Friday, July 24, 2015

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie (1995)

Oh no, this isn't the next movie in the Mega Shark series that I totally implied I was going to review next! Yeah, as it turns out I don't actually have Mega Shark Versus Kolossus and I haven't seen it for sale in my area (not that I was really looking), so we're going to have to hold off on that surely classic gem for now. Instead, let's take a look at a movie I have some nostalgic affection for that also features a giant CGI robot fighting some giant CGI monsters! And it's perfect too, because I already made a joke in the last review about sentai heroes!

What could it even be? The suspense is killing me!

Joking aside, yeah, I'm doing the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers movie. I hadn't originally intended on covering it for Kaijuly but my good buddy Felix actually put in a request (at least I treated it as such) so I'm doing this one for him! Now, let's talk Power Rangers. The concept of the sentai hero group is a tradition that has been going for a long time over in Japan, with shows aobut colourful costumed heroes going all the way back into the 1970s. The term "sentai" actually refers a military unit, which is kinda funny when you think about it being used for these groups. And over in Japan these shows often deal with heavy issues that the American versions do not, such as death and genocide. But even there many people don't really treat them with any sort of critical analysis.

Nope, they're just shows about people in goofy outfits fighting giant monsters, hurr durr!
Sorry if I seem mildly bitter, it's just that I do get extremely exhausted by the attitude that bright costumed characters somehow cannot be taken seriously. Everything has to be super-ultra-dark-gritty or else people will remember this is about superheroes! It's not like superheroes are popular or anything, right, Marvel Studios? You guys haven't made a line of successful superhero movies that have brightly costumed characters being taken seriously at all while still having fun, have you? It's mentally taxing to deal with that overarching mentality, to say the very least. It's why I roll my eyes at the new Fant4stic film so much, because it's just more of Fox making a superhero movie that totally isn't a superhero movie. At least Warner Bros. is actually trying, but let's not get off topic. Power Rangers.

Oh wait, they were made by Fox too, weren't they? How about that.
It is kinda staggering to think that the same company that made something that reveled so hard in it's goofiness is also the same company that thought the X-Men wouldn't be taken seriously if they wore tight brightly coloured uniforms, so instead they opted for tight leather that looked even goofier. I still don't really understand that creative direction, but whatever. It's a good thing they won't be doing that again, right?

Oh wait, they already did. How about that.
You might be asking how I can justify doing this kid friendly superhero film in Kaijuly, to which I would reply, "SHUT UP, IT'S MY CHOICE WHAT I REVIEW, YOU DOODYHEAD!" Or maybe I'd just point out that the very concept is that it's a group of heroes who pilot giant robots that assemble into a bigger robot to fight a giant monster. So yeah, it fits right into Kaijuly. Let's get this show on the road, because I am running out of Fox related jokes to squeeze in here.

Or maybe not. Check back later.
The movie opens up on the Power Rangers in the civilian personas as they skydive for charity while the Red hot Chili Peppers plays. Bulk and Skull are also there, because no one has ever really believed them to be capable enough to actually be bad, so of course they do stuff for charity. It's actually worth noting that their characters evolved quite a lot over the years and they were even cops for a time. They also let Goldar live with them for a while too, which was beautifully ridiculous.

Rito lived with them too, but nobody cares about him.
Anyway, the charity is for the local observatory because they're expecting a convenient plot comet to come by some time around the end of the movie. Bulk and Skull, of course, fuck up and end up in a construction site where a big evil egg gets taken out of the ground. Zordon senses the evil egg and figures it's the horrible villain Ivan Ooze who is out to make Earth his bitch.

You can learn more about his backstory in X-Men: Oozocalypse, coming soon from Fox!
He sics the Rangers on the evil egg, but Rita and Zedd already let him loose from said egg to go fuck the Rangers' steez up. He beats up their base, makes Zordon turn into a human version of Yoda (when he was dying), and the Power Rangers get a lot less powerful when their powers vamoose on them. With Zordon dying faster than a Family Guy joke and Alpha 5 still being relatively useless, they have to travel to the planet Phaedos where can find a new magical power (or old magical power, I suppose) to be Power Rangers again! Oh, and also to save Zordon. I guess that's important too.

"Oh no, don't mind me. I just need to lie down for a while. I'll be fine."
Meanwhile Ivan Ooze decides Rita and Zedd kinda suck, so it puts them into a tiny snowglobe and we see some more of this horrible pig thing that I guess is here to replace Baboo, Squatt, and Finster. It and Goldar pledge their loyalty to Ooze so as to save their own asses, and the Oozeman sends in his Tengu warriors to go get those pesky teenagers. I guess bird people can fly through space now. I wonder if Vultan knows he can do that too?

"You know I do!"
Sorry, sorry. Ivan then puts his ooze into mass production, using it to brainwash all the adults in Angel Grove. He does this by pretending to be a carny who gives it away for free. Free is most parents' favourite price when it comes to toys and stuff, so the plan works and all the parents are put to work digging up Ooze's giant Endomorphicon Titans. Somewhere Eren Jaeger is screaming about how he's going to kill them.

There you go, I finally referenced Attack on Titan during Kaijuly. You can stop sending me messages about it.
The Rangers' little friend who only exists in this movie, Fred, finds out the master plan though and he's totally capable of stopping it. Except he isn't because he's like 10 years old and no one seems to care that their parents are gone. Sucks for you, kid. Back on that alien planet the Rangers get their asses kicked by the rejects from The Neverending Story 2 and get saved by a mystical scantily clad woman who probably made a lot of young boys immediately enter puberty while sitting in the theater watching this film.

Blatant fan-service? What's that?
She tells them to go back home, because clearly they can't even handle a bunch of stupid bird muppets, but they tell her about Zordon dying and she decides she'll help them because she totes owes him one after he got Zedd to stop calling her all the time by hooking him up with Rita. She takes the to a magical destroyed temple, because no one ever takes care of those, and that get the power of the Ninjetti. This means the get colourful ninja outfits that manage to look sillier than what they normally wear. Score! Then she shows them to the monolith thing where the deus ex machina they're looking for is, but they have to fight some guardians before that can have it. Does she help them? Nope. She already picked up her check and left.

"You kids have fun, I have to go shoot a movie with Judd Nelson."
But they beat them and get their powers back and all join hands to teleport back to Earth where they can go save the world. Oh, and Zordon. I keep forgetting about him. Speaking of Earth, things aren't great, as Ivan Ooze has now got his giant Titans ready to go and decides to fire the parents by telling them to go jump off something. As they're still under his mind control, they then proceed to go about wandering off of the nearest cliff-like thing they can find. Fred finally gets all the other kids to listen, rallying them together to take the monorail to the construction site so they can stop their parents from killing themselves. The Rangers show up and fight Ooze's titans (which are a giant robotic Mantis and Scorpion).

Which have just aged so well with their mid-90s CGI effects.
They beat one of the titans, which enrages Ivan Ooze who then combines with the other one, becoming a giant monster himself to fight them. But during the fight the monorail gets damaged. Tommy saves the monorail though and they form the Ninja Megazord, deciding to lead Ivan into space. They then hold him in the path of the conveniently supplied plot comet and he blows up quite nicely, which then frees all of the parents from mind control. Everyone has a party, Fred says he wants to be the Gold Ranger, and everyone laughs because he's never seen again after this. Also Goldar gets caught sitting in Zedd's throne, which is a big no-no.

They saved Zordon too, which I guess was somewhat important.
It's a goofy as hell movie but how can you really hate it? It's the Power Rangers! If you're watching this movie then you know what it is, you know what to expect, and it basically delivers on that. It plays out not unlike a really long episode of the show, just with some CGI thrown in instead of the normal suits and puppets that are used in the show. The acting is fine, with Paul Freeman often stealing the show as Ivan Ooze, and it's just really fun experience overall. It's Power Rangers, what can I say? If you like the Power Rangers, you'll probably like this. But, having said all of that, I am not without my gripes.

Starting with those costumes.
No, I'm not going to harp about how I hated the costumes. Actually, I liked them. I think a lot of kids dug them at the time. That's where the complaint comes in: why didn't they bring them onto the show? Seriously, you already had them made! Why not use them? Sure, the show relies a lot on reused footage, but would it have been so hard to say these were they "super" powered up forms and film some scenes of them kicking ass in them? We all wanted that! Come on! Other than that complaint I have had ever since my youth, there is the glaringly obvious complaint of the extremely dated CGI used for the Zords and the Titans. Even as a kid I thought they looked kinda terrible and was bummed they dumped the guys in suits for that. The CGI just looks bad and I can't help but say it looks worse than any episode from the first season of ReBoot. Yeah, I went there.

I hope that pisses you off, because I know it pisses me off.
As a movie, it does its job well as an entertaining superhero story about the heroes overcoming a great evil to come out on top in the end. Yes, it's hokey and so very outdated, but it still makes me smile in the same why old commercials from my childhood do. I couldn't tear this apart any more than I could tear apart a box of kittens. Again I will just state that it's the Power Rangers. That's really all I've got. So, until they finally make that super-ultra-dark-gritty reboot they keep saying is going to get made, I'll be here thinking about how great it must be to be Vultan. Later days, bleeders.

Fly on, you beautiful bird-man, you!

1 comment:

  1. I almost agree with all of this. I still kinda think this movie is good. I don't really mind the cgi, Ooze is a different kind of villain than we're used to, the characters are fine, the emotions work, the music is triumphant and still makes me at least a little joyful, the costumes are neat for me to look at and it has first post credits scene I think I ever saw. It works.

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