Movie Trailer Review: Power Rangers

Playing major theatres starting in March 2017. Rated PG 13 because the villain is barely wearing clothes and the female Power Rangers wear very form fitting outfits that has been known to cause sexual confusion among unaccompanied adolescents under the age of 13.

After about two decades of rotting your brain with things like reality TV, Internet memes, superhero movies, social media and sequel after sequel of Call of Duty games, it’s clear your memory isn’t as good as it used to be. This is why reboots and of popular franchises are such an easy way for the entertainment industry to skim money from your pocket.

The latest multi-million dollar idea relying on our collective cultural amnesia/paradoxical nostalgia fetish is the Power Rangers.  The original Power Rangers had a simple premise:  five teenagers with attitude were given the prestigious responsibility of protecting the earth from aliens, a plot which always worked as a vehicle to sell a fuck ton of action figures and promote bloodless, yet still harrowing violence to a whole new generation of children.

When trouble was afoot, the teenagers transformed into ass kicking ninjas with their own giant robot army. They also came with the perfect tagline: “It’s Morphin’ Time,” a phrase that was parroted by nerdy kids around the country as they flipped over living room couches and body-slammed each other through patio doors before their parents got home from work in the evening. The show related to kids by bringing up every day issues like bullying, racism and image, which are three key formulas for selling billions of cheaply-built plastic toys each holiday season. It gave these nerdy kids the sensation that even heroes who had giant robots have serious problems to deal with, which is a blatant lie.

But you’ve of course forgotten all of these details about the original Power Rangers after years of soul-crushing adulthood, except the name, so you obviously giggled with glee when you heard about the new Power Rangers reboot hitting big screens in 2017.  The movie studio is banking on your shitty memory and love of memes, because based of this 2:20 long trailer, there are no teenagers with attitude, no sound bites, no flashy fights in the desert and only a few childhood issues being conquered. In their place? Doom, gloom, grit, mockery, and hard stares.

Here’s what we learn: five misfit kids in weekend detention seem to somehow find some spooky alien technology that makes them strong, while bringing them closer together, and I guess save the world. We don’t know that last part yet.  Despite the original concept being a masterpiece of storytelling and consumerism in such an effective, subtle and subliminal way, this reboot is slated to teach audiences that the answer to all problems is alien technology. There’s just no tact involved, but there may be a cameo by Jeff Goldblum.

Whereas the original Power Rangers starred actors that could legitimately be mistaken for being teenagers, this reboot features actors that are between the ages of 19 and 23. The scenes are so imbued with a sense of adultness, you feel that Red Ranger Jason, played by Dacre Montgomery, had just finished filing his taxes prior to being tasked with saving the world from evil forces. Where’s the innocence of the original ass-kicking crew? Where’s the young confidence and feeling of invincibility the original Rangers had? These new ‘Rangers’ seem vulnerable and confused, traits of normal people, even when they are break-dancing on the top of a speeding locomotive.

That’s because these aren’t Power Rangers, they’re just everyday jerks like you and me. This is driven home by the fact that the Red Ranger, who typically acts like a pep-talking leader, is missing completely in the reboot.  One of the Rangers cuts her own angsty hair in the school bathroom mirror with art scissors, another smashes up his pickup truck, and then somehow they all find the alien crater and everything is OK again, which is weird because clearly, things were never ok.

One highlight of the new Power Rangers experience is Elizabeth Banks, who plays Rita Repulsa, the sexy villainette, who will inspire college aged kids to wear crappy, revealing knock-off costumes at next year’s Halloween party. If you’ve made it this far in, then you’ll be as disappointed as I am that no one utters “it’s morphin’ time” during the trailer, and there isn’t a single glimpse at a world-rocking Megazord. At this point, you’re probably just looking forward to the porn parody: Porno Rangers by Brazzers.

In the end, the movie feels like The Breakfast Club meets Spiderman 3 (you know, the really bad one.) “But what’s wrong with that?” you ask, because you’ve already forgot why you liked the Power Rangers in the first place.

You’re right, nothing is really wrong with that because most of us are brain dead, entertainment-consuming leeches. You can’t help but watch this, and will throw $13 to whatever half-baked idea the entertainment industry sells to you. But before you do that, think back to your cherished memories of the Power Rangers, with its cheery bloodless violence, calls of “It’s Morphin’ Time” and the confusing Green/White Ranger storyline with the dreamy Tommy.

This movie isn’t that fun romp through your childhood. It won’t encourage your inner six year old to slam down some pixie sticks and mountain dew, grab your Zord, and blame the resulting destruction on the dog. It won’t even have you scouring the toy aisles for new action figures. It’s clear this movie misses its source material by a nautical mile, earning just 16 pec pops on our movie rating scale.

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