If you keep up with my articles you will have seen that for the past few weeks I have been reviewing the new Mighty Morphin Power Rangers comics by Boom! Studios. I won’t lie as I wrote Power Rangers off a long time ago as a silly kids show, bar a few brief resurgences in interest. But in recent years nostalgia has let me revisit the franchise with fond memories. For me the franchise gave me one of my oldest friendships, as one of the guys in my class was a huge fan and to this day we are both still friends. It featured my first crush which was a love for martial arts and Kaiju an it was one of my first ever fandom experiences. Power Rangers was pretty awesome for its time, it was a groundbreaking kids show as it had a multicultural cast (though maybe some of the costume choices where a little racially insensitive), it had an overall story arc and not to mention the tight spandex, lots of tight spandex. The show was far from perfect as it was campy and it had a shit tonne of merchandise, which I am not complaining about although my parents would probably have a few complaints about that but it’s totally worth it.
I write this now because just last month it was announced that Bryan Cranston will be returning to Power Rangers, I say returning because earlier in his career this award winning actor voiced a Power Ranger’s monster in the form of Snizzard. Armed with this tidbit I decided to have a trip down memory lane and look at the franchise as a whole.
The franchise has lasted quite a while pretty much airing nonstop since 1992 with not only a movie reboot on the way but also further shows airing to at least 2018, that is 26 years worth of entertainment, 26 years of toys, stickers, video games, comic books, costumes, books and of course music. I mention the music because the theme tune was one of the shows best aspects, well the original series because let’s face it everything since then has just been a pale imitation of the original. To this day there is still a strong following for the original theme song so if you’re one of those who loved it there is always more, you can always go check out Mighty Morphin Power Rangers the Album: A Rock Adventure (released as Power Rangers the Album: A Rock Adventure in the UK). It’s a pretty intense concept album that bounced about for a short time back in the 90’s.
By now you probably realized that I am a total nerd for Power Rangers and that I am really excited for the new film. But what has me the most excited, well it’s the Zords. Remember the robot dinosaurs, let me repeat that FUCKING ROBOT DINOSAURS, like how can you top that?
These where the toys every kid wanted. I know the cynical logical guy in my head thinks if they just used the Zords right from the start then the fight would be over and done with far quicker, though the big kid in me was just satisfied to see some epic battles on the ground and in the mighty machines. I had more Zords than I would care to admit, sadly I no longer own them, but I would love to get my dam hands on a Dragonzord for nostalgia sake. The mecha where one of the series biggest appeals and helped an entire generation get into things like Godzilla and maybe without them we wouldn’t have had the film Pacific Rim.
Of course it wasn’t just the toys and the show there where the games as well and for me it was always going to be Sega Geniuses/Mega drive and the Game Gear. I am pretty sure I played these games til they broke. They where all to generic and at times dull but for a kid that loved the series they where awesome, days off school sick where anything but a chore when I had the Power Rangers to keep me company.
With collectible cards, a stage show and God knows how many other spin offs Power Rangers really came at the right time. But what about now? I already said the series never really stopped there as there have been other rangers since the beginning and in that way I have to pay my respects to the creators in that they had the balls to go on. You look at shows like Glee where the cast was supposed to change but never did, Power Rangers kept going and never batted an eye lash about it, though in some cases they where able to bring old characters back, like in Forever Red, where all but one Red Ranger came back. So for the fans that loved the original you really have three options.
Option 1 – Live in the past and just watch old reruns – This is perfectly fine watch the original series and its sequels, plus the film and think to yourself, man how did Bryan Singer’s Apocalypse loose to the Power Rangers so easily?
Option 2 – Check Out Boom! Studios new comic book, it’s a great retelling of the original series and it has really updated and modernized what the original gave us.
Option 3 – Go see the new film. The cast looks like it’s going to be awesome, with Elisabeth Banks and Bryan Cranston in lead roles you know it can’t suck. It’s going to be fun and hopefully a kick ass film that will be more like Transformers one rather than TMNT where it pays homage to the original while still drawing in new fans.
Its been a surprisingly successful franchise bouncing back between owners several times and I am sure Disney are kicking themselves over loosing access to it, just imagine a world where Jedi, Zords, Spiderman and Captain Jack Sparrow all hang out and have little Inside Out emotions in their heads.
Though I would be remiss if I didn’t mention a certain Bootleg film that came out a few years back. If you have not seen this before its a unique if not dark take on the Power Rangers. It was directed by Joseph Kahn, as in the guy that did all the latest Taylor Swift videos, also some of the all time greatest music videos such as Knights of Cydonia, Everybody (Backstreets Back) and Hero. He brings his eye for story telling to this short and it’s brilliant in so many ways. It makes a lot of subtle nods to the original cast and series and tells the story that is a little tainted, the kids are now washed up child soldiers left to deal with a major loss and many of them are mysteriously dying off, if you have not seen if check it out, though for those that need more incentive the film features James Van Der Beek and Katee Sackhoff. This is the film that a lot of people wanted and it is awesome but it isn’t what Power Rangers is. It lacks the upbeat fun loving nature of the original and it’s weird because I loved it but I am hoping that the new 2017 release ditches some of the camp in favor of this style of filming while still staying fun.
So I find my self surprisingly excited for this new film and look forward to their presence at San Diego Comic-Con 2016.