Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers The Movie Review

This movie is sometimes dismissed because it is 'non canon,' but I like to think it has its own merit and can stand on its own. I know there is plenty of reviews out there of this movie, some by fans who saw it as kids and no longer follow Power Rangers. I thought I'd take my crack at it since this past month I've been seeing it endlessly because of grand nephew and my parents ban me from showing it to him because he started throwing toys at us and saying 'Hiyah!' He will be 2 in November and he was enthralled by this movie, especially the skydiving sequence (which still astonishes me because I wonder if the whole thing is green screen. I know the part with the actor's faces is).

Construction workers unearth a giant egg containing Ivan Ooze, who Zordon trapped years ago and Lord Zedd releases him. Ivan distract the teens with his oozemen and hurts Zordon and take the Rangers' powers. With Zordon dying, the Rangers are sent to another planet to find a fabled 'Great Power' to save Zordon. Ivan hypnotizes the parents of Angel Grove to dig out his Ectomorphicons while master warrior Dulcea helps the Rangers with animal spirits and giving them ninja suits. The Rangers get the Great Power and gain Ninja Zords, which they use against the Ectomorphicons.

The Positives
Here are the positive aspects of the movie, for one the sets, costumes, and all designs, it all very stylized and shiny and very epic in scale. The music was awesome, Gabrielle Fitzgerald's rocking body, and Zordon's acting was great. Fans are still in love with the costumes, some making green ranger versions of the Ninja suit and Ranger suit. The unique weapons and helmet adjustments were cool too. What I am not crazy about the suits is the two triangles in the back as the original Zyuranger were to be teeth, not just diamonds. Oh, these were positives right? Okay, some great one-liners like "This is going to be one messy night" from Aisha, "Where is my Autograph book? Power Rangers huh? So Zordon still has kids doing his dirty work? Well, meet my kids!" from Ivan, "All the things I've missed, the Black Plague... the Spanish Inquisition... The Brady Bunch Reunion" from Ivan Ooze. Also this exchange from Ivan and Goldar: "Here comes that cute little Pink Ranger." "You think she's cute too?"And from Kimberly---"Tommy, get your butt down here!"

Ivan Ooze is the biggest positive. Fans like to call out that Ivan is the first main villain to fight against a Megazord and it is true, it was fun to see. Also, he was the first villain to not be destroyed by a  finisher and by an outside force... a meteor. Paul Freeman really gave a great performance, he didn't take it super serious and had fun with it. Ivan not only had great lines but he came off as an old Jewish man who has been through stuff and didn't want to put up with a couple of kids.

The Negatives
The one-liners were great and the look of the movie was awesome, but there is some story problems. 1) The Rangers' individual personalities that were iconic form the start seem to be no where to be found here. I understand that Aisha, Rocky and Adam were relatively new to the writers and fans, but they could had at least Billy be the Brains. I feel that the Ninja Quest utilized the Rangers' personalities better. I also think that is the reason Season 3 went down in ratings, because fans, even young ones, felt like they were watching the movie again, that the movie wasn't worth anything. Now one could ask how could the movie be canon and look different and be connected to the series? My own idea would be that the movie didn't have the Ninja Zords or Ninja outfits, but the movie Ninja outfits did look a lot better than the TV ones of course.

The Megazord action I feel like its another failing. The Ninja Zords and Etcomorphicons looked great back when and they still hold up, they look shiny and fun. But the Megazord looks really awkward. This was 1995 and Toy Story had recently come out and the computer graphic imagery was still not perfected. Nowadays with the Transformers movies, this could had look a lot better with the right budget. Sentai uses CGI but in a very less-detailed colorful way. Even the graphics in this movie looked to be meant to be more sophisticated than the CGI used for zords from Sentai footage.

 My Take
I loved the night sequence of the Rangers fighting the Oozemen, I think the movie should had been more like that. It reminded me of the first TMNT movie, how gritty it was but still appropriate for kids. Like I said (even though I like the Ninja Zords and costumes), maybe to be in tune with not being canon, it shouldn't had introduced the Ninja Zords. I understand they needed to get rid of the Rangers so Ivan could take out his robots, but it would had been nice for the Rangers to be 'powerless' at home and try using their wits. This could had opened up to more Bulk and Skull and more character work. Also it would had been great to see flashbacks of Ivan Ooze and Zordon. I think this was, in a way, a missed opportunity to delve into the mythology of Power Rangers like Rita and Zordon. There was the PR bible but aspects were never really explored. 

We knew Rita trapped Zordon in his time warp and he trapped her, but how did she get the Green Power Coin? And so on and so forth. With the introduction of Ivan Ooze, it seemed like Zordon's only gimmick was trapping bad guys in containers. What I am basically saying is that it could had been semi-canon, but of course they had to sell toys. In books based on the movie and the original script, Pheabos was the planet Zordon and Ivan fought on. Also there was a lot of scrapped footage: the Rangers originally fought rats, Dulcea had the Rangers actually train, Dulcea had a buddy named Snoogle and their animal spirits visited them at night when they were in their sleeping bags. The Dulcea footage was scrapped because Martiza Hartigay was in them and they couldn't reshoot. I don't know if those elements would had 'helped' the movie, but even with its weaknesses, I still like watching it.

Final Thoughts
All in all, it is a great fun movie any fan can enjoy. Non-fans and adults over 40 don't get it and see it as a mess, but it is a pretty straight-forward movie. Six heroes needed to save their mentor and went on a trip to save him. I, unlike other fans did like Morton, he had his own mystery around him even thought there wasn't much to him, just comic relief. It is also the only Tokusatsu hero movie in epic scale to be longer than an hour. Sentai movies are great (most of them around an hour long) but never made for this much money nor this grand of scale.


LUKE said...

Did Zyuranger did movie?

Alex said...

Great review, like you said people are too quick to dismiss the movie. It's a lot of fun and Ivan Ooze was a fantastic villain, one of my favourites from PR in general.

The Megazord fight, while incredible dated now, still gives me tingles when I see it.

Lavender Ranger said...

come to think of it, besides what I said, the megazord sequence gives me tingles like the transformation and when Ooze lets his wings go.