Thursday, January 21, 2016

Power Rangers Dino Charge Review

If I haven't made it abundantly clear by now, I despise Megaforce and Super Megaforce. I hate it for all the other options it ignored for the sake of playing it safe. It actually made me question why I loved the franchise if that was how they'd treat fans during an anniversary of all things. Why did I start off talking about that instead of talking about Dino Charge itself? Well its to show you how desperately I needed Dino Charge to work. There is a very clear difference between Megaforce/Super Megaforce and Dino Charge. That difference boils down to one very important thing: Effort.
Theme Song: I might be one of the few people who like the theme song. Yes, its generic to some degree but its opening features this nice ominous ancient tune. It is an improvement from the last 4 years of theme songs. Its not a remix and it has some decent energy to it. The visuals are actually nicely timed with the music, particularly Koda punching Fury.

The rangers are ok. They're not great per say, but they're also not as one note as the Megaforce/Super Megaforce team. I don't particularly dislike any of them. Since this is only the first half, I'll save a lot of the character stuff for when Dino Supercharge ends. However, I kind of find myself asking why Shelby has this interest in dinosaurs as a part of her character when it so rarely pops up. Its usually only applied during new zord episodes. Normally that wouldn't be much of an issue except well, she isn't the dino expert on the team. Kendall has more dino knowledge than she has as well as technical expertise so it seems a bit unnecessary for Shelby to have that. Its not a big complaint it just sort of bugs me that Shelby's interest in dinosaurs is rendered a bit of a moot point. Prince Phillip is the one I'm most meh on. Thats because he has only appeared for two or three episodes but hopefully, he'll show up more in Dino SuperCharge. In terms of being a mentor, Keeper is a massive step up from Gosei because Keeper actually does things alongside providing nuggets of wisdom. Not to mention that he has been shown to have some fighting skill here and there.
Writing: I don't have much of an issue with the writing so far. It is a step up from Megaforce/Super Megaforce. Its still cheesy in places like you'd expect from Power Rangers. Where it really improved however are the puns. Some of them actually work. With that being said, it sort of fell on its face in one episode. It was the episode "True Black". It was basically an episode about Chase learning not to be jerk to others because of their choices in music. I appreciate the lesson but its something that I think Chase should've already known about. It would've been a more effective episode if Chase had to master the battery by over-coming fear or something to that effect.

Acting: I don't have much of a problem with the acting so far. They're all decent actors. With that being said, Tyler has a bit of the same problem Emma did in Megaforce. He sounds slightly too cheery during some of the more serious moments but its not enough to warrant a strike against him. Shelby has the same problem here and there. Koda's actor does surprisingly well playing a confused caveman with the broken dialogue helping there. Ivan's voice took some getting used to. Its a little too bombastic and cheesy but not to the point of being distracting plus he sells the talking like a knight rather well. Chase and Riley have been alright so I don't have many complaints about their acting.

If there is one major issue I have with this season, its some of the major villains. Sledge seems like a decent villain. He can be threatening at times though he'd be better without Poisandra around (I'll get to her in a bit). The explanation for why Sledge has such a wide variety of monsters at his disposal is a nice touch. He is a space bounty hunter so it makes sense that he would have access to creatures with such a wide set of powers and designs. When Poisandra wasn't around he actually managed to capture most of the rangers for a bit. He managed to snag two energems for a bit simply because Poisandra wasn't around.
Don't have much to say about Wrench since I'm still trying to get a feel for him but at least he has proven himself useful thanks to his technical skills. He feels less like a big general and more like a lackey. Fury seems to be the most proactive in the search for the energems and is the one the rangers face constantly. At times he can be intense (well for the Neo-Saban era anyway) but other times he seems to act a bit childish like the episode with the Plesiozord. When the fossil hunter told him that he can't destroy the zord, Fury shoved him and effectively said "Can too!".
Now we come to be biggest problem with the show for me...Poisandra and Curio. They're those types of characters where I pretty much have to ask why they are even here. They serve virtually no purpose for being there except that the stock footage needed them to be. Curio's Sentai counterpart's function is performed by the magna beam in Dino Charge so he is effectively just relegated to being Poisandra's sidekick. However, Poisandra is the more confusing of the two. She is a villain who is actively going against her own goals in the show. I have never used the term bridezilla before but I think it applies here. She wants to marry Sledge which Sledge said will happen after they collect the energems. However, she constantly gets in everyone's way and distracts Sledge from his mission, while blaming them for it. She openly antagonizes Fury when he is trying to locate the energems. He is technically helping her reach her goal yet she will not let him do his job. Why is she constantly doing stuff like this? I didn't particularly care for Candilella or Luckyurio in Kyoryuger either but at the very least they had a reason to be there. So far, there is no point to either of them being on Sledge's ship. I'm honestly wondering what Sledge even sees in her. I mean Zed and Rita were sort of the same way but at least Zed had the love potion as an excuse for why he loved Rita.
I'm wondering if Heckyl is just going to be a one-shot villain or not. If he is just a one-shot it kind of feels like a waste since they built him up so much in his introduction. Sledge clearly considered enough of a threat to lock him away from the other prisoners. Not to mention, the only thing that subdued him at the end of the episode was Sledge's gun powered by the purple energem. I hope he shows up again because he has this weird vibe to him. Threatening yet non-threatening at the same time. The actor pulled it off decently and his human form oddly looks like he walked off the set of Dr. Who. I've been told that he is in the Dino SuperCharge trailer but I usually avoid PR trailers so I don't get prematurely hyped.

Worst episode: The worst episode has to be Synch Or Swim. Its not really that bad of an episode, its just annoyingly stupid. Team members fighting over petty things has always been a pet peeve of mine. Some shows do it fine and in a way that it feels natural but I usually only harp on it when its used for dumb reasons or pads out an episode. This episode is mostly Tyler and Ivan passive aggressively sniping at each other and trying to show each other up. It was extremely annoying and distracting. I get that the point is to show that they're not really meshing well and Tyler is getting used to Ivan but it really could've been handled better. It didn't help that the episode ends on a stupid selfie joke. It also featured a ton of unfunny fart jokes. All in all, it is a heavy comedy episode that fell flat on its face.

Final Thoughts:
I really needed this after Megaforce. and while its not perfect, the show has been enjoyable at the very least. It hasn't brought out seething boredom induced rage. There is a very notice-able gap in quality between Dino Charge and the preceding Neo-Saban seasons. This is what happens when you put effort into it. Yeah, the show has problems here and there but you can at least tell they're trying this time. I'm really looking forward to Dino SuperCharge. With that being said, I'm still going in slightly cautious since this could easily be a fluke for Judd Lynn.

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