Let's get this straight. Power Rangers is for children. They're an infantile conception of friendship and power fantasy, coded by neat primary colors to boot. Oh and if that wasn't enough, they're all dinosaurs too! No matter how much we treasure the brand, or how much we anticipate the upcoming reboot, Power Rangers lives and dies on the curiosity and enthusiasm of children. That's totally fine, and the hoards of adults looking forward to this movie are right to do so. There's just one element threatening this new iteration of Power Rangers.
Even in a world where The Avengers, Pacific Rim, and Furious 7 can capture the pop-culture zeitgeist within the span of a couple years, there still pervades the idea that stuff must attain at least a degree of seriousness before it appears on the big screen. Adapting an anime? Make it more plausible. Adapting a comic book? Make it plausible. Adapting a beloved Saturday morning kids show from the early 90s? Well how are audiences supposed to know this is a big deal if it isn't plausible?
You'd think Power Rangers would be immune to this infectious attitude; just look at the original Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers movie! However, with director Dean Israelite's promise that the movie will be "mature but playful", there's the worry this film could be yet another victim of dour Hollywood adaptation. Still, let's look on the bright side. Just how could the Power Rangers reboot be "mature" in a fun and compelling way?
High School Drama!
Now I'm aware that these three words seem like poison to anyone into frivolous, consequence-free sci-fi fun, but the inner lives of the central characters will need to be shown off if we're to connect with them. The original movie had the benefit of carrying over characters from the TV show, but this upcoming movie will have no such privilege. Stupid high school drama can work in a fantastical setting if done right. Just look at something like Buffy the Vampire Slayer. So long as the characters are compelling and believable, and "finding dates to the prom" doesn't get in the way of saving the universe, we should be fine.
Actually getting the stakes right is something big budget Hollywood tends to goof up. Often raising the bar is simply seen as a case of scale. Did a moon-sized space ship threaten to destroy the Earth in the last movie? No biggie! Just use a planet-sized space ship this time around! This obviously wouldn't work in Power Rangers, given that almost every episode involved some galactic threat anyway. What the audience needs to care is for the characters themselves to care. No, we don't need everyone's parents to be killed, but just for our on-screen inserts to be genuinely engaged with what they're doing.
This will be tricky to follow for the denizens behind the Power Rangers movie. It's hard to be nudge nudge wink wink when your audience has been nudging themselves for over twenty years. Just how do you approach a project like this? Many tongue in cheek products go so far that they end up seeming ashamed of themselves. The Power Rangers movie simply needs to know how goofy and stupid it appears on the outside, and own it. It needs to enjoy how dumb it's source material is, for any effort to sweep it under the rug will just appear disingenuous.
Well executed action
As the old adage written by no one once said "if your movie can't impress anyone, just throw a bunch of action at them". Okay so maybe we shouldn't think that cynically, but it's true that, if the action and choreography in a movie is pulled off well, the audience will look right past many aspects of narrative and tone. Imagine The Raid without the action. Imagine John Wick without the action. You can't, because they don't exist without it! The fight choreography in the original Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers was at least lovingly constructed, and in a world where a director like Edgar Wright can make anyone look like Bruce Lee, surely this project has a shot!
Catch more on the Power Rangers Remake right here! What are your thoughts, hopes and fears for this upcoming iteration of the Power Rangers? Let us know with a post on MoviePilot, by voting in our poll, or by leaving a comment below!