It seems that everyone dreads reboots of childhood properties, especially when words like “gritty” and “realistic” are thrown around. I, too, have a negative inclination for films that are made based off older properties but have all of their personality thrown out just to appeal to a larger audience. So when news of an adaption of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers property was announced, I grew a little nervous. While I haven’t watched the series in about ten years, I will always hold it in high regard for its attitudes about friendship and teamwork while also keeping an overall positive outlook of humanity. As more news of the production was released to the public, many fans feared that too much was being done to strip away what made the series unique in order to make it “new and edgy”. There was a ton of star power thrown at the screen with Elizabeth Banks and Bryan Cranston to bring in a more diverse audience, it was compared it to the Dark Knight Trilogy like every reboot nowadays, and the first look at the costumes showed them to be drastically changed to look more “practical” even though there is nothing practical about teenagers wearing brightly colored leotards to fight giant monsters modeled after a pumpkin or pig head in a giant robot with massive cannons and swords and I think I just realized how weird Power Rangers can be. While I had my fears, I will always give new interpretations of current properties a try because, hey, at least the creators attempted to do something different. And after the teaser trailer hit, I think I was right to have faith in this project.
After the release of the teaser, everything seemed to click more. While we did not see much (heck, we didn’t even see the Zords, much less the team in full costume), what we did see explained the idea of the film a lot better than any one photo or individual interview could. The costumes seem much better thought out, the dark tone seemed more intentional rather than forced and, most importantly, there seemed to be a stronger focus on fun than I previously thought. Now I know what some of you are thinking. “Superguy, what do you mean by these things? The costumes still look stupid to me, everything looks unnecessarily dark and there was absolutely NO humor in that trailer! Are you crazy? Is that it? Where are you seeing these things?” Now, I may be a tad bit insane, but please allow me a paragraph or two to explain myself.
Really look at this trailer and tell me what you see. Yes, there are the dark moments that stick out like Batman at a…I don’t know, happy place with flowers and living parents. But notice how, as the trailer goes on, there are more instances of humor. There aren’t laugh out loud, pee your pants kind of jokes being displayed but they are there nonetheless. Also, notice how the colors and music are being utilized. Sure, the trailer editors use a dreary and emotional song in the beginning that remind me of early 2000’s pop. But right when the Power Coins are discovered, there is a noticeable shift. The Power Rangers theme along with a more rock’n’roll track (very similar to the original series’ music) starts playing while the colors start to brighten up. And, interestingly enough, this is also the moment when the heroes go from emotionless wrecks to more expressive and outgoing teenagers with attitude.
So what am I trying to get at (other than making a long winded trailer talk just for the hell of it)? Simple: What if instead of using these stereotypical elements to just appeal to a larger audience, they’re being used for a deconstruction of the dark reboot to show the value of the Power Ranger’s ideals? The director discussed how the film is very much a coming of age story with literal emphasis of a metamorphosis. In fact, he cites films like the Breakfast Club and Spider-Man (2002) as major inspirations for the script. Pair this with the idea that the costumes were designed to be more cocoon like and are “catalyzed by these kids and their energy, their spirit“, I’d like to think that this puts all of the ideas I presented into perspective.
Power Rangers may be known for it’s weirder moments, but it does have a ton of heart that has kept it alive for all of these years. A series doesn’t last more than twenty years without having some special about it. I understand that there are fans that have their reservations, there are well founded reasons to be nervous. But I also know that this movie has the possibility to be far deeper and well thought out than what many people think. And, hey, it doesn’t hurt that Bill Hader is in the film as Alpha 5. That dude is hilarious.
Well, thanks for reading. I’ve been Superguy and you’ve been awesome!