Director: Dean Israelite
Cast: Dacre Montgomery, Naomi Scott, RJ Cyler, Becky G, Ludi Lin, Bryan Cranston, Elizabeth Banks
Age Restriction: 7–9PG L V
Runtime: 2hrs 4min
Release date: 24 March 2017
Movie remakes from the 1980's have become quite the trend in Hollywood, with films such as Robocop and The Karate Kid getting new makeovers. With majority of the 80's done and dusted; it is now time for the film industry to turn their attention to the next decade... the 90's.
Some of the many 90's properties announced as remakes include the popular kids television show, Power Rangers.
After much controversy over the costumes and the few minor changes from the TV show; the Power Rangers remake has officially hit theatres. Does it defy its modest expectations set by the controversy? But more importantly, is it any good?
South African-born director, Dean Israelite (Project Almanac) helms the remake which tells the origins of our titular heroes.
Power Rangers follows five troubled teenagers: Jason (Dacre Montgomery), Kimberly (Naomi Scott), Billy (RJ Cyler), Trini (Becky G) and Zack (Ludi Lin) – who accidently stumble upon five mysterious coins which grant them superpowers.
After much investigation, the five discover an underground spaceship where they meet their mentor, Zordon (Bryan Cranston). Zordon informs them of their role as the Power Rangers – a group of super-powered heroes who are required to use their new-found abilities to defeat the forces of evil.
Speaking of evil forces, the Rangers have to deal with Rita Repulsa (Elizabeth Banks) – a sinister individual who has recently awoken from her slumber; and is hell bent on destroying the world.
The remake discards the campy childish cheesiness from the original television show, as Israelite's film is a grounded take on the material.
Unlike the kid-friendly TV show, Israelite's mature remake tackles with real-life adolescent issues. The main characters are troubled beings; and the director isn't afraid to insert strong language, complex issues and a sombre tone.
Overall; Israelite's spin on the material works well, and is definitely one of the film's biggest highlights. The screenplay by John Gatins surprisingly delivers, as Power Rangers bucks the trend and establishes itself as a satisfying remake.
The story is quite entertaining, the controversial costumes fit in with the film's tone, Gatins' script digs deep with regards to its characters, and the cast do an exceptional job in the acting department.
Those who were concerned over Elizabeth Banks' (known for her comedic roles) casting as the villainous Rita Repulsa need not fear. The actress – no doubt the film's standout – is devilishly excellent as the formidable Rita, and has a real knack for villainy and scaring the living daylights out of you.
While the remake does a fine job in exploring the origins of the Power Rangers in detail – it is also one of the film's biggest flaws.
The origin takes up half of the film, thus holding it back from truly living up to its full potential. Because of the origin blockage, Power Rangers doesn't get enough time explore more of its vast mythology; and it takes a while before the first action sequence kicks in.
However; once we do get to the action, the wait is absolutely worth it. Israelite's remake features stylish action and lavish CGI that breaks new ground. The Ranger suits look fantastic; the Zords (which look better than the robots from Transformers) will have long-time fans cheering with glee, and the cinematography makes the film feel large in scope.
Verdict: Stylish action, an enjoyable plot, deep character exploration, along with an impressive performance from Elizabeth Banks; director Dean Israelite's grounded take on the Power Rangers works wonders.