The Mighty Morphin’ Breakfast Club: A Power Rangers Movie Review
I went into this film with fairly low expectations. That’s not because I am some huge fan of the original series from the early 90’s – though I do remember liking it when I was 9. I looked at this and just saw a movie studio looking to shit out some schlock so they could ride a wave of nostalgia into a new franchise. While I was right, I was also kind of wrong.
Written by John Gatins and directed by Dean Israelite, Power Rangers follows the story of five troublesome teenagers in a small town called Angel Grove as they find a buried alien artifact and unlock its secrets to become the next protectors of the world. It’s a simple enough story that Gatins fleshes out with a bit of comedy and, surprisingly, heart. Gatin’s approach to setting up the story and Israelite’s pacing of the script are this film’s strongest aspects. I expected the movie to push for big action scenes as quickly as possible, most probably by the end of the first act, but instead the movie takes its time having us get to know our characters, and having our characters get to know each other. It takes itself a bit more seriously than I thought it would have. Some dialogue is a little stilted, however, and more than a few jokes go on a little longer than they should. There are also a few moments that feel like they were forced into the script to progress the plot, but aside from that, most everything else seems to work fairly well.
The cast themselves do a pretty decent job,as they all play well off each other and are clearly having fun in their roles. Dacre Montgomery is Jason Scott/The Red Ranger, the leader of the group and all-star quarterback turned problem child; Naomi Scott is Kimberly Hart/ The Pink Ranger, the popular cheerleader turned pariah after a mean prank goes wrong; RJ Cyler is Billy Cranston/The Blue Ranger, an autistic genius dealing with the death of his father; Becky G is Trini/The Yellow Ranger, a rebellious girl feeling lost as she tries to reconcile her sexuality with her straight-laced family; and finally Ludi Lin as Zack/The Black Ranger, the despondent youth caring for his dying mother. Unfortunately, character development for all but a few suffers because of the crowded plate.
Bryan Cranston, who also did some voice work on the original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers back in 1993, returns to the franchise as Zordon, the original Red Ranger. He has a bit more of a character arc here than I would have expected, for a head in a wall! Bill Hader provides the voice for Alpha 5, the android assistant to Zordan and trainer to the teens as they prepare to be Rangers. And as Rita Repulsa, Elizabeth Banks turns the camp up a notch. While she doesn’t go all out in the way that Barbara Goodson voices her in the original series, she does make Rita a cartoon bad guy. Though, I’d say she succeeds in spite of how she’s written in the script, and makes it work.
Overall, I found myself having more fun with this movie than I expected. It’s not the dung heap I though it would be, but it’s also not an action masterpiece. If you’re a purist (I’m sure there’s a few) you may hate this. But if you’re fan who won’t mind exploring a new and slightly more serious take on the franchise, then you’ll probably enjoy it – faults and all.