Sneering at arbitrary sequels, reboots, remakes, or the ever ambiguous "reimaginging" is about the easiest thing a modern blockbuster enthusiast can do. "They made it too dark", "they dumbed it down", "why does this even need a sequel?" These are all legitimate complaints, but they've been made so so many times before. They are all rendered strangely moot by Saban Entertainment's upcoming attempt to reimagine Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers.
The choice to redo Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers rather than one of many other Series to broadcast in the last 20 years is clearly an attempt to reconnect with what a general audience thinks Power Rangers is. That original image of useless mouths, ever so slightly square heads, and those EXACT hues of red, yellow, blue, pink and black are where our minds go to.
No matter how many iterations of Power Rangers we're given over the years, Mighty Morphin' still defines the image. This is what makes Power Rangers such a strange thing to reboot. It never went away. This isn't like Star Trek where the iconography is brought back for the masses and the story for a starved fan base. The Power Rangers fandom has been rejuvenating itself ever since the show began... because it's made of children. Why is that? Well...
Power Rangers is For Children
This might be a hard pill to swallow for original fans expecting a movie tailored exactly for them. Power Rangers was created, and has always been made for children. Y'know, those small people with lesser developed brains whose outlook on the world hasn't been ravaged by internet cynicism? There's nothing at all wrong with an adult being into Power Rangers, in fact, I think this new movie is banking on it. That said, the best a hardcore fan can hope for is a fun hybrid that can be enjoyed by everyone a la Pacific Rim.
At worst, it could suffer from...
The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Effect
This is the name of a phenomenon I invented just now in order to fit with the point I'm making. The most recent venture of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is an example of what happens when a property with original fans well into their thirties tries to win them over along with an entire generation of new viewers. Instead of creating a story that could be enjoyed by all, the film dealt with forms and figures that were split between the two demographics. Kids love talking animals and dumb jokes, the adults love booming soundtracks and SWAT teams... apparently.
The attempt to mush two distinct tones into what was essentially a kids movie weakened the entire product. Imagine if Power Rangers attempted the same thing? Actually, wait. You don't have to!
This (sort of) fan film exhibits what the original Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers would look in a world full of violence, swearing and mature content that we apparently love so much. No high school, no Bulk and Skull, no brightly lit town with architecture that suddenly looks suspiciously Japanese once the Rangers morph.
This fan short is well acted, and has impressive production values (the exact opposite of what the original show had), but the Power Rangers are defined by colour and hoakiness. If a modern audience won't take it seriously without blood, grit and cuss words, then it's that audience that should be at a loss. Could you imagine a monochrome power rangers? I can't think of anything sadder. There might, however, be a better way to reconcile the vast age gap between demographics.
Take Power Rangers Back to the 90s!
Power Rangers is already more 90s than my own childhood. Would it not exhibit the most confidence to simply play unapologetically to how most people conceive of Power Rangers? This is the one case where it's fine to say "it's okay, the kids won't know the difference!"
The most encouragement I can give to Saban Entertainment is that they don't actually have that much to live up to. I don't mean to trash the original Power Rangers, but lets just say this new project doesn't exactly have the same task of living up to quality as Star Wars. Saban and Lionsgate will be in a position of artistic freedom if we can just admit that the first Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers wasn't that great, except the bit where a lady turned into an owl. That was choice!