Power Rangers Is Almost Perfect (But It Needs More Knife Flutes)

My Pile Of Shame post this week is a little unusual. Largely as it’s all about something that i’ve actually seen but also partly because it was written at 3am after a Power Rangers binge. You see,  the summer holidays have arrived and i’ve had very little time to play or watch anything new and what little spare time I do have is spent either writing or tending to my farm in Stardew Valley.

I’m writing this on a dreary, drizzly day and with my joints screaming and my head thumping, I did something for which many parents would happily have me killed. I gave the kids control of the TV for the day. Essentially, I surrendered.

“You know where the food is, leave me to die”

That’s maybe a tad over-dramatic. I enjoy film and TV days with the kids. I’ve raised them to have (mostly) excellent taste in telly-based entertainment and I can spend hours watching things like Gravity Falls and Just Add Magic (oh god thank you Amazon, it’s so good) but there are five words which fill me with equal parts dread and hope. “Can we watch Power Rangers?”.

Please don’t misunderstand me, I love the Power Rangers. They were a part of my formative years, of course, but they’re still so much fun to watch now. Certain series, that is. Essentially, the first few seasons are like bathing in liquid nineties and then the last couple of seasons are actually pretty damn good. In between, there’s crap like Mystic Force. You see what I mean about the dread/hope divide.

Picture the scene. It’s a drizzly, grey day and the kids have dominion, so we’re watching a couple episodes of Power Rangers Super Samurai (the Red Ranger can’t act for toffee but it’s not too shabby) and I mentioned the new (2017) movie, which they’ve still not seen. Yup, this is a blog post about my kids’ Pile Of Shame.

My daughter is 10 now and she’s not too bothered about Power Rangers, spending most of her time watching either Youtube or Marvel films. I’m fine with that. My son is 8, nearly 9 and he would still happily watch any version of Power Rangers going. If Saiban announced Power Rangers: Accounting Force with the rangers riding photocopiers and three hole punches into battle, he’d still lap it up. The point is that despite their differing opinions on the series, they’re both excited for the film. The trailers looked fantastic so all three of us were hyped from the get-go and when I told them last night just how good the film is, they were one hundred percent in the bag.

Yeah, i’ve watched the Power Rangers movie. I loved it.

No. Not even with the emergency nut kick.

Power Rangers takes all the elements of the existing series mythology and uses them as the basis for a superhero origin story which stands proud in a world where superhero movies are both abundant and highly acclaimed. The characters are brilliantly developed and well rounded, the visuals are lavish and though utterly fantastic, there is still a realism and darkness to it which makes it more relatable than you would think possible. Relatively relatable, I mean. Eventually there’s armour and zords and a big monster made of gold, so realism takes a back seat for a while, but it’s around that point that you’re having too much fun watching all the ass-kicking and don’t care anymore.

The Rangers are brilliantly cast and have a fantastic chemistry together, Patton Oswalt provides great comic relief as Alpha-5 and Elizabeth Banks was absolutely savage as Rita, not to mention the always fantastic Bryan Cranston as Zordon. These are nineties kids show characters given MCU mainstay treatment and every bit of it worked. Michael Bay, take note.

“We didn’t want to be in your crappy movie anyway”

I expected to like Power Rangers much in the same way I like the original Daredevil movie. I’d come away knowing full well that it was packed with problems, but getting to see much loved characters on the big screen would be enough to put a smile on my face. I was surprised and delighted to find that I liked Power Rangers because it’s a brilliantly put together, visually stunning movie with a great cast and well crafted story. In short, it’s bloody awesome.

The critical response to Power Rangers was mixed and the box office return was poor, meaning a sequel is sadly unlikely. That’s a real shame because this film was a fantastic start to what could have been a really brilliant franchise. I’d have loved to have seen Tommy Oliver introduced (knife flute or no dice, of course) and used much as he was in the show in an antagonist-becomes-protagonist role. Chances are, it’s never going to happen.

Whatever the future of this film franchise, the Power Rangers are still going strong. There will probably come a time before too long when both of my kids move on and I might well lose touch with the latest incarnation but before that happens i’ll add Power Rangers 2017 to the DVD & Blu-ray collection and enjoy it with the nippers. Then in 30 years, when i’m basically just a husk, i’ll still be watching it and chuckling over that Bumblebee line.

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