[REVIEW] Power Rangers

Photo credit: Kimberley French

With a change of faces and a brand new look, Power Rangers (2017) returns in a wave of nostalgia. This live action installment serves as a reboot and reimagining of the popular 90s TV series, and is a definite must-see for every millennial baby. It elicits vivid childhood memories of the earworm “Go Go Power Rangers” theme song (which I felt should be prolonged in the movie) while allowing us to engage in childish banters as to who gets to be the pink ranger (and leader of the team).

The movie begins with a typical high school teenage drama of five delinquents who stumbled (by chance?) into a mystical territory, only to discover a buried spaceship and a realm of the unknown. We all know what happens to them next: they’re infused with super powers and then tasked to save the world.

This time, their enemy comes in the form of Rita Repulsa (Elizabeth Banks), a former Power Ranger, who launches an assault on earth with an army of stone golems (called, er, Putty Patrollers) and Goldar, a giant golden creature. Those familiar with the TV series will recall Zordon, the Power Rangers’ mentor, who also appears in the film.

Like any superhero action film, despite the simple one-dimensional plot – to save humanity and redeem themselves – the film isn’t without flaws with its jumpstarts and unclear transitions. The rather uninspiring creation of the Goldar, who appears to belong to the mystical world of Middle Earth than outer space, only serves to accentuate how impressive the Megabots have “morphed” over the decades, with greater power, technology and aesthetics.

Photo by Kimberly French

Whilst Rita Repulsa – Zordon’s archenemy –  delivers a sinister performance, it is thrusting the most socially awkward yet hilarious (the Blue ranger played by RJ Cyler) into the limelight that breathes some fresh perspective into the movie. It sends off the message that being abnormal is the new norm.

Certain parts of the film did provide good comic relief, especially in the “Krispy Kreme” scene involving a car full of nuns. Overall, there was a good mix of character development, action and visual effects with a pacing that’s not too draggy.

While the 5 teenagers seemed to be chosen by coincidence, they share one commonality: they’re all troubled juveniles. It seems that being social outcasts is a prerequisite archetype for superheroes these days, and the film’s message is simple: to overcome adversity or seek redemption, one has to realise the universal importance of teamwork, love and tolerance.

Review by Chong Yin Min.

Power Rangers is screening in cinemas near you from 23 March 2017.