While I haven’t watched the Power Rangers show (outside of the DVD sets I’ve reviewed) in quite a few years, there’s always a part of me that enjoys the action and giant robot battles the series brings. When I heard about a darker, more serious version of the infamous franchise coming to the big screen, I was a bit eager to see how it would turn out. Thanks to our friends at Lionsgate, now I have, with the Power Rangers Blu-ray that captures what fans like about the show but also has plenty of flaws that keep it from being as powerful as it could’ve been.
Enter Jason Scott (Dacre Montgomery), the all-star quarterback at Angel Grove High School who has a tendency for doing dumb things, such as pranking a rival school that lands him in detention after getting caught by police. It’s here that he comes across other troubled teens such as Kimberly Scott (Naomi Scott) who cyberbullied a friend, and Billy Cranston (RJ Cyler) who gets picked on for being smart and autistic. After saving Billy from the local school bully, Jason becomes friends with him and they go to a nearby mining site where Billy’s father used to work. It’s here that the last two members, Trini (Becky G) and Zack (Ludi Lin) come into the picture as Billy sets off some explosives at the mining site in order to dig up some things which in turn uncovers some alien power coins they take before evading the security there. Waking up the next day, they soon find out they have superhuman strength and durability, leading them to return to the site for answers. They eventually find an alien crash site underwater where the android Alpha Five and his master Zordon (Bryan Cranston) reside. Zordon tells them they’ve been chosen to be the new Power Rangers after he and his team failed to stop Rita (Elizabeth Banks) millions of years ago when she was a ranger and betrayed the others. It now falls on them to stop her from summoning Goldar, a monster of hers that will destroy the planet.
I’ll go into the things I enjoyed with the movie, starting with the more darker, serious tone of it. I did like how it’s not goofy / campy like the TV shows are, and it’s nice to have some people act like the way most teenagers do, from having family issues to dealing with sexuality. I also liked how the new armor and zords looked, as though they were ripped from the Michael Bay Transformers universe (there’s even a scene where they poke at Bumblebee). Now while I liked these things (and the action that comes a little too late in the end), there’s a lot wrong with the film as well. One of the first things I noticed is how the pacing jumps all over the place with no explanation on what’s going on. Sometimes it comes off as bad editing and will make you feel like you missed something or that a scene was edited/removed. While I do like the serious teen angst here, it can be a little overbearing and tends to go on way longer than it should. To put it in perspective, the movie is two hours long, and they don’t become power rangers until the last 30 minutes or so. I get that they wanted to bring viewers some character development, but the bad pacing along with too much time spent on this tends to drag the film down.
It’s not all bad thankfully, as the Blu-ray makes the visuals and audio stand out nicely. This disc has the honor of being the first I’ve seen that features the Dolby Atmos logo which looks and sounds amazing, and the details from the movie look just as awesome as it sounds while watching. There’s also a ton of powerful extras like audio commentary by director Dean Israelite and screenwriter John Gatins as they discuss the making of the movie while also going into the production of it. Then there’s the massive “The Power of the Present” which is a documentary running at over two hours that’s broken into nine parts which go into everything about the film, from the cast sharing their thoughts on both the original shows and this film, to interviews with the cast and crew, the costumes, fight choreography, how this movie compares to the series and more. Rounding out the extras are some deleted scenes that also contain extended and alternate takes on some of the scenes, and lastly some funny outtakes of the cast enjoying themselves while they were shooting the movie.
I really wanted to love the Power Rangers movie, as I hoped it would be the perfect, darker vision I had imagined it would be, but it does only enough to make me like it instead. It does manage to get some of it right, but the rest is a hot mess that will have both fans and those new to the franchise scratching their heads and searching for morphers to transform this into something better.