Today we have the reboot of Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, the kickass show from my youth. How does it compare to the original? Let's find out.
The story takes place in the town of Angel Grove. High school football star Jason Scott (Dacre Montgomery) has just pulled off the prank of a lifetime. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to be worth it, as it lands him on house arrest and detention for the rest of the school year. While in there, he meets functioning autistic Billy (RJ Cyler) and Kimberly (Naomi Scott). Jason saves Billy from a bully, and Billy quickly convinces him to sneak into the local quarry for some mischief. While there, they meet Zack (Ludi Lin) and Trini (Becky G). Things get hairy, though, when Billy unceremoniously sets off an explosion, uncovering a mysterious...something, including five glowing coins. Security arrives and the teens haul ass, meeting the business end of a train in their attempt to escape.
But, to their shock, each of them wakes up the next day like nothing happened. Not only that, but they seem to have acquired superhuman strength and durability. Wanting to know just what the hell is happening, they return to the quarry and discover an alien ship. There they are greeted by robotic Alpha-5 (Bill Hader) and his master Zordon (Bryan Cranston). Zordon explains the five teens have been chosen to become Power Rangers in order to battle the evil Rita Repulsa (Elizabeth Banks) who has been revived after millions of years under water. To do so, they must learn to morph, but this time it's not as easy as yelling out the name of a dinosaur; their hearts must be in sync. This turns out to be incredibly difficult as each Ranger has serious emotional baggage and they don't know if they can trust one another. Will they be able to get to know one another and form a bond strong enough to ensure the survival of the human race?
I loved Power Rangers as a kid. I watched it religiously with my friends. Back then, I had no idea half of it was recycled footage from a Japanese show. It was all fresh and new to me. I stopped watching it after a while, but never forgot it. Flash forward 20-odd years, and now we have a new incarnation that's all CG. It definitely takes itself more seriously now, which I appreciate, but I think some of the magic is lost without wacky rubber monsters and cheesy dubbed lines (I had similar feelings about the last American Godzilla movie (which, coincidentally, also starred Bryan Cranston). I guess I'll always be a kaiju fan at heart.
So what we have here is a respectable, fun superhero movie with solid acting. Our teen stars deliver quality performances and nail their individual angst. Elizabeth Banks, in particular, really makes us feel as if she's a sinister alien (even if her character is very generic). I don't think this film is as good as the original, but--and I've said it before--nostalgia is a force to be reckoned with.
Nevertheless, if you're a Power Rangers fan, you owe it to yourself to go see this one, especially considering the exciting bonus scene at the end which expertly sets up the sequel. Oh, and as someone with Asperger's, I appreciate the fact they included a character on the Spectrum.