Ninjetti Powers… Fizzle

As giant ooze-powered robots smash the city of Angel Grove, a panicked TV reporter tells viewers, “Angel Grove has never seen such a crisis!” Haven’t they? Really? Not even last week?

That’s the thing with Power Rangers: The Movie. It never wants to acknowledge the origins, short of using established lore to avoid first act exposition. Instead, the Rangers use the time do ‘90s stuff like skydiving and rollerblading. There’s no reason for it. An executive likely thought it was cool.

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers wasn’t a show exuding depth or resonance. The draw came primarily from its action – famously culled together from Japanese superhero television – with bulky robots slashing or shooting bizarre monsters. Underneath though was a simple, campy high school show, leaning on the Saved by the Bells of American TV.

Not once in this movie adaptation do the kids attend school. School isn’t spoken of. Instead, the focus is on fixing or improving, under the assumption Japan’s efforts were inherently inferior. Insulting, in a sort of indirect better-than-you capitalist superiority stuffed into an unacceptably dorky superhero farce. It’s self-defeating, ignoring the success of the show hinged on rubber suits melded to a western teen comedy. Money doesn’t fix that – it only makes things artificial. Classing it up is to miss the attraction.

Ivan Ooze, played by the great Paul Freeman, gives Power Rangers: The Movie a villain akin to Dennis Hooper

Cast from the TV show, the Ranger crew follows their small screen counterparts into a character-less excursion of saving Earth. They shout one-liners as if masters at pun-laced dad jokes, never establishing personalities, rather rehearsing lines for the inevitable talking action figures. But, there is Ivan Ooze, played by the great Paul Freeman, giving Power Rangers: The Movie a villain akin to Dennis Hooper. It’s exuberance for Power Rangers: The Movie to chew on, wacky and absurdist in the best ways of the conjoined series.

After traveling to an alien world (and meeting Australian model/actress Gabrielle Fitzpatrick in a skimpy Amazonian outfit, for the kids?), the Rangers earn new powers. Those given them the ability to morph into dismal CG robots with roughly none of the charm earned by the men-in-suit approach. It’s not that it’s phony – the suits are too – rather the lack of inventiveness coupled with the desperation to one-up the material. It’s a brawl with no urgency or excitement. The camera hardly moves, as to save money on compositing digital effects.

Spoiler: The Rangers win. Surprise. That’s fine, but there’s no takeaway. No one on the squad deals with personal challenges. They have nothing to overcome that can’t be defeated with minimal ingenuity. If anything, by requiring acquisition of ancient powers to beat their foe, it tells kids they aren’t good enough on their own. Ouch.

Video

Shout’s solo releases matches the disc previously exclusive to a complete series box set. It’s a fine effort. A light grain sustains image clarity and detail, although Power Rangers: The Movie isn’t shot with pizzazz. Primarily, the resolution draws out texture on suits and make-up. The camera lavishes attention on those. Luckily, the disc is capable, resolving rubbery surfaces.

Color is the major winner. Given the Rangers stay color-coded even when not in uniform, Power Rangers: The Movie draws on heavy yellows, reds, blues, and pinks. Ooze’s purple earns notice too. Vibrancy gives the visuals zest. Accuracy isn’t lost in flesh tones, natural and pleasing.

If there’s a bummer, it’s contrast. Likely, the intent wasn’t to scare kids with anything too shadowy. As such, Power Rangers: The Movie doesn’t offer much in terms of black levels. Generally this is one that runs pale. Other than drawing in noise in some darker areas, cause for concern is minimal.

Audio

With a 5.1 DTS-HD mix to toy with, action scenes provide some sonic fuel. Flying tengu zip around the soundstage. All fight scenes keep things active and moving. Certainly, this isn’t a mix shy about using each available channel – and accurately. Spinning around at the beginning while free-falling, the various whoops and cheers from the Rangers join a widely spaced rush of wind.

LFE use doesn’t match the same purity. Certainly, the giant robots stomping around produce a rumble, but it’s loose. The lack of tightness makes for a hollow output.

Extras

A 44-minute retrospective brings together a wide swatch of the cast and crew to discuss the project, stuffed with interviews. Everyone is fairly open about the movie, recounting some of the confusion at the start about the direction to take and later, the discomfort of working in the new suits. A four-minute promo EPK is here for posterity. The same goes for the trailer.

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Extras
2

Movie

Trying to better the TV series, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie whiffs as it misses the key appeal of the source material.

Sending
User Review
0 (0 votes)

The 15 unaltered images below represent the Blu-ray. For an additional 41 Power Rangers: The Movie screenshots, early access to all screens (plus the 30,000+ already in our library), 75+ exclusive 4K UHD reviews, and more, support us on Patreon.