Power Rangers (2017)

power_rangers_2017

  • Directed by Dean Israelite
  • Starring Dacre Montgomery, Naomi Scott, RJ Cyler, Ludi Lin, Becky G.
  • Written by John Gatins
  • Action, Family
  • Rated PG-13
  • 124 mins.
  • 24 March 2017

Synopsis

A group of outcast teens discover colorful, mysterious coins in a rock wall one night, and their lives change forever. When their town, and by extension the world, is in danger, it’s up to these 5 kids to train together and become Power Rangers so that they can follow their destiny and save the world from Rita, an evil former power ranger intent on destroying the world.

How’s the Story?

The story is fairly simple and straight forward, but it’s nice. The plot is interesting enough and the kids all have well enough developed back stories. I enjoyed the story and had a fun time at the cinema with this one. It’s the type of story you can check out on and just consume without analyzing or thinking about the plot that much.

How’s the Acting?

It’s actually pretty decent. Very over the top in some ways, which is what you expect from this type of movie. It’s a campy, showy film so the over the top acting works here. I feel like if you had subtle, nuanced acting, it wouldn’t carry this ridiculous plot very well.

How’s the Writing/Directing?

Okay, this is something that I feel requires you looking at the movie from the right perspective to really appreciate correctly. Simply put, this script is bad. It’s really horribly written from the classical perspective. It’s got ridiculously over-explanatory dialogue, it has no concept of ‘show, don’t tell’, and it’s just full of unrealistic lines.

BUT! I realized while watching it that it’s written that way for children. At the very start of this film, I was immediately like, “Oh God, this is such horrible dialogue, this is going to be torture,” but then the little boy in the row next to me, who was about four, kept turning to his dad and going, “Oh! So *x person is doing x thing*!” And then it really connected for me that this isn’t just a poorly written script. It’s written with a four year old audience in mind, and suddenly all the over-explanatory dialogue and the ‘let me outline every single thing multiple times cause the audience is too stupid to understand’ type stuff was done that way so that a four year old child can follow along. It isn’t that the script is written as if the audience is too dumb to understand, it’s written with it in mind that the target audience is a small child that won’t understand without having everything explained in simple language.

After that realization, I was entirely on board, really. When I put aside my ‘film person’ way of thinking and just watched it bearing in mind that the target audience is small kids, all the unnecessarily ‘bad’ writing, the over-the-top direction choices, all the really theatrical performances, all of it made sense, and I think that what they were trying to do was what they did, and they did that well.

How’s the Cinematography?

Honestly? I thought the CGI and other effects in this film were pretty well done. I’m not a big stickler or a big fan of crazy CGI, but I appreciated that this was just flashy and showy enough to work. As for the regular cinematography, eh. It did its job. There was nothing spectacular but there was nothing bad.

I would say there were a few situations where I wish there were more establishing shots to help orient the viewer to where the hell things are going on, but that’s just because I felt like there was a lack of scale and understanding in some ways. I could never tell how big ‘The Pit’ was, and you never see the whole of the boat that finds Rita’s body, you just see the deck where the fish are dropped, and the hold where the fish are stored, and a small portion of the side of the boat. I can’t tell if that was a small boat and that shot of deck was most of it, or if it was a big boat and that was just one portion. It was just small things like that that sort of could have been done better, I think.

Is It Worth Watching?

I would recommend it, but I also know that anybody who doesn’t go into it expecting an over the top, campy action film aimed at family audiences probably won’t enjoy it that much. I really liked the characters, I enjoyed the story arc, I liked the simplicity of the plot because of how it is aimed at children, and it was just really fun.

I kind of really hate the ‘hype’ around the ‘gay character’ because it’s not even a thing, and they totally ignored the hype of having an autistic character that is shown to be friends with neurotypical kids and who has a realistic depiction of how a child on the autism spectrum actually reacts to certain things. That was a far bigger positively inclusive moment of diversity than some blink-and-you-miss-it mention of potential lesbianism.

I also loved the way they wrote these kids, because they all felt like real teenagers. So often in films, teens act like adults, or think like adults, but these kids all came across as actual teens, and I think that’s a serious accomplishment, and I do credit that to aiming the audience at kids and families. Families wouldn’t buy the usual ‘is a teen but thinks and acts like a 30 year old’ crap, so by having a realistic depiction of teens going through struggles, even set against the backdrop of a ridiculously campy action film, is so refreshing!

I did not expect to enjoy this movie as much as I did, and I foresee this being one of those films that comes on TV on weekend afternoons all the time on channels like FX and TNT, so I figure I’ll definitely end up watching this film multiple times in the future in a ‘lazy weekend flick’ situation.

My Rating: 7/10

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About J. Chelsea Williford

Student at Middle Georgia State University, writer, pop culture lover.
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