Overall Grade: B Kid Friendly Grade: D+
Go Go Power Rangers! 4 simple words which sent the theater cheering and applauding. Such is the case with Lionsgate’s new offering, Power Rangers directed by Dean Israelite (who directed Project Almanac in 2015)…it is a film with many nods to the original series.
In short, 5 individuals (Dacre Montgomery plays the Red Ranger, RJ Cyler plays the Blue Ranger, Naomi Scott playes the Pink Ranger, Ludi Lin plays the Black Ranger, and Becky G plays the Yellow Ranger) coincidentally end up in the same mine/quarry, and discover 5 coins/medallions which enables them to become the Power Rangers, guardians who protect the life crystal (the source of life upon the planet it inhabits) hidden below earth’s surface from the evil Rita Repulsa (played by Elizabeth Banks).
The first surprise: the movie didn’t suck. I’ll be honest, I went into the movie with some skepticism (ok, maybe a lot of skepticism). I was born well before the Power Ranger generation, and thus did not watch much of the original show (though I did catch an episode here and there during my college years). When I heard a new movie was being made, my first impression was: oh, no…seriously?! Where have the original ideas gone?! Nevertheless, I found myself laughing, intrigued, and overall enjoying the film from start to finish.
Elizabeth Banks does a good Rita. Sure, she’s not as extreme as Barbara Goodson in the original series (1993-1999), but still appropriately caricaturistic/over-dramatic nonetheless. Each Ranger offers their own basic story arcs which were neither impressive nor very deep, but good enough for the scope of the film. Humor was well spaced and decently executed, special effects were no Jurassic World but they were competently crafted, and both the ending and post-credit scene were thoroughly pleasing.
The second surprise: the movie is not kid friendly, and earns its PG-13 rating by including moderate levels of profanity, partial nudity, sexual innuendos (including masturbation and lesbian molestation references), along with normal superhero violence. Despite all the adult-oriented features, the part which most struck me was the glorification of disrespecting authority. While there are times in life to stand up against evil regimes, the cases in Power Rangers were about praising the disrespecting of parents, police, and the school system. 3 of the Rangers first met in detention, 3 were wanted by police (1 with a home-arrest anklet), the group – without permission – ‘accommodated’ and totaled a parent’s vehicle on more than one occasion, and the list goes on.
Power Rangers is a movie seemingly made for the original audience, most of whom are over the age of 23, and not their 10 year or younger kids. While some may retort pointing out Ranger’s PG-13 rating, many may assume (like I did) the rating to be PG-13 like Star Wars or Iron Man or Lord of the Rings, which are rated based on action and violence alone, and contain near-zero profanity and zero sexual references. Such is not the case with Power Rangers.
Overall I give the film a B grade. When analyzing the movie as a parent, I give Power Rangers a kid friendly grade of D+ and recommend leaving the younger kiddos home with a babysitter, and treat Power Rangers as a fun date night.