By Loryn Stone
It’s official, ladies and gentlemen- the store’s kiosks are loaded with what I consider to be one of the greatest examples of cinematic awkwardness I’ve had the displeasure of viewing this year. What’s worse, is that the smug teen drama, or “gritty” as it fancies itself, had the audacity to pretend it was a Power Rangers movie. Having a movie titled under one of my favorite franchises, yet have so little to do with the source material reminded me of when Ninja Resurrection was released and it pretended it was a sequel to the amazing animated film Ninja Scroll. Spoiler, it wasn’t.
As if having the Power Rangers movie exist wasn’t frustrating enough, when news of the 4K release hit the internet, it sent my nerd rage into a ninja storm. I sat down to consider the reasons the full package bothered me, and these are the reasons that stood out to me:
Power Rangers Movie Facts:
Let’s start out by simply examining how this movie did:
Rotten Tomatoes: 46% Rotten, 76% Audience Score
All 76% of the audience members who liked this movie need a lobotomy. When I’ve asked the 3 people who exist why they like this movie, no one gives me a straight answer. But knowing what a Power Rangers geek I am, I sort of feel like they’re just trying to mess with me. It’s really a mind-fuck, one of those things that make me question if we’re all living on the same planet. The movie was a flop, making $85 million domestically and $1.2 million in China. The US depends on China specifically for overseas dollars at the box office because China loves movies, especially American ones. But with unlimited access to perfectly executed Mecha media, the Power Rangers movie was a lesson in shit oversight and clearly knew nothing about the audience.
There were six Power Rangers movies planned, including a female Green Ranger teaser at the end of the first movie, all appropriately canned due to terrible sales. The surprise here is that a possible sequel might be happen due to high toy sales. This is incredible considering the toys looked like garbage compared to the Japanese ones from the series, no surprise. However, the successful toy sales spans across the entire franchise, not just the shit movie toys. Talk about skewing a narrative to suit your needs.
4K Releases, Statistics, and its Audience:
4K Blu-Ray players are a separate piece of equipment. They run on average $350, per Best Buy’s website. Now let’s talk about TVs that can display 4K resolution. The price range for a 4K TV is the same as any other television, about $350-$2,000 per unit. Nothing special there. The list of films is disjointed to say the least. In fact, many of the “movies” released are just 4K eye-fucks, such as “Adventure Yellowstone” “Nambia, the Spirit of Wilderness” “IMAX: Humpback Whales” “Best of 4K: Ultimate Edition” “Wonders of the Arctic”, “The Last Reef” and so on. The smartest thing I’m seeing here is “Pacific Rim” and “Deadpool” on 4K Ultra HD, which is exactly what the Power Rangers movie should have been- giant robots and sass. In fact, most movies should be a combination of Pacific Rim and Deadpool, but I digress. Also, the fact that these movies are incredibly expensive and when I click on the links, buying options are limited or even out of print already for a new format.
The point I’m trying to make here is this: Anyone investing in 4K technology is serious about their visuals. As cocky as the new Power Rangers movie is about its awesome contribution to the action/drama/robot genre, it’s nothing but a pile of bull-jizz. There’s no reason why a 4K enthusiast would add this movie to their collection because it’s a waste of space.
Power Ranger Movie Opinions from a Power Rangers Nerd
Now, as is the case with any new and emerging format, movies need to be released on it. So clearly, that includes the Power Ranger movie. It’s unrealistic and stupid to say that the movie doesn’t deserve a 4K release if other movies are being trickled out on the format. And obviously, the 4K release will be advertised because the studios want the movie to make money. Sure- but here’s part of the problem- in a (at this point) niche sub-format filled with nature documentaries and action flicks, it’s cocky for Power Rangers to think it has something to add to the format. Or even the genre. Because this movie was so fucking terrible, that really, it wasn’t for anybody. Here’s why:
- First off, there is ZERO reason they American MMPR names need to be used in this film. There’s no relevance to the characters being named Jason, Billy, Zack, Kimberly, and Trini. The villain didn’t need to be Rita. Alpha and Zordon are irrelevant. If you’re going to ride the nostalgia train, you have to GET ON the damn thing. It could have just been its own stupid thing and been 1% less lame (actual science fact) Now, let’s examine the tone. The movie starts with a “joke” about jerking off a bull and goes downhill from there. The amount of “edge” it attempts is just nauseating. The pitiful backstories of how this team of teens got their “attitude” is just dreck. And certain things are so glossed over, like how Kimberly was a “mean-girls” style cheerleader who was ostracized when she took “nude pictures of a classmate in a compromising position”. Like, that’s some sick, violating shit! And all this chick got was detention and unlimited access to robots and magic powers? Are you kidding me?
- Zack, the new black ranger (and he’s Asian so that he and Billy, recast with an African-American actor could have a “YOU’RE THE BLACK RANGER?” gag-joke (Yes, casting was a set up for a joke) has a pretty lame “sick-mother” back story. Trini, the new yellow ranger, is disgruntled because she’s gay. This could have been a really cool moment in the inner turmoil you feel when figuring out your sexuality (and having your family hate you for it), but instead it’s all just alluded to in a single line. One of the characters ask her “Guy troubles? Girl troubles?” and a look from Trini who says something along the lines of “I just get really mad, okay?”
- Jason is just a cookie-cutter white dude who hates that he’s a cookie-cutter white dude, right down to the high school quarterback who won the star game storyline. Like, who would be pissy because of that? Your life is simple and awesome and that’s just too much to take? And we have another missed opportunity with Billy, the blue ranger. Within moments of meeting him he declares he’s on the ASD spectrum and describes a laundry list of his social limitations, yet practices none. The characters suck and the actors are shit. But we knew that going into the movie. That’s fine- here’s where the movie breaks the rules:
- Power Rangers, based on the Japanese Super Sentai series that’s been happening since the 70s, has a few simple formulaic rules in place in order to make it awesome. Each season of the American show, Power Rangers, has adhered to these simple rules, if not reinventing and perfecting them (though some seasons are more interesting that others) Here’s what we need:
- Fighting Putties out of Ranger costume.
- The moment when the Rangers transform, and there’s some kind of toy or accessory they hold, something they yell out, or a pose they strike to get into costume.
- They fight the monster or bad guy in costume
- The monster grows
- The rangers summon their zords and we have the sexy money shot of the zords emerging from their individual lairs
- The moment of desperation when the leader realizes it’s time to combine for some Megazord action. Initiate Megazord sequence. Megazord activated.
- The giant monster and the Megazord clumsily fight and it’s amazing.
- The megazord blasts the monster with a huge, kick ass, laser blasting accessory that I can buy at my local Toys R Us.
- That’s it- that’s all they had to do to create a successful movie. This isn’t a repeating formula- it’s how to make magic. And they failed. They failed with a boring, forced, edgy story. They failed with Rita, who went from a fun Japanese actress to a slimy extra who looked like a concept art rejection from Alien. They failed with Bryan Cranston, who had as much enthusiasm as someone walking into a sound booth for an hour, farting some sounds out of his head, and going home with a sweet paycheck. They failed in the visuals, the acting, the missing camp, and something for the audience to cheer along with.
If I never have to see this movie again, it’ll be too soon. I’m looking for the target audience to yell at me and school me on why I’m an old loser and why this movie wasn’t for me- please, give me a compelling argument, because I want one so bad. I knew two people who liked this movie. They refused to tell me why. Now we’re not friends anymore. And still I’m just left reeling, not understanding. If you have an answer, give it to me. Even if you have to yell. I’m ready. It’s Morphing Time!
You can find Loryn’s Megazord activating on Twitter.
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