“Morphenomenal Excitement”

July 15, 2016

Two hundred and fifty two days from now Power Rangers will return to theaters with Saban’s Power Rangers Movie. This will be a brand new beginning for Power Rangers, as the movie creates a whole new universe. So I wanted to take some time to explain why I am throughly excited for this new chapter.

Let’s go back to the beginning. This movie started out with the goal I feel Saban Brands has had since buying the franchise back. I think Saban wanted to relaunch Power Rangers for a vast audience. The show, no matter how well written, directed or acted, will still always be seen as a children’s show that is made to sell a toy line. A show that is, for better or worse, shackled to Sentai footage. This new movie universe does not have that. This film is being made for audiences young and old. It’s being made based off of the general esthetics and ideas of Mighty Morphin & Zyuranger, but now reimagined and modernized. This is going to be a film about characters with depth and real lives, and how they must learn to come together to save the world.    

The press for the actors came first. Now while the announcements did originally focus on the actors being linked to their Ranger designation, that quickly changed as Saban Brands confirmed the names for these teens would be the new Mighty Morphin teens. From that point forward, the focus became the actor playing the teen, not the colorful suit they’d be wearing.  Even the first group cast photo focused on teens and gave no link to the Ranger suits or powers, or even any sign of any Morphers. Now the SanDiego Comic Con Character Posters that came out just this week, while featuring the color of each Ranger actor, still focus on the character. Saban Brands wanted to make sure everyone knew that this cast were playing characters, not just costumed heroes made to sell action figures.

The reveal of the logo left some underwhelmed. I can understand. However, for me I like it. There’s a cool simplicity about the logo and lightning bolt. It has a nice polished steel or metal look to it. I think this design is meant to separate it from the series. For years we’ve practically always had the same lightning bolt and Power Rangers text, just with some minor tweaks or additions. The Mighty Morphin logo was unique, mostly due to the four word title. Still, this movie logo gives a new feel for the Power Rangers.

Elizabeth Banks being cast as Rita Repulsa for the first major attention grabber. Granted Ms Banks has all ready been in another movie series from Lionsgate, but still having her attached to the movie does bring in some weight. Then came the reveal of the Rita costume. This was the first indication of how different from the show this movie is going to be. Instead of a wacky and over-the-top villain, this Rita does have a look of evil to her. There’s grit in her in look, and a feeling of dark power. What can’t be missed is her color. I believe the choice to make Rita’s outfit green with gold talons was made future movies in mind. I have no doubt the Green Ranger will tie more directly to Rita than the show did. From Ms Banks, to the Rita suit, to the color choices, it all helps show that Saban Brands is not only putting plenty of effort into this movie, but wants it to succeed and bring about sequels.

The movie hype hit a division point when the Ranger suits were finally revealed. Now I never expected the movie to keep the team in spandex suits, especially after seeing how Rita’s costume turned out. These new suits fit what I had hoped for. In the news release they were explained to be alien technology that grows over the bodies of the teens. When I look at these suits I see that. Yes, I do see the Iron Man influence, but it’s not like Iron Man hasn’t influenced other series (just look at newest Cybermen designs in Doctor Who). I’m especially intrigued by the space like diamond on their chests. It almost gives the feeling like their powers are linked not just to some Morphin Grid, but a whole cosmos of powers. Now could the helmets be a bit more distinguishable? Yes. Are there aspects of the female costumes that could have been…better executed? Probably so. Nevertheless, I still really like these suits. Just by looking at them, you know they are Power Rangers.

Bryan Cranston having been cast Zordon was massive. Think about it for a second. Bryan Cranston. Mr. Breaking Bad himself. An actor with a great deal of recognition, respect and awards. Mr. Cranston has enough clout to where he can take or leave any offer presented to him. He has stated that when he was first given the opportunity of being Zordon, he was skeptical. He recalled Mighty Morphin being corny and cheesy, which it was. However, after reading the script Mr. Cranston took the film seriously and took on the role. He has stated that he would not have accepted the role if the script had not been good. In a later interview he tried to explain how different the film is going to be from it’s 90’s series originator. He said it’s going to be like The Dark Knight. Now to be clear, and he too clarified this point, Mr. Cranston did not mean the Power Rangers Movie was going to be dark, serious and gritty like The Dark Knight. Instead, he meant that the film was going to be vastly different from the original series. Much like how the Adam West Batman series was corny, but The Dark Knight was a modern and serious take. Still, it further solidifies the fact that Saban is taking the movie seriously, and wants it to focus on character, and not just flash & bang.

After the Zordon announcement came the teaser poster. Look at the poster once more, and you’ll notice no sign of suits, Zords, Morphers or anything that people usually think of when you mention Power Rangers. The only remotely Power Rangers icon in the poster is the movie’s lightning bolt, composed of the stars in the sky. Besides that, the poster’s focus is our cast’s silhouette. Not the Ranger suits, but the teens that become the heroes. It would have be so easy for the first teaser to take the simple & expected route of Ranger suits. Instead they wanted to continue to prove that this is a movie about characters, not colorful suits and Dino Zords. But the teens were not the only focus of the teaser poster.

Together We Are More. That is the message Saban Brands has chosen to link to the movie. Not, “It’s Morphin Time” or “May the Power Protect You”. No, the key message for the movie is about working together to become more. Teamwork has always been one of the main messages for Power Rangers, and now the movie is making it the central message. But it’s not just about a fictional team coming together. It’s been stated that these five teens will not automatically be friends in the film. They will all have their differences and unique qualities, and only by learning to accept all these can they grow and function as a team to help save the world. We are going to see five unique individuals learn to overcome & overlook the qualities that divide them, and instead focus on what unites them. In today’s world, where so many things seek to divide us, shouldn’t we find hope in the message of “Together We Are More”. It is not just a lesson that applies to Power Rangers, or kids, or nerds. It’s a lesson for us all.

Just 252 more days and Power Rangers will return to the big screen. I’m very excited for this. From everything that has been shown, I’m loving it. I know there are some that are not as excited, or that do not feel this film warrants the hype it is receiving, and I can respect that. I admit that there is always going to be some optimistic bias from me. However, I will also admit that should the film not perform that well, I will call a spade a spade and offer my views in where it fell short. Until that time though, I’m going to maintain my optimistic hopes.



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