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
So, it’s been a couple of years, but I finally decided to get back to work on my Power Rangers fanfic, Guardians of Gaia, by posting ‘Season 2’ of the story. For the uninitiated, here’s the basic premise of my story: A parallel world to Earth called Gaia, which is tied to the natural elements of the world, is facing disaster. The Dark Zones of said world have been taken over by a powerful being called Dradarius, who is looking to conquer all of the other zones, cities, and locales of Gaia. Its ancient protectors, the Guardians of Gaia, disappeared millenia ago, and the source of their miraculous powers, the Gaian Crystals, with them. However, the crystals weren’t lost, instead passed down through the Guardians’ bloodlines…who wound up on Earth. As such, when five of them are brought back together by five college students, said students are sent to Gaia to protect it, not only as the newest Guardians of Gaia, but as the newest team of Power Rangers.
Furthermore, here’s a quick rundown of the main characters of the fic. And keep in mind, these rundowns do possess some spoilers, so if you don’t wanna know, scroll down past them.
- Nichelle “Nikki” Markson – The Red Gaia Ranger and Guardian of Fire. She’s a natural leader and a disciplined martial artist and fencer, and while she initially had trouble with long-range weapons, she’s since improved her aim with them. She’s a tenacious fighter and strategist who has defeated many powerful foes single-handedly, including the massive Plesio Lightless and the soul-stealing Ammit Lightless, but she has trouble dealing with loss, and treats any injuries that befall her friends as personal failures of hers. Despite these short-comings, Nikki has nonetheless earned the right to be named the true Guardian of Fire by the most stubborn of races on Gaia, the volcanic Magma Naga. Her Gaia Zord is the Phoenix Zord, which can assault foes with its razor-sharp talons, flame breath, and burning aileron roll.
- Patrick “Pat” O’Donnell – The Green Gaia Ranger and Guardian of Wind. Born to a meteorologist and a geologist, Patrick has learned much of his parents’ trades, and has also become skilled at fencing and parkour. He’s easily the most gifted swordsman of the team, using finesse and a little bit of luck to topple monsters like the Skeleton Lightless, who had previously bested the others in 4-on-1 combat. He has trouble admitting what he’s really thinking at times, and tends to put the good of others over himself to the point of self-sacrifice. Furthermore, an incident in battle cost him the use of his eyes, requiring him to further hone his natural and wind-based senses to compensate. His Gaia Zord is the Hippogriff Zord, which can both ride and manipulate the winds with ease, generate small tornadoes, and stomp down on foes with its thick hooves.
- Layla Bluestone – The Blue Gaia Ranger and Guardian of Water. A gamer-girl and tech expert, Layla was initially weak in combat, preferring to fight from a long distance, but has since toughened up a bit, once defeating the Frog Lightless by enduring its attacks long enough to find its weak point. An open lesbian, she’s currently dating a Dryad named Faye, and once subconsciously and unsuccessfully tried to hit on Nikki. While she’s occasionally made mistakes doing so, she’s been working to improve and expand upon the team’s weapons and equipment. She initially believed she was Madilyn’s sister, but this was revealed to be false, though she quickly forgave her and accepted her as her sister in her heart, regardless of blood relation. Her Gaia Zord is the Leviathan Zord, a long sea serpent which can coil around foes, tripping them up or keeping them held firmly in place, and can attack with blasts of ice.
- Dirk Slater – The Orange Gaia Ranger and Guardian of Earth. He is the muscle of the group, having grown up on a farm and having taken up wrestling in high school. While he’s occasionally the source of comedic relief, oftentimes pointing out certain long-standing tropes and coincidences in Ranger history, he also has a much more sensitive side to him he tries to hide. When the Doppelganger Lightless tried to trick him by appearing as his sister, Dirk was angered to the point of vengeance at the idea of villains using family against someone, especially his own. He also has occasionally butted heads with Layla over whether the Gaia Zords are machines or living creatures, though the two are still friends regardless of belief. His Gaia Zord is the Behemoth Zord, a bull-like monstrosity who mows down foes with its massive horns and orange energy orbs.
- Madilyn ‘Mad’ Bluestone – The Violet Gaia Ranger and Guardian of Lightning. Initially, Madilyn believed herself to be the leader of the group, as she was the one who brought them all together initially, but eventually conceded the position to Nikki, though the two can still butt heads at times. Her more hyperactive, chaotic, and overly optimistic stance has been known to cause turmoil for the team, as has her over-protectiveness of Layla, but she’s since come to grips with why she behaves in such a manner and tried her best to cool down for her team’s sake. Still, her energy is oftentimes seen as a major asset to the group, and she can at times think outside the box to confuse enemies, like the telepathic Satori Lightless. Her Gaia Zord is the Thunderbird Zord, which can launch electrified feathers from its wings, and can shoot lightning from its eyes.
- Jowar – The Wizard Ranger and Guardian of Light. The last of the Wizards of Gaia, he gave up his powers years ago to his newborn son, Walker. Unfortunately, this turned out to be a mistake when Walker was taken and raised by Dradarius, Usurper of the Dark Throne, and raised to be one of his Shadowmancers. However, Jowar later came across the Light Crystal, which reinvigorated him. He mostly prefers to wait on the team in the Ancient Library as their mentor, though this is mainly due to the crystal’s power weakening the further away from the library he gets. But, when the time calls for it, his light-based powers are the natural foil for Dradarius’ dark-based monsters, such as the mighty Orthrus Lightless. While he doesn’t possess a Gaia Zord of his own, he controls the Magna Cannon, a giant weapon that emerges from the Ancient Library, which can blast apart monsters or empower the Rangers’ Zords.
- Drayden Snyder – The Indigo Ranger and Guardian of Darkness. Despite learning Muay Thai kick-boxing growing up, Drayden always felt like a cheap imitation of his explorer father, Professor Charles Snyder. However, he was dragged into Gaia and was given the chance to become his own man if he fused his body and consciousness with that of a disembodied spirit. Unfortunately, said spirit was a former Dark General named Dargoon, who tried to destroy Gaia and nearly defeated the Rangers until they freed Drayden from his control. At first, he alienated himself from his father and the group, thinking himself evil because of the darkness still inside him, until he realized he wasn’t and officially joined the team. His Gaia Zord is the Dragon Zord, which can blast enemies with powerful dark flames, and is strong enough to carry the Rangers’ Gaia Megazord on its back while in flight.
Anyway, if you’re interested in the story, feel free to click the links below and start reading, and be sure to let me know what you think of it so far. Ja né!