In the past few years Power Ranger fans have had to sit by like scared children as Hollywood went back and forth with what was going to happen to the kids that save the world. The franchise being rebooted is old news having rumors surfacing clear back to as early as 2008. However in 2015 we saw traction take hold after EVERY BODY IN THE WORLD decided to fan-film the franchise... well, not really but there were three released last year which is either absolutely ridiculous, or perfectly sensible depending on how you look at it.
So first of all, let's make sure you don't get confused in thinking one of these guys are the Real Deal McNeal. They aren't. Although one of them totally should be... let's see what you think.
The really cool thing about this fan-film is the fact that David Fielding and Robert Axelrod both reprise their rolls from the 90's. Fielding was the original Zordon from the series and Axelrod was the voice of Zed in the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers movie (1995). Considering their return I would imagine this film is just the same old PR premise with a new crew of kids. And they are new kids as none of the original Ranger characters are written into this film. For instance the Blue Ranger is a chick named Claire.
Directed by Dominick Sivilli, this fan film is one that I have yet to see. Mainly because you can't really find it anywhere... at all. According to their IMDB page the film is completed. What I'm thinking is that the film was probably so bad in the final cut that the cast and crew boycotted the release to the public in order to save their careers they don't really have. Not really, but you have to ask yourself: If the trailer says it's a fan film and there's no way they can make money off of it, then why isn't it out there for free like the other two films I'm about to drop on you?
ZORDON of ELTAR (2015)
I don't have much to say on this one other than I lost interest shortly into the film, but managed to make it through all 50 minutes. (okay, like 46 minutes) I have a feeling that M.M.P.R. might be a better film, but I'm ranking Zordon of Eltar above it for the simple fact that you can actually watch it. That's the entire film linked above.
UPDATE: This film is getting harder to find as many channels are being forced to remove it. Below you watch the entire film with a disclosure at the beginning informing of the copyright owners.
This one fucking rocks. Hands down, without a doubt the best of the three, and possibly my favorite fan film ever made. It takes the Power Rangers and ages them accordingly. Then it gets violent. And I mean violent. Rangers get assassinated, conspiracies come to a head, we get Bulk and Skull, and most importantly, in my opinion, Carla Perez reprises her roll as Rita Repulsa. I'm not going to ruin anything, so just watch it. It's well worth the 15 minute investment.
Joseph Kahn Directed and co-wrote the film with James Van Der Beek, who also plays Rocky. (Rocky replaced Jason in Season 2 and appeared in the 1995 film as the Red Ranger) The cinematography is stunning, the effects above par for anything you would ever expect from a fan film, and the story line is actually well played. It may only be 15 minutes but this is a true short film that stands alone. It is important to acknowledge the backslash in the title here as the official reboot has the exact same title.
POWER RANGERS (2017) The REAL DEAL
So here we are, the official stuff. The Power Rangers movie is happening with a release date of March 24th 2017 at this time. Dean Israelite (Project Almanac) is set to direct with writing partners Ashley Miller and Zack Stentz (X-Men First Class, Thor) crafting the screenplay and story. So far the only hint of what that will be is from the IMDB page that sates:
A group of high-school kids, who are infused with unique superpowers, harness their abilities in order to save the world.
Sooooo, pretty much a reboot entirely. Which is fine. There's a whole new generation that this is being handed off to. At best I see us getting a PG-13 rating with a few scenes that play to the original American audience. We won't see the intense violence I've heard so much complaining about, nor should we really want it. When I hear a grown man saying things like, "God, they're going to make this Power Rangers movie for kids!"...Uh, yeah. The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers were always for kids. The best we can do is appreciate the material and hope that it's done well.
Another complaint I've heard is the casting, which I'm actually completely on board with. If you recall the original film from the 90's, there were major changes to characters. Zack, Trini and Jason were all written out of the show prior to the movie over rumored financial quarrels with the production company. If you can recall, it was also poorly done using mashed together clips and voiceovers to desperately try and mask the fact that three of the main actors were no longer there. The reason I note this is because there are suppose to be major changes to the Rangers, but unlike the original film, all main characters (Jason, Zack, Kimberly, Trini, and Billy) will be back in action.
Here are the casting announcements as of right now:
RITA REPULSA: Elizabeth Banks
The biggest news to hit the public as of late is the casting of Elizabeth Banks as the lead villain Rita Repulsa. This was just announced in the last week so there's not a lot of information out there other than she's all in for the part. I've heard a lot of people saying that this casting move makes them hopeful for the entire film, and maybe for the villains that might be true. However, all five main rangers have already been cast.
RED RANGER: Dacre Montgomery
He hasn't done much so we really don't have a lot to go from, but his past hints more toward comedy. He recently filmed A Few Less Men which was a follow up to the comedy A Few Best Men. The one thing I will give him is that if Jason is suppose to be in high school then I think we're on the right path as I'm sure he can look the part.
BLUE RANGER: RJ CYLER
That's right, the first sign that the new Rangers will be different. If you ever watched the original Power Rangers there was something the producers did that always struck the audience as... racist. Obviously I'm talking about Zack and Trini the black and yellow rangers who were cast as Black and Asian actors. It doesn't matter what color the actor is, and it's evident that the new direction sees it that way as well. This makes me so happy in so many ways.
Cyler previously had his breakout roll as Earl in Me, Earl and the Dying Girl and is currently filming a television series Vice Principals. If you haven't checked his work out yet, give it a chance. He's a promising young actor.
PINK RANGER: Naomi Scott
As a kid I was head-over-heels in love with Kimberly. Looks like that isn't going to change anytime soon. Scott recently starred opposite Matt Damon in The Martian, (Starred is a very strong word, her role was very small) and also appeared in The 33. She is the only Ranger cast that is already well on her way to A list films.
BLACK RANGER: Ludi Lin
Ludi Lin is a Chinese-Canadian actor born in Fuzhou, China. He hasn't done much as of yet with his acting career. At first I thought he was a martial artist. Given that the Power Rangers rely heavily on the craft to fight their villains and the fact that he hadn't really done any acting. However to my knowledge none of the cast members have any martial arts training...
So then I thought maybe he was a model, but found that he appeared in several short films before landing a minor roll in Monster Hunt. This will be his first major film roll at the young age of... 28. Totally high school.
YELLOW RANGER: Becky G.
This casting choice was an interesting one to me. Becky G is a performer. She sings and dances and was discovered via Youtube. She has performed on a large stage multiple times appearing on The X Factor, Nashville and Empire. She even sang in The Smurfs 2. So... you know, she's done her time and I feel she's earned a shot at being a Power Ranger. Not to mention the fact that if you can hardcore dance, you can totally get the martial arts down.
As of right now these are the only cast members that have been announced. I would assume that Bulk and Skull will be next as well as some other villains. If we're going to get Rita, hopefully we're going to get Goldar because he was awesome. Squat and Baboo would be a nice addition as well since a lot of the rumors bouncing around say that Lord Zedd will be MIA in this film.
Since they cast new Rangers and a new Rita it's not too far off to assume that Zordon and Alpha Five will also be recast. I think we sometimes forget just how many characters there really are in that universe. And we obviously don't want another Spider Man 3 where everyone is fighting each other for screen time. I think it's safe to say that we will probably be getting a trilogy installment that's going to go on long into the future.
There's still one thing that matters to me more than anything else....
The GREEN RANGER
He was always my favorite. He had the coolest zord, the coolest outfit and Tommy was a total badass. By all accounts he was THE Power Ranger in my mind. Only the Green Ranger could transition into the White Ranger and still be just as awesome. I'm not even really sure that the GR will be in the new film as there have been firm talks about this being the origin story. If you were a fan of the original series then you may remember that when Tommy was first introduced, he was actually a bad guy.
Tommy was a transfer student that caught the eye of Rita Repulsa who in turn, gave him a dragon coin and the Sword of Darkness allowing him to transform into the Green Ranger. With his Dragon Shield he is stronger than all the other Rangers making Rita's spell over him all the more powerful. In the end Tommy messes everything up for the Rangers sending Zordon away, planting a virus in Alpha 5 and destroying their entire home bass. Obviously he's a good guy in the end, but I have a feeling that if we see him in Power Rangers, he's going that route. Not to mention they could pull it off better than the series did.
However, part of me feels like I'm going to go see this film, they're going to introduce the Green Ranger and keep his identity a mystery, then they'll make his story work flawlessly and right when we see the light at the end of the tunnel he removes his helmet to reveal: Jason David Frank....again. If that happens I will laugh so hard in the theatre that I won't even care when I have to leave for disturbing the other audience members.
ALSO, who could possibly play Zordon? Alpha 5 isn't too much of a reach to replace as he was just a voice, but who will be the new face of the Rangers? For some weird reason I have this feeling in my gut that they're going to go after Andy Serkis. He is probably the top facial actor in the business today, so I could totally support the hell out of that. As far as Alpha, I just hope they don't CGI every single aspect of him. I think practical effects are what made him work in the original series. Has Star Wars taught us nothing?
So there you have it...what we know about the ACTUAL Power Rangers movie. (The above picture is NOT associated with the film...I just like his re-do for the 20th anniversary.) Now that the ball has started to roll on casting villains I would imagine that we will only see more actors popping up on the IMDB page over the next few months. Filming is suppose to begin this Spring.
Until then, let's just remember the old days....
Before they would attack, these five always made sure to let the enemy know that they had put in the work... with a majestic, semi-symmetrical pose. No one wanted to tango with any high schooler who had been coached this well in the art of show.
AND OF COURSE: PUTTY PATROL
For more on the Power Rangers feel free to check out the latest episode on our Youtube channel where we also discuss ALIEN: COVENANT and the exit of Quentin Tarantino from the world of film.
If you've heard something that we haven't, feel free to let me know in the comments. Thanks for reading!