When a film is preceded by trailers for the latest DreamWorks animation Boss Baby and viral storm canine weepie A Dog's Purpose, you might think I don’t fall into the target demographic. But, as a single 30-year-old man still living in his mom’s basement, Power Rangers 2017 is aimed squarely at me.
The original TV series ran between 1993 and 1999. It was a mash up of shoddy kung fu, robot dinosaurs and colours so garish my protonopia was no issue. It may seem as if it was botched together by a bunch of pre-teens after one too many Skittles. In fact, it was botched together from action footage of the Japanese original, spliced with American actors to fill in the gaps.
The 2017 reboot suffers no such concerns. With a reported $105 million budget to play with, it at least looks slick. Keeping the original small town setting of Angel Grove, we meet the eponymous heroes in detention, the screenwriters taking their cue from The Breakfast Club’s criminals and weirdos to lazily sketch out the protagonists.
So we get girl so troubled she gives herself a bathroom haircut Vidal Sassoon would be proud of, girl so troubled she listens to tech-death metal (Revocation, for thrash fans) in a disused quarry, boy who was Tom Brady-in-the-making but then tossed off a cow, crashed a car and lost the town’s respect, boy whose super power is movie autism (he doesn’t get jokes but can out-physics Stephen Hawking) and the Asian guy, who is seen playing chess with his mom because…character development, I guess.
And for around an hour and twenty minutes all we get is teen angst in a disused gold mine and Bryan Cranston as a hologram face akin to one of those metal-pin gadget shop toys you can make a hand print in. Elizabeth Banks shows up as the big bad dressed like an explosion in Beaverbrooks and giving you more ham than a Subway footlong. Which brings me to this film's cardinal sin - a film called Power Rangers which has nary a Ranger with a Power for three quarters of its runtime.
Leading up to Morphin’ Time we get moping around to a soft-rock cover of Stand By Me (another of the creative team’s touchstones, no doubt). Then the Morphin’ happens, they kick about five rock monsters seemingly left over from Aronofsky’s Noah, Morph again into a giant robot dinosaur and take all the Transformer-ing from the Transformers. At least they have some fun here with the goose-pimple inducing (sad, I know) Go, Go Power Rangers theme and having the source-of-all-power McGuffin buried under a Krispy Crème.
If it could all have been as fun as the final battle, I’d even watch a sequel. Anything to get me out of the basement, I guess.