A while ago, Tom wrote a post about his hopes for the new Ghostbusters movie. He hoped that the movie would be successful (I think it was) and that it would shut up angry fanboys (does it ever?).
However, I’m going to take the opposite stance here. I am a huge Power Rangers fan, and I’m very excited for the new movie. However, unlike Tom with Ghostbusters, I want them to take the premise that was a huge part of my life growing up and just take a giant dump on it.
This may sound like the opposite of what most people would want, but who genuinely likes Power Rangers because they think it’s good? Probably no one. It’s not cool nor of any passable quality. It’s certainly very enjoyable and has a lot of colors and motion, which is why most people like it and probably why it’s pretty popular with children.
Seeing the trailer makes me a little worried already. It seems like they’re trying to make the characters cool. It also seems like they’re trying to copy the style of recent superhero films. Everything is muted and the bright primary colors of the uniforms have been replaced with vaguely futuristic shiny armor.
Sometimes, that’s cool. I love how they redid the costumes in Luke Cage and Jessica Jones for instance, because they just look ridiculous, but Power Rangers lives and dies with it’s ridiculousness. Making a gritty reboot of a franchise where the characters team up to make a giant robot dinosaur is just going to fail. Taking the opposite approach by leaning in hard to the fantastic aspects of Power Rangers would make for a better movie.
Power Rangers would be tricky to make into a blockbuster with most studios. The ideal scenario would be creative heads with a clear artistic vision (and not one that focuses on being a generic gritty reboot) and for the studios to funnel money into it without much hope of a return on their investment. Power Rangers just isn’t able to sustain its mainstream appeal by it’s very nature. It would be like giving Teletubbies a gritty reboot. Technically possible, but certainly not advisable.
Maybe I’ll be totally off-base, and Power Rangers will be really good. However, it’s extremely difficult to introduce mainstream audiences to niche franchises like this. When Marvel did it with their comic book series, they had a lot going for them. There had already been many superhero movies that were at least moderately successful, they had exceptional casting, and they introduced audiences to a very grounded character. He’s a rich guy who’s super smart and built a robot suit. That’s much more digestible than many other superhero backstories. Then, once audiences were hooked, they began to add more and more fantastic superheroes to the cast.
Power Rangers just doesn’t have the same starting point. Just about everyone knows at least loosely what it is, but the premise is really weird. On the other end, fans who willingly accept the premise are already approaching this movie with apprehension. In addition to the odd costume choices of the other characters, Elizabeth Bank’s (whom I’m usually a fan of) Rita Repulsa looks way too fashionable. I also don’t get the snake motif.
I’m just not sure who they’re trying to please with this film. I’m all about artistic interpretation, but, so far, there doesn’t seem to be a clear vision here. Really successful franchises like Marvel stay true to the heart of the source material while making it easier for newcomers to understand. The heart of the source material of Power Rangers is bad fantasy/action movie turned up to eleven.
I genuinely hope the film is bad because I think I’ll enjoy it more. I just don’t want it to be bad like it was in the trailer.