in defeating Rita Repulsa (Elizabeth Banks) and her minion, Goldar, from destroying the Earth.
This is a far reach from the TV series and the upbeat movie from 1995. This tale has a darker tone, and follows more of an Asian-style storyline which most North American audiences are not used to. Most anime fans and fans of Pacific Rim-based movies will totally get it. If the new Angel Grove looks familiar, it is the same town known as Storybrooke on ABC’s Once Upon a Time, and has also been used as a set location in Stargate SG-1.
This is not the retro Power Rangers, but a new group of Rangers for a new time. Sadly there are things out there far more dangerous than Rita Repulsa and her earth elementals, and they don’t come from other planets. So for a mix of old and new, spending some time with the Power Rangers is a pretty good idea.