Starring: Dacre Montgomery, Naomi Scott, RJ Cyler, Ludi Lin, Becky G., Elizabeth Banks, Bryan Cranston, Bill Hader, Cody Kearsley, and more.
Directed by: Dean Israelite Screenplay by: John Gatins Story by: Matt Sazama, Burk Sharpless, Michele Mulroney, and Kieran Mulroney Cinematography by: Matthew J. Lloyd Music by: Brian Tyler
Premise: Five teenagers end up in the same place when one of them uncovers a hidden artifact near an old mine. Veritable strangers to one another, they unite as they try to escape the area. Finding themselves unharmed after an accident, they get back together to try to figure out what has happened to them. That's when they discover an old evil is about to destroy their town, their country, their planet. Unless they can figure out how to tap the powers they never asked for. (Rated PG-13)
1) Acting - Total Thumbs Up: Dacre Montgomery does a nice job as Jason. His insecurity, avoidance, and hidden anger as he deals with his accident and the repercussions of his prank gone wrong were well done. Naomi Scott showed some talent as Kimberly. Her pain and the hidden aspects of her secret, and her need to be better, coming across well. RJ Cyler did a great job as Billy. Socially awkward, but super smart, he ends up becoming the heart of the group. Ludi Lin as Zack was a two-sided coin of crazy and deep grief. Becky G. as Trini was a lot of fun, as her character found herself drawn into the group despite herself. Elizabeth Banks does evil Rita with flair and fun.
Though all the Rangers do appear to struggle with the acting during the big combat sequence. Robot fighting angst is probably not a class in acting school. :P
2) Special Effects - Total Thumbs Up: It was the special effects I saw in the previews that made me want to see the film. :) There were lots of neat and cool effects throughout the movie.
The beginning of the film is set in a prehistoric era and looked impressive. The battlefield, the alien rangers, and red ranger's solution were pretty spiffy.
Our introduction to Jason went places he and the audience weren't expecting. The crash and the view from inside the truck were pretty amazing. He's lucky to be alive! lol. (The few bits of shaky cam luckily did not linger long!)
The Wall was one of the coolest effects in the film. I loved the spaceship and Alpha 5. Cooler still was how they got to the ship in the first place.
The morphing was pretty cool as well. Rita's change and the making of her scepter/lance looked awesome. Goldar was fabulous! He was so fluid! The sequence where Rita reconstitutes him is pretty darn cool. Yay big budgets! lol.
3) Plot/Story - Thumbs Up: Sentai series have been super popular in Japan. Some say the first five-member team originated with the anime series Kagaku Ninjatai Gatchaman in the 70's. Saban took some of the more popular live-action sentai series from the 80's, spliced in American's for the non-costumed parts and Saban's Power Rangers were born! While I have enjoyed several sentai series, the Americanized versions never did much for me. But on seeing the previews for this film, I got interested in seeing what they'd do with a feature film. The fact it looked like they did backstories on the characters also intrigued me.
Mind you; I didn't go in thinking it would be anything but fun, action, and fluff. And I wasn't wrong. But they did try to add some depth and let us get to know the characters bit by bit. The slow melding of the group was decently done.
Major kudos for showing us the alien who were the original power rangers and even having an alien language. And though drawn together, we still saw friction in the characters as they struggle to make sense of what they've been dumped into and whether they want any part of it. Also, points for proving that cars can't always outrun the train. :P
I do wish they'd done more with Rita Repulsa. Elizabeth Banks seemed to have had too much fun playing her. lol.
There's a bit in the end for the fans, some hint of things to come. I am sure there were probably a lot of bits having to do with former Power Ranger series, but they were lost on me. Other than a few obvious ones from the sentai genre in general - like tons of disposable minions and major fights always happening at quarries. :P
Still, from what I saw, I think fans of the original US shows will be pleased with how the movie came out.
4) Stunts - Total Thumbs Up: Between the first car crash and then the van crash, the stunt guys were giving their all! The training fights and later the powered fights were pretty decent. They multi-vehicle fights weren't as good. They should have let the stunt team help with those. :P
Conclusion: Fun fluff film with neat special effects. Fans of the Power Rangers and Japanese sentai shows should find a lot to like. The fact they take the time to introduce the team members will go a long way to making the experience more fulfilling for those new to this genre of film.
Rating: 3.25 out of 5 (Hubby's Rating: Worth Full Price of Admission)