“This is your destiny… This is your time.”
It’s a saturday. Five teens make their way to school to serve their saturday detentions, the only way they can graduate after committing their respective misdeeds. There’s the all-American sport star going through a crisis (Montgomery), the fallen popular one (Scott), the awkward nerdy one (Cyler), the eccentric bad boy (Lin) and the lonely outcast (G.). Over the course of their time together they will bond, learn to understand each other, care for each other and form… THE BREAKFAST CLUB.
I kid – through a series of un/fortunate events they will each find a different coloured coin that will give them access to a ship run by Alpha 5 (Hader) and Zordon (Cranston), they will train together in the hope of defeating the all-powerful Rita Repulsa (Banks) – a villain with an alliterative name so you know she’s important. They will morph (a word said so many times within the film I’d love to see a ‘morph’ compilation on Youtube in the near future) and become …. THE POWER RANGERS.
In many ways this film simultaneously had an easy and a hard job to do. Getting the audience into the screen would be easy – since the 1993 debut of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers the franchise has amassed a large following who have grown alongside it. This was the audience that filled the 8.20pm screening I attended at the o2 yesterday. The hard bit would surely be making them happy, they would be the most critical critics of them all.
The screen yesterday was predominately made up with those in their 20’s to mid 30’s; most of whom were hard-core fans to such an extent there was cheering, clapping, whooping and even hollering during some key moments and references. (Side note: I now get how ‘normal’ people feel during Marvel movies – although I watched nearly every episode of every run of Power Rangers the majority of references went over my head.) However, there was something really infectious about the level of joyous enthusiasm that was in that room last night. And the feeling I felt when hearing a snippet of the original theme tune is up there with when I saw the opening rolling credits to ‘The Force Awakens’ at the BFI IMAX, #ChildhoodRevisited.
The film, along with the atmosphere in the room, was filled with warmth. The story is well told and told with care. The characters are given more depth than might be expected for an ensemble piece like this. It’s clear from each’s introduction which Ranger they’ll be and what their character will be like, something which isn’t all that bad. From the moment we first meet Billy (Cyler) it is clear that he’ll be a favourite of the new wave of Power Rangers fans. He’s pitched perfectly in terms of sweetness and comedy – somewhere between Troy (Danny Glover) in Community and Gus (Dulé Hill) in Psych – an endearing and lovable misfit who gets most of the film’s best gags.
It’s not just for the fans though. This is also the perfect introduction for younger audiences – with clear characterisation, the threat of peril never being too frightening, solid action sequences and enough laughs for the parents who feel like they are being ‘dragged’ to see it – there’s more than enough to like about it.
‘Power Rangers’ opened in UK cinemas on 24th March.
Year: 2017 Runtime: 124 minutes Dir: Dean Israelite
Starring: Dacre Montgomery,Naomi Scott, RJ Cyler, Ludi Lin, Becky G., Elizabeth Banks, Bryan Cranston, Bill Hader.