Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie (1995)
August 21, 2011 3 Comments
Having just completed a fund-raising skydive, the Power Rangers (Jason David Frank, Amy Jo Johnson, David Yost, Johnny Yong Bosch, Karen Ashley and Steve Cardenas) find themselves called to a local construction site when wannabe villains Lord Zedd and Rita Repulsa unleash Ivan Ooze from a mystical egg. Distracted by a contingent of minions, the Power Rangers are unable to protect their command centre, leaving Zordon defenceless. Defeated by Ooze, Zordon is no longer able to power his Rangers, leaving him no choice but to transport them to the planet of Phaedos so that they might learn the secret of the Ninjetti and stop Ooze before he takes over the world. Or something.
There is a generation of cinemagoers who, through no fault of their own, fell in love with a multi-coloured pack of putty-kicking, animal-spirited Power Rangers. Hell, it was the 90s – normal rules didn’t apply. It was a time in which backflips were in, character development was out and “Break in Case of Emergency” signs signalled a knee to the balls of a giant robot. Like the rest of the decade, with its tank tops and headbands, this film has aged about as well as stale milk.
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie, based on the hit television show and – perhaps tellingly – excessive merchandising, was almost an assured hit for 20th Century Fox. Ranking in fourth place at the U.S. box-office, the movie instead heralded the end of a series that would go on to revitalise itself over a number of incarnations with less and less success. By no means a box office disaster, the film was nevertheless panned by critics and a thorn in the side of accompanying adults.
Revisiting this landmark film it is difficult now to see what all the fuss was about. It is nearly impossible to tell what was imagined first in the filmmaking process: the catchphrases or the choreography; the action figures or the costume design; the box-office predictions or the lacklustre plot. The film smacks of insincerity, of commerciality and cynicism, as the Power Rangers – filmed separately from the scenes featuring the regular cast members – backflip around the plasticky sets in a variety of different outfits.
Nostalgia is a powerful influence, however, and no matter how disenfranchised (and just plain embarassed) I might have felt after the credits had finished rolling – to Shampoo’s God-awful “Trouble” no less – my memory of the film was left practically untarnished. The dialogue may be corny, the special effects may be neither special or effective, and the soundtrack and ninja noises may leave you wanting to burst your eardrums with anything at hand, but it is freakin’ Power Rangers: The Movie! And even sixteen years on, that still means something.