LIONSGATE (2017)

 

Director: Dean Israelite

 

Starring: Dacre Montgomery, Naomi Scott, RJ Cyler, Becky G., Ludi Lin, Bill Hader, Bryan Cranston, Elizabeth Banks

It’s morphin’ time.

 

The latest effort to bring the legendary mid-90’s action cheese heroes the Power Rangers to screen is a different affair to what has been served previously. From the campy TV series we were then given the two bloody awful movies, and it seemed that a decent movie adaptation was simply too much to ask for. So, has Dean Israelite pulled off a minor miracle?

 

Almost, but not quite.

Millions of years after the dinosaurs were wiped out, along with the former Rangers and their nemesis Rita Repulsa, five teenagers are bought together by fate. As they slowly become closer, they come into the possession of coloured Power Coins that bestow upon them super powers. Unfortunately for them, Rita has returned and is searching for the powerful Zeo crystal that will grant her the power to destroy the world. It’s up to them to stop her and to do that they must become the Power Rangers.

 

Comparisons between Power Rangers and The Breakfast Club have been thrown about, probably because it’s true. The mismatched gang come together and talk of togetherness and being a family is weaved throughout the movie (slightly too much) and there solidarity is what makes them Rangers. The diversity of the gang is clear to see – Jason (Montgomery) aka Red Ranger is the high school jock who has thrown his talents away whereas Kimberly (Scott) aka Pink has the mature head. Billy (Cyler) aka Blue has autism and is highly skilled with technology, Trini (Becky G.) aka Yellow is the snarky rebellious teen (and the first LGBT superhero, though you may miss the allusion in the movie) and Zack (Lin) aka Black is the crazy one. All bases covered and thankfully the ensemble gel well together.

Montgomery and Scott deliver fine performances in their roles, especially as Montgomery’s character could have become grating as the cocky leader of the gang. Cyler, however, is the stand out performer and the character that is most relatable. His warm personality and sense of fun really helps the movie as it delves into its deeper personality. Lin and Becky G. are fine, though the Trini character flies dangerously close to parody and irritating.

I did enjoy the performance of Elizabeth Banks as the villain Rita Repulsa – now, let’s not pretend here, Banks absolutely hams the role to heaven and back. In fact, there’s less ham in a pork farm. She is clearly having a blast being able to let loose and camp up her performance. It’s fun and the aspect most reminiscent of the TV series. There have been mixed reviews of her portrayal, but she looks great in the role and it was entertaining to watch.

 

I really fancied a Krispy Kreme during this movie.

 

The soundtrack didn’t grab me throughout, I found it too on the nose when attempting to create tension or when the scene demanded a rousing musical moment. The use of contemporary music wasn’t a great idea either, and will undoubtedly date the movie in years to come. The editing throughout wasn’t fantastic either, it was clunky and too quick during the action scenes. The slow motion-to-fast motion effects became tiresome very quickly also. Also, the CGI was hit and miss – certain elements looked great (the underwater cavern and the Dinozords looked good) but other elements didn’t hit the mark.

 

Sorry Alpha 5, but you just didn’t work me for little guy, all I could think was “ai ai aiiiii….”

 

The majority of the movie’s best moments were throwbacks or blatant nostalgia trips, which to me isn’t a hugely positive thing. What the movie did do well is flesh out the characters and provide a team worthy of rooting for. I have to admit though, when a certain old theme song suddenly blared out, I almost fist pumped the air hard.

 

Donut, anyone?

 

The movie was entertaining and provided some fun moments and good action sequences. It could have been about 15 minutes shorter with less repetition regarding training and needing to tell the audience the group have to band TOGETHER, but there is lots to like about the movie. Is it the movie that catapults Power Rangers into cinematic stratosphere? Unfortunately not, but with the obvious sequels ahead, there’s still a chance.

 

Krispy Kreme.

April 7th 2017

© 2016 Matt Hudson / What I Watched Tonight / Essex

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