by Monica Hayes
What do you get when you mix The Breakfast Club, Pacific Rim sprinkled with a little Armageddon and a lot of boredom? The new Power Rangers movie. Unless you have been under a rock or born in the last five years, this movie is a reboot of the 1990’s version of the television series about five teenagers who normally would not be in each other’s company, but find themselves in a situation to become defenders of the universe.
Three members of the group meet in Saturday detention: Jason (Dacre Montgomery), the star QB for the high school football team, Kimberly (Naomi Scott), the mean girl, and Billy (R.J. Cyler), the geek who blew up his lunch box. Jason defends Billy from a bully, while Kimberly is unceremoniously cut from her mean girl click.
Meanwhile, the other two, Trini (Becky G.) the new girl who doesn’t fit in and serious family issues and Zack (Ludi Lin) the loner who takes care of his ailing mother are the outcasts of this motley crew. Oddly enough, this is reminiscent of characters from The Breakfast Club, you know, where a group of students find themselves together for Saturday detention and discover they have more in common than they initially thought.
Together, they stumble upon some colorful magical coins and a century’s old spaceship buried underneath their small town. Once inside, they awaken Alpha 5 (voiced by Bill Hader) and Zordon (Bryan Cranston). Zordon reveals they have been chosen to be the new Power Rangers and are tasked with stopping Rita Repulsa (Elizabeth Banks) before she can bring Goldar to life to retrieve the Zeo Crystal and destroy the earth. The rest of the movie is about the new Rangers training, learning about themselves and trying to Morph. When they finally figure it out, it is just as campy and cheesy as the television series.
The acting by this young cast was solid and on par for the theme of the movie. Banks plays the originally campy villain to perfection. With little background to refer too, she went the extra mile to make the villain believable with just the right amount of cheesy. Cranston as Zordon and Hader as Alpha 5 add very little to the movie. The film’s scenery and atmosphere strongly mimic an early January release, Monster Trucks.
As someone who aged out of the demographic when the Power Ranger franchise was becoming popular, our initial thought was that it was a total rip-off of the Voltron: Defender of the Universe cartoon. While we wanted to give the movie a chance, the film’s run time worked against it. If the thinking was it wouldn’t be as bad as the series and maybe there were some producers who thought it was a given as to how to present this reboot to a new generation of fans. Sadly, that was not the case.
The campy, cheesy feel of the original series was maintained throughout the film, but also there were long drawn out portions as well. Much of the film focused on the training and the buildup to the final 25 minutes. At 124 minutes, a good 45 minutes could have been left on the editor’s floor. Overall, there is no need to run out on opening weekend and spend top dollar to see this movie. Netflix or online stream will do.