Director: Dean Israelite
Starring: Dacre Montgomery, Naomi Scott & RJ Cyler
Synopsis: A group of high-school students, who are infused with unique superpowers, harness their abilities in order to save the world.
Rating: 12A Duration: 121 minutes Release date: 31 July (UK)
For reasons as yet unknown, it was deemed necessary by someone to deliver a Power Rangers film in 2017. Sure, the original TV show was fun, especially if you are of a certain age and remember it as the ideal Saturday morning TV show. Quite why we need a reboot now is beyond me, but nevertheless, Power Rangers 2017 is a film that sits squarely in the middle. It’s not particularly bad nor is it very good and sits on the proverbial fence being truly average.
Much like the TV show from the 1990’s, Power Rangers focuses on five teenagers who must come together in order in to save their home town of Angel Grove from the evil clutches of Rita Repulsa (Elizabeth Banks). To do this, they must learn to get along and train with each other before they can morph and become the Power Rangers, thus defeating Rita. As far as plots go, it’s a fairly simple one of disgraced/outsider/loner/nerd having to overcome their fears and social parameters, with the added excitement of becoming superheroes too. The tone, shifts as it does, feels like someone thought mixing The Breakfast Club with Chronicle would strike gold. The idea never quite works though and the film meanders along, never sure of itself or its purpose.
It’s an admirable decision to want to launch, or in this case relaunch, a franchise based around a group of wannabe superheroes. In a world filled with superheroes of all shapes, sizes and genders your film needs to be something special to break the mould and garner an audiences attention. Why then, with the likes of Iron Man, Spider-Man, Wonder Woman and the X-Men would you want to go see a Power Rangers film at the cinema or, as per this review, at home? Nostalgia is surely the most popular answer. Certainly this reviewer wanted to don the rose tinted spectacles and get ready for a revitalised Saturday morning adventure, but who knew that would be it’s own downfall? Because when it is all said and done, Power Rangers feels like an extended episode from the TV show, only with a larger budget. It’s safe and harmless and is never daring or willing to take a risk with director Dean Israelite feeling like nothing more than a safe pair of hands to guide the early days of the cinematic franchise.
Despite feeling of annoyance and an altogether massive shrug of the shoulders, Power Rangers saves itself because it’s bang average. Something it had no right to be. The acting is capable and the new teenagers are, for the most part, genuinely likeable. Dacre Montgomery’s Red Ranger is very much the cheaper Zac Efron, while Naomi Scott and RJ Cyler provide backup as the Pink and Blue Rangers while Ludi Lin and Becky G complete the team as the Black and Yellow Rangers. They have the teenage funk down and represent the millennial generation better than the original Rangers represented children of the 90’s. Their only downfall is being criminally underwritten. The jock, the cheerleader, the nerd, the now gay character and the, well I’m not really sure what the Black Ranger’s quirk is meant to be. There are elements introduced here that seem brave, we have one gay and one autistic character, but these are more oddities or grooves to be flattened out and no sooner are they introduced than they are forgotten. The action, when it finally arrives is fun to watch and Elizabeth Banks is clearly having a great time chewing the scenery as the films big bad. Only Bryan Cranston is sadly wasted as a floating head and former Red Ranger; Zordon.
Without wishing to repeat myself, it all boils down to being a film unwilling to let loose. There is a lot of time spent milling around and leaving the audience to wonder if anything will actually happen. The time spent getting to where we end up could have been achieved in 90 minutes or so and lack of ambition aside, the films general lethargy is its biggest problem and audiences will likely sigh with relief once it’s over.
- Audio commentary with director Dean Israelite and writer John Gatins
- The Power of the Present
- Deleted, alternate and extended scenes
- Trailer with commentary by Dean Israelite