Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie Blu-ray Review


Upsized TV Gold

Before Anakin Skywalker shouted “Yipee!” from the driver seat of his pod racer, there was Justin’s “Ya-hoo!” in Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie. The difference is how clearly Power Rangers aims itself at kids. No trade route disputes or galactic senates hearings here. Everything is settled with kicks in this sequel.

Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie sets up the (then) next generation of Power Rangers TV. Where Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie aimed for big screen razzle dazzle, the follow-up dumps everything; this looks like a TV show. It’s better because of it, too.

Even by the chintzy standards of after school television, Turbo still looks and feels cornball. A goofy space wizard takes up a chunk of the story and some groan-worthy puns fill parts of the script. The giant-robot-versus-magma-demon finale uses the camera to hide visual effects more than show them. And Justin (Blake Foster) acts out a fantasy as constructed by a producer trying to give kids someone to relate to.

… the kitchen sink approach to kid’s entertainment… advertising toy swords by the truck load

Justin has a deeper character. As Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie begins, he’s depressed, riding on a bus with other orphans. For him, joining the Rangers gives him stability and a family. He excitedly chirps at his Blue Ranger designation and his character drives a car. How cool for kids, and unimaginably awesome for Foster.

There’s a pirate ship, treasure chests, islands, natives, and monsters. A mark of subtlety is not something Turbo offers. Instead, the kitchen sink approach to kid’s entertainment magnifies, advertising toy swords by the truck load and keeping up the pace as to never bore the youngest audience members. Forget Justin’s orphaned sadness – he does. So too will anyone watching as the action flares up.

To be clear, Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie is insultingly dumb and phony. It’s big screen hooey. Ninety minutes of film once ran through theater projectors, acting as a promotional piece for a TV series – that people paid to see. But, this is authentic Power Rangers. Energy exuded by this clump of colorful excess matches that of the small screen. An idle storyline barely delivers any take home message, yet it’s like a treat of pop cinema.

Look no further than Hilary Shepard as villain Divatox (the toxic diva…) who acts with such a ludicrously pure, hammy performance she bests Ivan Ooze from Power Rangers: The Movie – and Ooze was the best part. She gets it. While the Ranger teens play out a hero shtick with little maneuvering allowed, Shepard’s boisterous mania embellishes the joy of Power Rangers, and this movie, warts, faults, and chintz included, does too.

Video

Shout Factory debuts Turbo on a fair Blu-ray. It’s evident the source is not a new scan or even a particularly high-res one. Source detail sags when the disc tries to render jungle foliage or any wide shot. In close-ups, improvement is minimal.

Messy grain covers the frame, marginally resolved. On the print, specks of dust pass by and damage calls out to help clean things up. No one answered though.

However, color saturates, substantially so. Ranger suits bloom with their primary colors, solid and rich. All of this is untouched by digital grading and natural. That matters with flesh tones, staying organic with plenty of intensity everywhere else. Greenery on the island setting pops, and when lava becomes a key story component, those oranges glow.

Audio

While too fond of the rear soundstage, DTS-HD takes over and fills every channel. It’s active and excessive in the best ways. Environmental ambiance never slows down. From bird calls to other animal sounds, there’s a constant presence in the rears. Scenes of jet skis and cars panning around likewise keep up the attack.

With wide separation, positional effects always capture the needed direction. If the movie isn’t subtle, then neither is the sound mix. The only real control is in the low-end, still punchy and pronounced if never reaching a depth of pricier popcorn entertainment.

Extras

Shout tracks down Blake Foster, Catherine Sutherland, and Nakia Burrise, interviewing them for a 23-minute retrospective on the film and the subsequent show. They speak candidly about their Comic Con presence and their roles in Power Ranger lore. An EPK featurette from 1997 runs four minutes, and two trailers fill in additional space.

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.

Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie
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  • Audio
  • Extras
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Movie

More in line with the show it’s part of than the original, Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie brings the kookiness of the source material to bigger screens.

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