The Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers have morphed onto the big screen for the unoriginally named Power Rangers, and unfortunately unoriginality is the name of the game in this silver screen adaptation.
Character development is sketchy, which is fine, because we’ve met all these characters before in The Breakfast Club – a brain, and an athlete, and a basket case, a princess, and a criminal, all brought together in the most unlikely of circumstances. Three of them even meet in detention, with Billy’s reason for being there almost identical to Brian’s – an explosion in their locker. But after their prolonged meeting scenes, and their prolonged training scenes, and the inexplicable interludes of poorly constructed villain Rita Repulsa (yes, that is her name, played by a wasted Elizabeth Banks), there’s so little time for the climax of the film that it feels rushed and frustratingly underdone. Keep an eye out for very on-the-nose visual metaphors and hokey dialogue.
While the film has been praised for its progressive character representations (an autistic black character and a bisexual Hispanic character, although the two personality traits are briefly touched upon then promptly forgotten – the two leads, to whom the most screen time is dedicated, both have it going on in a very traditional sense. The lead Ranger is a Zac Efron doppelganger, while the Pink Ranger has distinct elements of Lea Michele and Vanessa Hudgens.
Overall, Power Rangers is an overlong teen bonding circle which draws upon every tired cliché of sci-fi and teen films, saved only by the very occasional attempt at humour which actually lands.
And a villain called Rita? Really?