BY ROGER THOMAS
First, I must admit that I am old enough that I never learned the story of the Power Rangers. I knew they were teenagers. I also knew that wore bright-colored suits and everyone wore a different color. I knew they were very popular among young children, especially boys. I had friends who had young children in the late 80’s and 90’s when the “Power Rangers” were very popular. I never sat down and watched a single episode, but I was pretty sure, I was not missing much.
Almost two and half decades later, this franchise lives on in a new film. That film is literally my first real taste of the “Power Rangers.”
The one thought the rises to top of my mind is simply this: Are young children, the fanbase of this story, going to want to watch a film that spends ninety minutes before the teenagers become the title characters.
For me, and all the other novices, the background filled in some answers to the questions I have had for years. How do the youth get their powers? Why are they chosen? Do they all have the same powers or does each one have a unique skill? Do their parents know that their children are now superheroes, risking their lives for their community?
This information helped in many ways, but I still have a lot of questions. Of course, if enough people go and see this film, I am confidant that a sequel will follow, and maybe I will learn more about the five Rangers and their next mission.
I cannot imagine many people over twelve seeing this film without a child with them, but here are my thoughts on the film overall. The five young actors are an interesting group covering several different demographics. Some of them have more developed stories than the others but they all have their moments. My only question about the casting is that this five will look like they are in their twenties by the time the sequel comes around. I would have cast a younger looking group.
The teenagers happen upon this cavern and discover all this alien stuff. I kept thinking, has no one else ever explored these caves? I guess one is not supposed to be thinking about such things.
As I noted above, the five teenagers are difficult to train and the filmmakers chose to let the story linger a long time. I kept thinking, are they ever going to suit up and save the town. This finally comes and it is complete chaos. I know all superheroes have to have the climatic duel, and in this case there are five heroes facing decimation. That scene is packed with so much action and effects it is almost leaves one dizzy. That scene also looks more like something stolen from “Transformers.”
During the climax several things ran through my mind. “It will take years to rebuild this little town. How do the Rangers know how to operate their vehicles and weapons? I do not remember them training with those things.” Is that what the filmmakers wanted me to be thinking or am I just supposed to be wowed by all the destruction which most of us have seen in better superhero films.
There were a lot of children in the theatre where I saw “Power Rangers.” Some of the younger patrons did seem restless for most of the film, but I am betting they liked the finale when the Rangers finally became who they were meant to be.
If there is sequel, the filmmakers should disperse the origin story, keep the kids in spite of their age, focus on the story, and make a film so children will say “Wow!” and adults will say, “That was actually entertaining.”
Roger Thomas is a member of the North Carolina Film Critics Association. He reviews films for The Stanly News & Press.