Thursday, June 22, 2017

In short: Power Rangers (2017)

Going in, I was very much rooting for this attempt to reboot the Power Rangers (without directly repurposing existing Japanese sentai product for once) as some sort of teen superhero blockbuster franchise, probably for the market of ten to twenty year olds. There is, at least before Sony’s next Spiderman attempt hits us, a huge hole in the the big two superhero universes where the classic teen superhero belongs, and I, at least always had a big place in my heart for this particular sub-genre.

The film was directed by Dean Israelite, whom you may know from his bland and rather confused teen time machine movie Project Almanac. There are unfortunate parallels between the two films, when it comes to a lack of basic coherence and what we in the movie watching biz like to call a lack of a point.

For unfortunately, Power Rangers really doesn’t cut the mustard, thanks to weird tonal shifts between earnestness and humour the script doesn’t work for at all, sluggish pacing, and bland teen melodrama that clearly wants to be “edgy” and inclusive but doesn’t actually go anywhere from the good start of having a group of actually diverse – if terribly clean cut – teens as its protagonists. What goes for character development is so thin it really should have been over and done with in twenty minutes with no reason at all for it to take up most of the movie.

Worst of all is the production’s decision to have its superpowered teens do nothing heroic beyond a training montage for the first ninety minutes of the film’s bloated two hour runtime, leaving what would be the warm-up fight coming in the first half hour in any decent superhero flick as the supposed climax of this one.

It’s a mind-boggling decision but then, there’s a lot about the film that doesn’t hang together at all. Why have the kids exclusively train melee fights when all they’ll ever do is jump into their mecha, ahem zoids? And really, why is there no non-robo punching in a Power Rangers movie? Why have a scene where big bad Rita Repulsa (Elizabeth Banks) tries to turn the Yellow Ranger when nothing comes of it and it never comes up again? And so on, and so forth. The whole film screams “production problems” - five names in its writing credits and its complete pointlessness are not exactly small hints that something went very wrong here.

No comments: