The realism of Power Rangers, compared to a lot of cartoons I watched as a child, added this very aesthetically pleasing mystique that kept my eyes glued to the television as a young child. The sense of watching something that was live action (like a Jackie Chan or Bruce Lee movie) as a child gave me an “adult” feeling and made me feel cool. And having been reintroduced to it a couple of months ago I went off and watched the entire seasons of Power Rangers SPD, RPM, and Lightspeed Rescue with the same jubilant feeling like I was a child again. In my head, I really thought that Power Rangers has all the makings for a television show targeted to adult audiences (the same way how World Wrestling Entertainment found a fundamental demographic in children and not just the teens and adults).
This thought first got planted in my head when “Power/Rangers Short Film” got spread around on YouTube. The video itself was quite edgy and violent. Although this is not a problem for me in particular, the video is way more saturated with the violence than actual Power Ranger story telling. The video only seemed to use the franchise as a coat of paint to give the video an attractive look but had none of the substance that the original series had. But to be fair, the video’s concept of using the series is to project how the “Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers” would have looked in the future but capitalize more of the live action platform they were making it on. But at least for me this was not a so great concept and I would rather see a film adaptation of the series as a whole. Fortunately, this is what the 2017 “Power Rangers” film is giving us: new characters with the same names and a much better back story. According to the most recent trailer, the rangers are the unpopular kids in school who end up befriending on another. They go out on an adventure and find colored rocks that give them superpowers. And like the original series, Rita Repulsa seek to kill the rangers and it is the rangers’ job to stop her alien invasion on their hometown of Angel Grove. That’s it. The movie’s relatively low-key exposure creates a lot of speculation of how well the franchise will be utilized in the film. But with Haim Saban (basically the father of the Power Rangers franchise) hopefully in charge of production, I’m sure that the integrity of the original series will be retained (sans the power suits which in my opinion look a lot better and gives the movie a little hint of sci-fi). And with that being said there a couple things the movie needs if it’s going to be a success: not just for the Power Ranger series holistically but for it to be a good film altogether.
1. The movie needs to flesh out each of the rangers individually.
With the massive exception of “Power Rangers RPM” (which is a must watch for anyone who is fan of the sci-fi genre) all the main protagonists from each series seem to have no personality aside from the fact that they’re a ranger and they kick massive butt and that’s about it (not to say every series is like this). I have no idea how long the run time is for the movie altogether but despite of how long director Dean Isrealite and the production team decide to make the movie there is time to make each ranger their own person. According to the Wikipedia page it seems that they’re deciding to cast parents for each of the rangers which is fantastic! Since Power Rangers is directed towards kids, it’s logical to have the entire show to be saturated with just fighting and the big MegaZords and weapons (because as much as I love Power Rangers, I cannot deny that the franchise is just one big action figure commercial). But now that Haim Saban is working on a completely different platform and is aware that their main demographic are going to be the older and more hardcore fans of the franchise there are changes to be made. Again the parents are a great choice since the father and mother figures can say a lot about the upbringings of the rangers and their personalities individually. This can help the audience care more about the rangers as they carry the baggage of their familial problems through school and the field of battle when they do become rangers.
2. The movie needs better fight sequences.
The fight sequence is a staple in every Power Ranger episode but sometimes their done in a quite silly fashion. The original “Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers” (with the exception of the red ranger Jason) was not necessarily a team of experienced and legit fighters. So when they fight villains without their power suits it just seems very unnatural for a regular human to be beating up, what are supposedly, dangerously skilled minions just because they are told they are a ranger. The movie does a good job in giving the rangers superpowers to give them some legit abilities in the field of battle. I would say have the rangers come out without a clue on how to fight without their power suits and then once they have the suits on (like the last scene in the recent trailer) have them have the ability to fight for real. Sort of like the Iron Man suit, have them be able to detect everything with it on thus giving the rangers more of a reason to morph (and the reason here is important since the original series only had the suits exist for pure aesthetic appeal). Without the suits, the rangers should be fearful freaks of nature but with the suits on, they become superheroes being able to bring safety to their hometown Angel Grove. The suits can really do a lot not only for making the fight sequences more logical but can also do a lot for character development. Being bullied in school, having the characters know that they can tap into this powerful alter ego can give them confidence to through life and make them less scared.
3. The movie needs to nod to the original series.
With a movie like this, people are going to damn well know that the main demographic are the fans of the franchise (and I’m pretty sure that it’s these people that made the movie possible). And with this being said it’s also a given that we’re going to need more than just another movie. “Deadpool” wasn’t just another movie but it was a Deadpool fanatic joyride that took us through the reasons why loved Deadpool. The edginess, the fourth wall breaks, the references to the awful Hugh Jackman Wolverine franchise depiction of Deadpool in addition to the reference to Ryan Reynolds’s time as the Green Lantern made us love the movie. Not to say that the film needs to be completely saturated with the “Power Rangers” references, but I’m saying that a few would help. Maybe have a kid in the film play with a set of Power Ranger toys to make fun of the fact that the franchise was pretty much a big toy commercial. Maybe have a Jason David Frank (the original green ranger) cameo in the Power Rangers movie to draw parallels to Stan Lee’s cameos in the Marvel movies since Jason is a big icon in the Power Ranger franchise. This, although may not be an integral part of carrying the plot, will definitely help the audience stomach the film if it turns out to be a film to be worse than expected.