There is no denying that Dean Israelite’s Power Rangers is not a masterpiece. It is however a convincing reminder that not everything coming from a creatively bankrupt culture of reboots and blatant unoriginality shapes up to be completely awful.
This one’s actually quite fun.
It wasn’t really envisioned to elevate its source material from the repetitive Americanized sentai series to modern-day art. The film exists for the simple reason that it pays to vigorously mine nostalgia, as we’ve come to see through years that saw every childhood favorite be remade and redone to cater to the fancies not only of kids but also of those who were formerly kids during the time when those properties were still hits.
What is at least arguable is that the film comes closest to imbibing the corny heart of the source material without necessarily abandoning the need to update it for audiences who demand a certain bit of sophistication for their cinema. (WATCH: ‘Power Rangers’ official trailer released)
The result is a film that is adamantly disjointed.
The first part is a plodding origin story that starts with a high schooler (Dacre Montgomery) figuring into a car crash that ruins his promise of being a star athlete. He is then holed up with other school outcasts who eventually become his teammates. Kimberly (Naomi Scott) is formerly one of the popular girls until a racy photo of her ends up in the internet. Billy (RJ Cyler) is the stereotypical nerd whose emotionless ramblings about science and inventions reveal what essentially is a good heart.
In one of their teenage adventures out of their town where nothing happens to the nearby gold mine, they end up with mysterious coins that bestow on them great strength and agility. They also meet Zack (Ludi Lin), a carefree kid who lives in a trailer with his ailing mom and Trini (Becky G.), a plucky rebel from a very conservative family.
The latter part, which roughly starts when ruthless Rita Repulsa (Elizabeth Banks) starts attacking the town and the 5 would-be heroes finally start morphing into their gleaming color-coded costumes, feels closer to the television series.
With a climax, the film itself morphs into that awkward teen angst movie into the hyperactive toy and donut ad that seems to be its ultimate purpose. This is glorious capitalism at work, and as a creature of capitalist culture, it is sinfully fascinating.
The genius of Israelite’s Power Rangers however is that it is so admirably fluent in defining its protagonists as a group of nobodies who are about to do great things.
In a surprisingly affecting scene where Zack and Trini reveal their true selves that are hiding under a sheen of cool daredevilry and indifference, the film immediately connects to the modern world’s multitudes of outsiders who veil their insecurities with quick fixes. What the film does for the franchise is to finally depict its heroes not as unachievable idols but as fractured teens who suffer the same familiar persecution from a world where normalcy is an unreasonable demand.
Heart and reasons
So yeah, Power Rangers is defiantly big and dumb, but it reasons with its manufactured but engrossing heart. I don’t really mind buying into it. – Rappler.com
Francis Joseph Cruz litigates for a living and writes about cinema for fun. The first Filipino movie he saw in the theaters was Carlo J. Caparas’ ‘Tirad Pass.’ Since then, he’s been on a mission to find better memories with Philippine cinema.
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