Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie (1995)

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie (1995)

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The Power Rangers, whilst athletic, still couldn't pull off their Superman impression.
The Power Rangers, whilst athletic, still couldn’t pull off their Superman impression.

Twitter Plot Summary: An old foe of Zordon resurfaces in Angel Grove, the villainous Ivan Ooze. The Power Rangers must upgrade their abilities to stop him.

Genre: Action/Adventure/Family/Sci-Fi/Comedy/Thriller

Director: Bryan Spicer

Key Cast: Karan Ashley, Johnny Yong Bosch, Jason David Frank, Amy Jo Johnson, Steve Cardenas, David Yost, Paul Freeman, Paul Schrier, Jason Narvy, Gabrielle Fitzpatrick, Jean Paul Bell, Kerry Casey, Mark Ginther, Julia Cortez

Five Point Summary:

1. Has nobody else in Angel Grove noticed those 5 teens who always wear the same colours as the Power Rangers?
2. Hey, that’s Paul Freeman as Ivan Ooze! He was Belloq in Raiders Of The Lost Ark, FYI.
3. The Power Rangers base has been destroyed – an excuse to redesign it for Season 3!
4. It’s the Obi-Wan Kenobi “scaring off Tusken Raiders” trick, but by an English woman in a green bikini. An improvement in most people’s books.
5. That CGI looks terrible nowadays, but at least the Rangers can save the day.

Back in the day I was a huge fan of the original Power Rangers TV series, before it became the constantly rebooted juggernaut that it has since become. After the huge success of the series, it made sense financially to capitalise on it by making a film. Just like most movie adaptations the Power Rangers movie doesn’t fit directly into the continuity of the show – in fact they recreated the events of the film (kind of) and went off in a different direction at the beginning of season 3. The script does its best to introduce the key faces, however if you weren’t a fan of the series before the film then you weren’t likely to go and see it at the cinema, so all you really need to know is that the Power Rangers are distinguished by their respective primary colours, and anything new to the plot is explained in a Star Wars-style opening scroll. Put simply, the Rangers face their biggest threat to date – that old cliche of an ancient evil released back into the world, the purple-loving Ivan Ooze. He turns the parents of Angel grove into mindless zombies to help him build his ultimate weapon. Meanwhile the Rangers have to seek out new powers after Ooze destroys Power Rangers Central and go off on a quest to another planet to find new Zords.

There’s an inherent silliness to the entire Power Rangers franchise – backflipping your way out of danger rather than just running, which would be quicker, as it happens; gesticulating wildly at each other whilst in the Power Ranger suits, or the key villain never finishing the job himself and constantly relying on his incompetent henchmen to finish the job, which as we all know is a recipe for disaster. Throw in a heavy dose of Japanese silliness – because the franchise uses a number of scenes from the original hentai show in Japan (although surprisingly not this film – it’s 100% original and American) – and you have a recipe for an overly whimsical family friendly film that’s just the right level of odd to draw in kids of an appropriate age.

Mr Freeman realises he probably committed career suicide by agreeing to be in this film.
Mr Freeman realises he probably committed career suicide by agreeing to be in this film.

Of course being a film allows them a bigger budget than your standard TV episode and as such allows bigger stunts, better choreographed fights, better locations and slightly more adventurous story ideas – the film opens with the Rangers taking part in a sponsored skydiving contest, for example, and there’s a slightly bigger focus on production value. In fairness this wouldn’t be too difficult given how cheap the original show is.

It’s passable stuff then, but let down by a script that doesn’t try to hook a new audience, and by CGI effects that look bad by today’s standards. On the positive side, introducing Ivan Ooze as the villain makes sense as Lord Zedd and Rita Repulsa were already proven to be incompetent from the two extremely long seasons of the TV show that preceded it. With a new villain there was always the potential for him to succeed in his mission, even if we know that would never be the case. It also had the usual task of selling more toys to kids, so no matter what we might think of the film now it served its purpose well.

Favourite scene: The Rangers have to learn new powers and save the day. Despite its poor CGI, the Zord fight at the end, crossed with the kids of Angel Grove trying to save their parents, is actually rather fun.

Quote: “Take it home in boxes. Take it home in cases. If your parents try to stop you, just throw it in their faces!”

Silly Moment: The evil Ooze-spawned bird-men are punished by Ivan for their failure – by being blown up!

Score: 2.5/5

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