Sunday, April 9, 2017

Power Rangers 2017 Movie Review

If you've read my posts regarding the news surrounding this movie, you know I went into this movie with massive reservations. Somehow I managed to separate my critic-side from my PR fan-side while watching this movie. Surprisingly, it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. With that being said, I do have some issues with the movie How do I feel about it? Well read on and find out. I can't really talk about this much without doing spoilers so: SLIGHT SPOILERS INCOMING!
I've already complained about the visuals plenty in the past so lets dive right in: I'll sum it up here and say that I still don't care for how this movie looks. Oddly enough, I went through this film with this calm feeling. It didn't bring out the same instinctual rage that the news and trailers did. I do actually like that they gave the rangers more character. However, I still don't care much for the problem child setup for most of them. Its something that bugs me because it feels a bit too cliche to me at this point. I liked Zack's backstory about him being the way he is to take his mind off his mother's illness. Though before he mentioned that, he sort of just came off as an adrenaline junkie to me. Kim's secret is something I'm very iffy on as its something that someone who is worthy to be a ranger should never do. It feels like its just there to make the movie feel more "real". I actually like how they handled the reveal that Trini is a lesbian. The movie doesn't actually treat it as all that big of a moment but its handled really well imo. It comes up during the camp fire scene and the other rangers acknowledge it and just move the conversation forward. It felt pretty natural. Billy's autism sort of felt a bit jokey at first but they ironed that out pretty quickly once the rangers show up. I do not care at all for Jason being "a jock who ruined his one-shot". Its just so boring in a movie like this. They literally could've picked anything else for him and I'd have probably liked him more.

This is probably going to sound odd since I just complemented the movie for adding more character to them but, I think the movie focuses too much on the teen drama in the beginning. It made the first half a bit of slog for me to get through. Its a movie based on a show about 5 people in bright spandex whose daily lives include fighting monsters and I think that should've been the main focus throughout the movie. I'd much rather get to know the heroes while they're out there being heroes. Now with that being said, I really love the scene where the rangers are sitting around the camp fire and telling each other about themselves. Its a nice little scene that tells you that these guys are growing closer as friends.
My biggest issue besides the visuals is actually Zordon. The dude was kind of being a jerk and he even insulted the rangers for not mastering powers they just got. I get wanting to give Zordon another character trait alongside "wise mentor" but Zordon shouldn't be insulting the rangers. It irks me that "just make him a jerk" is Hollywood's go-to method of giving more character to someone. I don't care if its a reboot, Zordon doesn't do that. I also unfortunately don't care much for Alpha's voice. Its kinda forgettable and didn't leave much of an impression on me. I mentioned this in the concerns post but I'm gonna mention it again here, why does Alpha need eyes? Its a bit distracting.
Rita was actually handled decently enough and the actress did well. Unfortunately, I don't find her all that frightening. She is creepy but she definitely isn't frightening to me. She was also a little too gollum-y  for my tastes in the beginning but they sorted that out rather quick. She plays up creepy rather well but the most uncomfortable feeling thing she did was swallow gold necklace whole and force the gold through her skin to add to her outfit. It was also an unintentionally hilarious scene. One detail I really like is that she steals some dude's gold teeth in a scene and in all the close-ups on her staff, you can see the teeth embedded in it. Her "I've killed rangers before" line from the trailer actually works better given the way the movie opens. I won't say what it is here but the change to her connection to Zordon is something I actually like about the movie.

The music for the movie doesn't fit imo. There is a little too much pop and rap in the movie for me. Its off-putting because rock and roll feels more natural for Power Rangers to me. Its a minor thing for me but its kinda distracting for me to hear rap in something related to Power Rangers. I didn't care for it when Mystic Force or Overdrive did it either. I absolutely can't stand the Kanye West song they used in the trailers. I can't even remember if it was actually in the movie. Maybe it was and my brain blocked it out. It really doesn't help that the music doesn't feel like it has any power to me.

The product placement is so blatant that I'd swear it was a parody if I didn't know better. Krispy Kreme donuts are a plot-point in the movie. There is even a scene during the climax where Rita walks into a Krispy Kreme and eats a donut while the camera zooms in on her face. Seeing Rita eating a donut while the city is being destroyed is surreal. A friend of mine is also fascinated by that scene because its so weird to him. Its that sort of thing that the scene from the Wayne's World was making fun of. There is actually a line where Rita asks if Krispy Kreme is the source of life. It is a gloriously stupid line.

I keep seeing people say that this movie is "serious". I unfortunately don't see it. The tone flip flops too much for my tastes. I can't really call it serious when the movie features masturbation jokes, Rita eating a donut during the climax, and Rita swallowing a gold necklace. I was expecting juvenile humor but not that juvenile. I also couldn't help but roll my eyes at the drug test joke after Trini tells her parents. Some fans have told me that its not supposed to be a joke but the scene ends on that line and cuts to other stuff. Neither it or the masturbation jokes belong in a movie that calls itself Power Rangers imo.
The action is ok but sort of forgettable. It really doesn't help that the one in-suit fight scene is so short. It happens during the climax of the movie and its only a couple minutes long. After that the rangers just summon the zords and run toward Angel Grove. The ranger suits look slightly better in motion. The suits unfortunately look CGI in some shots. That is probably due to the lighting of the fight scene along combined with the CGI over-layed on the glowing portions of the suits. The mecha fight is purely CGI which is what I was expecting. The individual zord portion of the fight is enjoyable enough. Unfortunately, it feels off when they form the Megazord. It doesn't feel like it or Goldar have actual weight to them during their fight. I actually enjoy the training montage. I'm always a sucker for those and I actually got a chuckle from Trini kicking a Putty hologram in the groin.

I'm going to have approach this in a different way than I usually do. In each of my concerns posts, I posed a question that I'm going to reiterate here: Is it a Power Rangers movie? Unfortunately, it doesn't feel like one to me. The basic elements are there but I don't think the movie is meshing just quite right imo. I can't exactly point to why its not meshing though. There is only one scene in the movie that feels like Power Rangers to me. It is a brief scene where the zords are running toward Angel Grove while Go Go Power Rangers blasts in the background. I had a big ol' smile on my face at that moment. However, that was far too short and I think they should've let the song continue to play during the mecha fight. Now, with that being said, is it a bad movie? No. Its not a great movie but I don't hate it. It is simply ok for me so it gets a pass. Do I recommend it to non-PR fans? Definitely, its enjoyable enough that you'll probably get your money's worth at a matinee. Do I recommend it to Power Rangers fans? Sort of. There isn't actually much here for actual PR fans except a few easter eggs but they're all "blink and you miss it" style easter eggs. I can't recommend it at full price but if your theater has bargain days like my theater does, go for it. Its definitely worth it if you can get the tickets for cheap or a rental when it hits dvd. I hope it gets a sequel because it honestly needs one. It feels a tad incomplete since its simply an origin story. I enjoyed it enough so I'll probably be in the theater to see it.