My Thoughts On The Power Rangers 2017 Movie (WARNING – SPOILERS)
Well, I WAS going to do a vlog about the movie. Unfortunately, there are new tenants upstairs from where I live with little kids who like to run around a lot, so I opted to write about it instead. lol So, here they are, my written thoughts on the new Power Rangers movie, having just gotten home from seeing it with N. Harmonik.
Okay, I know that we live in the age where saying this sounds like an insult, but I thought the movie was GOOD. It’s not great, but it’s good and it’s fun to sit back and enjoy. And, believe it or not, THAT’S OKAY. I’m sick of people who take someone saying that something is good but not great as an insult. But yes, this movie is good. The best way to describe it is being dumb yet fun and ultimately harmless. And I will admit to being worried about it, particularly after finding out that Billy would be autistic and Trini would be gay. Why would that bother me? Because, if you’ll lean in real close so I can share a little secret with you: I’M ON BOTH THOSE SPECTRUMS…I know, I just revealed the best kept secret in the flipping world. I’ll give you all a moment to recover mentally. lol But anyway, my point is, with how very Bay-esque this movie was coming off in the trailers, I was worried the decision to make them autistic and LGBTQ would be simply to play up the stereotypes of both and have those BE their character traits. Thankfully, though, I think we may have dodged the bullet on that one. In fact, if I may be so bold, the reason I think this movie is actually better than both the Transformers and TMNT movies going on right now has a lot to do with the characters and our ability to actually LIKE them. And, that being the case, let’s go over each one, shall we?
The first thing you gotta know about the characters is that, while they’re people we can relate to and get on board with, they’re also very much delinquents. Jason, for example, finds himself in trouble after a prank gone wrong, to the point where he’s under house arrest. However, he’s still a good person, as shown when he stands up to a bully to protect Billy. He’s also the one who decides to go with being a Power Ranger first, much like his TV counterpart. I should also note that he’s not a martial artist, but rather a football player. In fact, none of the team go in being at all experienced in martial arts, and have to be trained by Alpha 5 (who is thankfully more adept than the TV version, or that would’ve ended horribly). However, he nonetheless comes off as the physically strongest (even after they get their powers) and seems to take on a leadership role rather easily. I did love how he at one point says they should stop pretending to be superheroes and then IMMEDIATELY goes into a superhero team leader speech. 😛
Zack is…the crazy one. No, seriously, that’s pretty much his character. He’s the more reckless of the team, opting to try and pilot his Zord before being able to morph, is all too willing to try and test the limits of his enhanced strength and leaping ability, and even gets into a fight with Jason at one point. However, he’s also the one to come up with the idea of sharing secrets around a fire as a means to help them get closer. And it turns out he might have a reason for his recklessness: His mother is dying, and he doesn’t know what to do with himself and his life when she goes. But, by the end, he finds he does have something more to live for: His friends. He also feels a connection to Trini, doing all he can to keep her with the group and helping her open up about herself. I’m not sure if that’s because he’s crushing on her hard or what, but the point stands that he gets her to be herself with the team.
Billy was honestly the one I was most concerned about since pretty much the first trailer. Of everyone presented, you could instantly tell through him that these were NOT going to be the same characters as we’ve known since 1993. And yes, that’s absolutely true, these are NOT your 90s Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. However, here’s the thing you need to remember: That doesn’t automatically make these characters BAD. In fact, if I can be thoroughly honest, these characters are 100x more developed and interesting than the originals were in the beginning. They developed into much more well-rounded characters over time, but in the beginning? Not so much. And no, Billy’s character is not that he’s autistic. It’s a part of who he is, but it’s not his character, and as someone with Asperger’s Syndrome and having worked with people all up and down the autism spectrum, I was not offended at all by his character. Right from the beginning, he’s the one who values his new friendships the most, and because of that, he’s the first one to morph, albeit briefly. He also has a MAJOR moment late in the movie that…well, let’s just say I did NOT see it coming, but I honestly thought worked perfectly. Also, if you’re wondering, he’s in detention for blowing up his lunch box. Seriously. XD
Ahh, Trini, my first love. Which is why learning she’s LGBTQ in this movie is hilarious to me personally. lol And, much like Billy, her being gay is not her character. And while I was worried they might’ve only done that just so that they could have Rita go succubus mode on her, really, there’s only one line in particular that seems to have that kind of subtext to it. No, if I had to sum up her character, it’s best displayed in her sarcasm and her difficulty gelling into a group. In fact, her more sarcastic nature could even be seen as a defense mechanism/smokescreen. She quite literally has to be forcibly pulled into the group. But, once there, she realizes she likes being part of a group of friends that care for her and will watch her back, and is able to open up to them about her issues at home with her family who just want her to be “normal”. Granted, I still can’t say that I care for this character the same way I did Trini, but that’s my natural bias, and I did not have any kind of issues with this version. That said, what IS her last name now, since it’s obviously not Kwan? o.O
Kimberly is a bit of an odd nut to crack at first, but then the reveal is made why she is the way she is: She once leaked a photo of a friend of hers with some guy to her boyfriend. Looking on her actions in hindsight, it’s easy to see that she’s carrying the guilt of what she did the entire time, and when she considers that it may be her keeping this to herself that’s keeping them from morphing, she tells Jason, who tells her to carry that with her, and to be the person she wants to be. And yeah, they hint several times at the two having feelings for each other, though the kiss from the trailer has been removed. And all the better, I say. If they DO decide that’s the direction they wanna go as opposed to her with Tommy, better to have it develop slowly over a gradual amount of time.
Beyond the team, there are several other things that got revised for this movie. For example, Zordon is now the original Red Ranger, and rather than being trapped in a time-warp that he speaks through via a tube, he’s actually dead and had his consciousness transferred into his ship (the movie’s version of the Command Center) and speaks through a wall that reforms itself to be shaped like his head. Rita Repulsa is likewise the original Green Ranger, but betrayed and killed the team. And, if I can be honest…I really love that change. Honestly, it just fits, and even could’ve worked in the original version of the story without changing much. Hell, I don’t even think it was ever revealed exactly how she got her hands on the Green Power Coin originally in the show. Zordon being the Red Ranger is admittedly a little trickier to work in, but it could be done.
Now, about the Zords… … …Eh. Look, they aren’t bad designs, especially in their separated forms. Really, the only thing that bugs me is the multiple legs on the Mastodon Zord to make it “more alien”. Otherwise, they’re fine, and I actually appreciate the Pterodactyl Zord being the most useful of the group since…well, this is kind of a no-brainer, but because it can freaking fly. But then they combine, and…look, I get what they were going for, and it works for the most part, but it just does not hold a candle to the original design. And admittedly, that could totally be a me issue. What’s funny is, it was actually when I noticed something familiar about the Zords’ individual designs that something hit me about this movie. Specifically, I started to realize that there was one other PR story that this seemed to resemble a fair bit more than MMPR…
Think about it: The teens aren’t friends in the beginning and instead meet by chance that leads them to becoming Rangers after freeing the source of their powers from stone. Their mentor is a former Ranger. They actually have a tie to the time of the dinosaurs beyond the Zords simply being modeled after them, which, as I noted, actually look less like the original Dino Zords and more like the ones from Dino Thunder. Hell, even certain characteristics of the team can be seen as similar to the Dino Thunder team, like Jason being a sports jock. And I’m not even saying any of this as a negative thing. Honestly, if you’re going to use any season as a model of how to update the teenagers with attitude gimmick, Dino Thunder is the one to go with.
As for stuff I didn’t like…well, for starters, I was not a fan of some of the moments that seemed to be trying too hard to appeal to a more adult fanbase. For example, I did NOT need the thing with the cow’s penis, and frankly, I found that joke to be done better in City Slickers 2. I also did NOT need to hear Billy have to stop himself from saying motherfucker. That was going a bit too far with the gag of him having to stop himself and others from swearing. And while I agree that it’s probably for the best that Bulk and Skull are not in this movie, as they wouldn’t have fit the tone, the new bully is just the stereotypical bland bully that only exists to have his comeuppance and doesn’t really have a character. And then there’s Alpha, and while I appreciate him being more active and understand the reason for the new voice, the voice seems like a very random choice, and he doesn’t have much of a character at all, though putting developing that on the back burner for the first movie is understandable. Plus, while I understand where they were going with the new design…the eyes are weird. I’m sorry. lol
Now, all of that said, I have to be blunt about something: If you’re coming to this movie expecting to see a perfect adaptation of the original MMPR to the big screen, you will not get what you want. I’m sorry, but that’s just how it is. This is not the 90s MMPR. However, that does not make this a bad movie, and while there are things about it that are inferior to the original, there are also things about it that are better. Will it be beloved to me in the same way that the original was? Of course not. But it’s something that I enjoyed watching, and wouldn’t mind seeing a sequel to, especially since it’s been all but written in the sky that the next movie will be Green With Evil. And speaking of, I am totally in favour of the idea of making Tommy a girl, just so long as she remains the badass martial artist. That part of Tommy has to remain the same, no matter what else they change about him/her/it/they/whatever. Also, I would just like to point out that Jason David Frank and Amy Jo Johnson are in this movie… … …That is all. XD
Anyway, I think that best describes my own personal thoughts on the movie. So, if anyone else was on the fence about seeing it, I hope I’ve helped you come to your own conclusions. Ja né, and may the power protect you always!
…Oh, and lastly, N. Harmonik and I marked out like mad when Go Go Power Rangers played. XD