As an enormous fan of Power Rangers (enormous enough to scar it onto my body forever) when I heard about the forthcoming reboot film, sweet nostalgia flung me back to Saturday mornings in the early nineties. My love for the show and it’s wealth of camp and high adventure has only grown in the 20-some years since it first hit television screens in the summer of 1993. So obviously I hope this reboot does the series justice. Get it, ‘justice’ because superheroes and… So here’s a quick rundown of What I wish we were getting if I had it my way, what I hope we’ll be getting as sort of a bare minimum and what I think we’ll be getting based on what we know about the project and the current film industry.
One thing I feel is often overlooked in cinema today is an emphasis on tone. Tone can make or break a film even if everything else is great. Look at Jupiter Ascending; that movie could have benefited immensely from a change in tone, if they hadn’t taken the rather absurd plot too seriously, it could have been a really fun (albeit cheesy) sci-fi story. The Power Rangers film is no different.
For tone, I see a lot of the fandom clambering for a movie that looks like this…
This is a cool piece of fan art, but does it really fit the idea of Power Rangers? A Tokusatsu show, a genre infamous for giant monsters with poorly-hidden zippers and brightly-colored pyrotechnics? Darkening it a shade or two is just fine with me, but by nature, the idea of Power Rangers is not dark or gritty. It may work for a short film like Power/Rangers, but if you’re going to keep the true spirit of the chromatic crime-fighters, it simply has to be kept somewhat lighter in tone. I wish we were getting something more akin to this…
This to me screams everything that the Power Rangers are about; dynamic, colorful, a sense of adventure. Obviously this is not what I want the team to look like, especially if the filmmakers are adapting the original series, which it appears they are, but this image, I think captures the attitude and the tone of Power Rangers, as I see it at least
I hope that, at the very least, we get a movie with plenty of action and self-awareness. I don’t mean meta-awareness because that can be a tough tightrope to walk and it would probably take up too much screen time. When you try and explain the story, its pretty difficult to do without laughing about it. It’s rather silly, so the characters being too serious, the actors taking the story too seriously, would suck all of the fun out of the story. After all, isn’t that what movies like this are for; escapism and fun?
Now, I think we’ll be getting something in between the two. Between Saban entertainment sighting Lionsgate’s young adult franchises as a selling point for the studio, which are darker in tone, and Director Dean Israelite’s comments about keeping it fun and playful, the film will probably be lighter than say Hunger Games and the Divergent series, but still have some gritty, grounded, PG-13 themes. All in all, I think it will still be cool.
CGI is a wonderful thing when used in conjunction with practical effects. It’s why the original Jurassic Park still holds up; you’ve got your practical puppet, in the same space and with the light hitting it the same way it does the actors and then cut to the more agile, faster-moving CG puppet for an epic shot. If done well, the viewer’s eyes literally can’t tell the difference and sends it to the brain as one entity.
This is what I wish they would do with Power Rangers. Set designers and prop makers love crafting larger-than-life devices and set-pieces, it’s their bread-and butter. Not to mention the above eye-trick that is proven to work. As far as I’m concerned, Hollywood in general could use a whole lot more of this, so obviously it would be cool to see one of my favorite franchises take this approach.
Honestly, I just hope we get some practical effects. I’m already cringing at the idea of seeing fully CG Rangers and zords jumping around a mess of CG backgrounds, but if you watch almost any recent superhero movie, that’s about where we’re at.
So as far as what I think we’re going to get, unfortunately, my hopes are not set very high. In line with the aforementioned trend with today’s big-budget action adventure films, we’re mostly likely going to see at the very least a few scenes of actors wearing practical suits and maybe a set built cockpit built for the zords. Other than that, I think it’ll probably be a Bay-former-esque Thanksgiving feast of CGI.
There’s a lot to cover in this category, so bear with me. When it comes to character design in superhero film, we’ve been getting closer and closer to the original designs. From X-Men’s matrix-leather to Captain America’s cartoonish, spangley suit from the first Avengers film, we’ve seen a whole array of accuracy to and interpretation of the source material. Power Rangers is sort of a tough area. Going straight for the Crayola-colored spandex will probably look far too campy and cartoony, but going too beefy and armored or taking a Guyver-like bio suit route will completely lose the spirit of the source material. The Power Rangers are martial artists, superheroes and mech pilots, there’s plenty to draw from there, but it’s how and where to incorporate these aspects of the Rangers MO that will make or break their design. The design of the Zords is another concern. The skeletal, hyper-detailed Bay-former look is way tired and totally opposite the usual design of Power Rangers, but make it too blocky and it’s not believable as an effective monster-fighter. Then there’s the balance of magic and tech that the original failed to explain. Where is the happy medium in all of this?
If we are indeed getting a remake of the original series, then what I wish for the Ranger’s suits is hard to put into words. I can’t find any fan-art to help illustrate, I can’t draw it myself, but I can see it in my head pretty clearly. I could spend paragraphs trying to describe it, but I doubt anyone wants to read that so I’ll try and sum it up. In a dream I had once (cue harp music), I saw suits very similar to those used in the original 1995 film, but without the weird boob vents and the kidney bean-shaped Red Ranger helmet. The padding/armor was more subtle and the lines were very Young Justice in appearance. The materials used were also less vinyl and foamy and more future plastics and polycarbonate, composite materials (in appearance). Just a design, close to the original, but with a 2017 flavor. As for Zords, it’s tougher to lock down. Big, seamless metal panels with glimpses of the inner workings a bit like Pacific Rim, but with less riveting and human touches. The Zords should look like pieces of tech, but tech that materialized into being, where every piece is the exact size and shape it needs to be to perform its function, not tech that was built by humans with basic materials, or that needs to look like something else. The original series has this weird thing where there is a wizard, but they have super-high-tech robots and tools. It’s weird, but it could work. If the command center in the film could look like it came from Eternia from Master of the Universe, sort of like taking the steampunk method to the extreme where it looks almost like a future imagined by medieval world, but there’re hover vehicles, robots and cyborgs and they use lasers and swords together. Make me a Limestone temple, with a cobblestone console housing super-computer.
I hope we at least get something reminiscent of the original series of they are adapting the story from the first season. I'm hoping we don't get anything too bulky (or Skully, get it, because-I'll stop) and for the love of god, I hope they don't make it some kind of alien skin, bio-suit thing. Just give me a cool, toku-influenced Zord and treat the Magic/Technology aspect delicately.
In all honesty, I find it difficult to predict which direction they'll go, but looking at current trends, I think we're looking at something in the vein of Captain America's suits, particularly from the Avengers films and from Winter Soldier. Which wouldn't be terrible.
This part of the film is where I may have my most unpopular opinions. So I'll keep my wishes brief and possibly write another article about it.
I wish we were getting an all new, original story. One that will better flesh out the canon. We've already got a Mighty Morphin’ Movie, we've got plenty of teams with their own stories. Why not let the screen writers (who are both brilliant) make their own team how they want to make it. Hollywood needs more originality so if you're going to reboot something like Power Rangers, which has scores of self-contained stories, why not call it Power Rangers and make it it's own thing! I'd love to see what the creative team would do with that kind of freedom!
I hope we get something in line with the spirit of the franchise, whether that be a straight adaptation of the original teenagers with attitude or a new group that we can get excited about.
I think it's pretty likely that we'll get an adaptation of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, after all it's what most people identify as the Power Rangers, it's definitely the most popular and will therefore make them the most money, which is really what they're after.
- I wish I had made it in Hollywood in time to make this movie myself
- I hope the movie will be a good movie even if they don't do things exactly how I would because I love this franchise I love good movies
- I think I'm going to go see it regardless, but that it will at least be a fun movie-going experience