After months upon months of teaser images, set photos and casting announcements, the first trailer for Lionsgate's Power Rangers reboot is here. As deceiving as trailers can be, giving the audience a good first impression is essential to a strong pre-release marketing campaign. Millennials everywhere who grew up with the original show are no doubt waiting with bated breath for the reboot's release. So how did this trailer stack up? Let's just say that you'll be hearing the phrase "don't screw this up," quite a lot in the next few months.
To start off, the whole tone of the teaser is a stark contrast to the original show. The cinematography's low lighting and soft color palette, as well as the ominous soundtrack, paint a completely different setting than the fast-paced excitement that fans of the franchise are used to. It resembles Johnny Depp's Black Mass more than the original Power Rangers.
First, The Character Introductions
The first half of this teaser introduces the teenage characters that will don the morphing suits in the film. From what we can tell, each one has his or her own personal problems to deal with.
The first shot of the trailer shows the Red Ranger, Jason, looking at a wrecked pickup truck. It's heavily implied that he wrecked the car since he seems to question whether or not his dad is keeping the wreckage to remind him of his "screw up." It's also implied that he is at odds with his father and has to go to Saturday school in order to graduate. So it's pretty clear that Jason is a misguided soul who hides behind a troublemaking persona.
As for the other Rangers, they are given much shorter introductions. Zack, the Black Ranger, is shown eating what appears to be a granola bar on top on a roof in the middle of a giant valley, hinting that he's an outsider who works better alone.
Billy, the Blue Ranger, is seen organizing colored pencils and being bullied by perhaps this film's version of Bulk and Skull. He looks to be the studious individual who is constantly picked on.
Meanwhile, both Trini, the Yellow Ranger, and Kimberly, the Pink Ranger, are shown to be on the receiving end of bullying as well. Trini looks in dismay at graffiti saying "DIE UGLY LOSER. NO ONE WILL CARE." Those are some pretty harsh words...well, as harsh as a likely PG-13 movie could get.
Furthermore, Kimberly is mocked by her peers because she always spends her time at school on Saturday instead of sports practice, hinting that she is also a bit of a rebel like Jason. For some reason, Kimberly is also shown cutting her hair, possibly indicating that she wants to breakaway from her "popular girl" clique.
It Heavily Borrows From Other Movies
In a manner remarkably similar to The Breakfast Club, the characters all seem to meet up at a Saturday detention. The scene where Jason's dad lectures him in the car outside the school draws another similarity with that film. It's pretty obvious that the filmmakers took inspiration from it.
After the characters are shown in detention, the teaser suddenly cuts to them stumbling across the power coins, which are portrayed as alien rocks in this film. After this, the teaser plays out like Josh Trank's Chronicle, with a brief glimpse of each character coming to terms with their newfound superpowers. Unlike the source material, the characters retain their powers even when they're not suited up. So what purpose do wearing the suits and helmets have if they don't give the Rangers their powers? Perhaps they are only used to summon the Zords and provide some extra armor. If that's the case, the suits won't be as important as they were in the show, which is bound to disappoint fans.
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But Seriously, Why Tease The Suits If We've Already Seen Them?
After realizing their powers, the Rangers decide to venture back to where they found the power coins to see what else is in store for them. After a montage of assorted clips, the teaser shows what looks to be a dream sequence involving Rita Repulsa (Elizabeth Banks), who looks more like Divatox from Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie than the original Rita Repulsa.
The teaser then ends with the Rangers morphing into their suits, which form like holograms on their bodies. It cuts off halfway through to tease the audience, which is pretty pointless considering we already know what the suits will look like.
Now, this wasn't exactly a bad teaser. It introduced the characters decently and set up the story without giving too much away. If it showed too much of the Power Rangers in their suits, it surely would have been criticized for showing too much of the film so early on. Drawing a resemblance to a classic movie like The Breakfast Club isn't necessarily bad, either. On the other hand, there are quite a few things about this teaser that could rub Ranger fans the wrong way.
So Why Might Fans Be Worried?
Once again, the tone is drastically different from the original show. Sure, it's unlikely that a show as cheesy and light-hearted as Power Rangers would directly translate well as a modern Hollywood blockbuster. At the very least, though, they could have emulated the tone of an Edgar Wright action film. Sure there were a couple of quips and jokes scattered around, but the teaser in general had more of a Fantastic Four vibe to it than a Power Rangers vibe, which wasn't really a good sign. After all, the teaser for Fantastic Four had quips, too, and look how that turned out.
Moreover, there was a brief clip in this trailer that felt pretty troubling. Kimberly is shown kissing Jason, implying a romance between the Pink and Red Rangers. This wouldn't be a problem if they had a prominent romance in the show, but Kimberly and Jason were never romantically involved. Sure, there was a romance planned for Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie, but it was scrapped for unknown reasons. Probably because the writers felt it was disrespectful to force a strong female character like Kimberly into a romantic subplot with someone who is supposed to just be her friend. This, in addition to the sexualized female morph suits and Rita's more revealing appearance just felt retrogressive in a remake that's supposed to be modern. It's like a studio executive chimed in and said: "This is Hollywood; we've gotta have a romance — and objectification!"
This isn't to say the movie doesn't have a chance of being good; a film can still succeed even with unsavory elements. Plus, the fact that Academy Award nominee John Gatins (Flight) penned the script has to mean something.
Overall, it's a safe bet to be cautiously optimistic about this teaser, as it's not the full context of what's to come. Hopefully when this film hits theaters next years, audiences will say "GO GO" instead of "NO NO" to the Power Rangers.