Thursday, February 26, 2015

Lavender Ranger's Editorial: Opinions on Joseph Kahn's Power/Rangers


Recently Joseph Kahn (music video director behind clips like Taylor Swift's "Blank Space" as well as videos for Britney Spears, U2 and others) and Adi Shankar ("The Grey" and "Dredd") released this gritty 12-minute short called Power/Rangers based on the show and starring Katee Sackhoff (Battlestar Galatica) as a blonde Kimberly and James Van Der Beek (Doesn't Trust that B--- in Apt 23) as a Rocky who has turned over to the side of the Machine Empire from Zeo. The short uses a lot of events and characters from Mighty Morphin and Zeo like Rita, Tommy, Trini, Jason, Skull, Billy, and Zack.
In this story, Zack does Hip Hop Kiddo, there is a character named Skull who becomes a real gangster, Kim marries Jason, Trini died (like in real life), Billy is gay (like in real life), and Tommy is pointed to be an enemy. Also, Rocky has a robotic leg, Steven Cardenas injured his leg in real life. I am not crazy about the outfits nor helmets, but it is understandable they have to be different. Other than the great acting and star power from Katee and James, the special effects and tone bothers me. I feel like it is a mix of the complicated robots and rapid action from Michael Bay's Transformers, the Mortal Kombat movies and the bloodiness and tackiness of Robert Rodriguez films. I didn't like the amount of blood nor cursing. They did a good job but Power Rangers and any Tokusatsu has a very thin line of tone.
 Power Rangers RPM did show that Power Rangers can be dark and serious but it balanced comedy. Fan don't want to admit that Power Rangers can be campy, I like camp and I think Power Rangers can be campy and it's okay. I think you have to find a balance. Not go too gritty but you can be serious, as long as you acknowledge the campiness, silliness and comedy. Be tongue in cheek but clever, not just self-referential for the sake of being self-referential like Ninja Storm ("Another quarry?"). Also don't be too tacky. Anyways, it is hard to explain. Also, Saban has pulled the video off Vimeo and might get it off YouTube. Joseph Kahn doesn't like it, as he is not getting any profits. But Saban has powerful lawyers. That's all I have to say. So I hope the new writers for the new Power Rangers take note of this film and the tone.


Gabriel Fontoura said...

Actually, I don't think the film's tone is that bad, and it totally respect the rules of PR and Tokusatsu, considering this particular version was not made for kids, but to grown-up fans who wanted to see a different take on the original. Yes, cursing and blood are far from being my favorite parts, but there are other details that bothered the die-hard fan inside of me even more: A blonde Kimberly, (me, watching the video: KAT'S THE BLONDE ONE, NOT KIMBERLY!) guns and drugs (I read somewhere 15 years ago PR teams were D.A.R.E. ambassadors, right?)

But 3/4 of it made me really satisfied of seeing such a good work coming from "fans". I really liked the suits (in my opinion, I guess they're supposed to be spoofs of the classic spandex and yet look "badass"), but not Tommy's dragon shield. I liked hip-hop kiddo and the action as a whole. The casting was incredibly accurate, and if I'm not wrong, I guess I saw Bulk in the movie at some point. Not to mention my stupid smile when I saw Rita as a truly original-american-made-PR-villain-inspired-by-the-Sentai-counterpart (people always use Zedd when they plan fanfilms, fanfics or any kind of dark stuff using PR universe, sometimes they don't even mention Rita.). The smile turned into an awestruck expression when I realized that Rita was the empress of evil herself (me, watching the credits: CARLA PEREZ?! HOW... WHERE ON ELTAR THEY FOUND CARLA PEREZ?!).

Fortunately, the fanfilm’s content will never influence the show, of course, but honestly, when it comes to the show’s content one thing is certain: Is ok for the show and it works only for the show. MMPR: TM was nothing like the show. And even T:APRM differs greatly in the level of seriousness (and it’s still supposed to be canon). When Lionsgate gives us the new movie next year, I hope to see something like, e.g., the Rita I saw in POWER/RANGERS (maybe Helena Bonham-Carter playing, who knows... If Carla can be that good too, great, she knows the character better than anyone.), I hope to see something a little more mature than a high school talent show ("The Yolk's on you"), but of course, I don't wanna see guns, drugs and gallons of blood. I would give POWER/RANGERS 4.3 out of 5 stars, simply because Kimberly’s hair is brunette and ‘cause I believe we could have seen Rita’s wielding her wand against Tommy (die-hard fan, sorry.). But everything else about the movie was greatly planned.

P.S.: The day Saban stop taking for granted the "support" it has from the fans, and start giving it the proper value that the fandom really deserves, I'll understand the overprotective attitude it has with certain PR stuff.

Señor Y said...

I like the serious and grim tone of the short (I'm 25 years old), the villains are finally as fearsome as they should be, be alien witches, transformers or organized human criminals.

I think both kind of shows can really coexist and Saban would get profit from a Power Rangers directed to grown-up fans who can be in their twenties like me at least.

However, I miss a pair of things from the tokastsu shows in this short: The Power Rangers weapons and more presence of the villains (monsters, footsoldiers, etc. For sure a good budget could make more realistic looks than in sentai/power rangers