Power Rangers may very well be one of the bigger questions out there for next year. Here we have a film that’s based on a hit TV kids show. While the show still runs on TV today, it’s mostly remembered from its original heyday back in the mid-1990s. If you’re like me, and grew up watching the Power Rangers, this film may have some real nostalgia points, but unlike a lot of great childhood TV shows…Power Rangers doesn’t hold up.
Heck, Power Rangers didn’t even hold up back then. We were just too young to realize how bad it really was. As such, going into this new feature film, they had to make big tonal changes in order to make it appeal to a wider audience — an audience beyond those who would recognize it from their childhood.
But, of course, the $64,000 question is whether or not the film will be recognized as a true Power Rangers film once the necessary changes have been made. This past weekend at New York Comic Con, fans got a chance to see the brand new trailer, and as a skeptic, I have to say, I kind of dug it.
So here are 5 things I liked about the new Power Rangers teaser trailer — or things we like from the film as implied by the teaser trailer.
This was going to be the toughest thing to nail from the show. As I stated above, the show doesn’t work. At least not to my adult-addled brain. Then about a year ago, Adi Shankar produced the Power/Rangers Unauthorized short that took a dark sci-fi approach and put a Power Rangers skin over it. A lot of folks online really seemed to like it, but it never rubbed me the right way. As a piece of independent online filmmaking it was interesting, but as a Power Rangers short…nah. It failed to capture what was truly interesting about the series. Instead, it was like a 14-year-old was given free rein to put in whatever he thought was cool.
So I wasn’t sure how they’d handle this one, but it looks like they took a note out of director Josh Trank and writer Max Landis’ book and took the tone for Chronicle, mixed it in with The Breakfast Club, gave it an extra dose of YA, and threw it into a stew to give us The Power Rangers. Is it serious? To an extent, yes, it takes itself seriously, but it doesn’t look like it takes itself so seriously that it’s completely devoid of fun. It looks like there’ll be plenty of teen hi-jinks in store for our heroes that can help balance the tone from the crazy, out-of-world drama we’re bound to get.
THE CHARACTER FOCUS
This was another big question. What would the ratio of badass battle scenes be to actual character development? I loved the series growing up, and I loved the movie that came out of it as well, but even I have to admit that the actual character development wasn’t too hot. Most of the focus was on the mission itself and the powers they were given. Even as a kid, when watching that first Mighty Morphin Power Rangers movie from the ‘90s, I knew I felt a void in my gut, and that void was character development. I didn’t care about any of the characters.
With this new Power Rangers film, it looks like the filmmakers will be taking the extra time to actually let us know who these Rangers are before they put them into a world-ending scenario. In the teaser we see Billy and Trini being bullied, Jason in some sort of broken home situations, Kimberly getting fed up with (who I’m assuming are) jealous friends, and Zack is something of a loner. They seem to be basing them on very generic archetypes (as the show did) but digging just a bit deeper beneath the surface. With that extra bit of depth, I think they can turn this into something very special.
THEIR OUT-OF-SUIT ABILITIES
Who knew these Power Coins would give the Rangers abilities outside of their suit? I remember watching the inevitable circumstances in the show when they’d get ambushed by a gang of Putties, and get their asses handed to them left and right. Then one of them would cry out something like “we need our powers!” before morphing into their suits.
With this interpretation, however, it looks like they won’t be going the standard suited-only powers. I can’t speak to the specifics — it looks like their powers may be directly linked to them touching their coins — but the fact that they’ll have heightened abilities outside of their suits will definitely add a lot of fun dynamics. During the shots we had of them at school, I certainly got something of a Spider-Man feel that I think could be great to play with. It’ll also be a lot less limiting in the fight scenes, as we’ll actually be able to get to see the Rangers kick ass without their suits, which would help to prevent CG overload, as well as add an extra dose of impact when they do finally don the suits.
Did you know I was dumb and petty? Well, I am. Even as kid, I was annoyed by the attire of the Rangers. Why in the hell would they all coordinate by their suit color? I get the idea behind it, but it’s just. so. dumb!
While the film doesn’t look like it will be nixing the color schemes altogether, it does look like they’ll be scaling them back quite a bit. Yes, Jason will have some red in his clothes, but not so much that it’s cheesy and overpowering. It’ll be just enough so that we’ll be able to tell. The world isn’t a black-and-white place, and I get the feeling that in putting the Rangers in more varied attire, they’re implying the ability to have more gray themes throughout the actual film.
Am I reading into this too much? Probably. But there is no question that this will likely give a more nuanced version of the Rangers than we’ve had in the past, so I’ll just go with it.
THE CITY OF ANGEL GROVE
This is another indication of the whole “nuanced storytelling” thing. In the TV show, Angel Grove was some cookie cutter, picture perfect, annoyingly colorful, white bread city that, for some reason or another, kept getting attacked by the likes of Zed and Rita Repulsa. God knows what they saw in that boring-ass town, but they certainly kept going for it.
The new version of Angel Grove, as shown in this teaser, looks a bit more real. Is it fun and exciting? No. But it does look like a real place. A place that someone could have actually grown up. It has crappy schools, a crappy sign, and all sorts of real world issues that will help keep it closer to audiences. It’ll also help to make the juxtaposition to their amazing powers that much greater when held up to this terrible town. It’ll also give them a broken place worth protecting, and a place they will likely learn to begrudgingly love.
While this wasn’t the most exciting of teaser trailers, I’d argue that it did exactly the job it needed. It gave us a tone, a feel for the characters, and the desire for more. Once I saw the Rangers transforming, I was angry when they cut away, because I had to see them. And there's still so much they need to show us. While this teaser was rather extensive, we didn’t get a glimpse of Zordon, Alpha, or the Command Center, and as an old-school Power Rangers fan, I’ll be looking forward to seeing those in the next trailer.
What did you think? What did you like (or dislike) about the new teaser? Let us know in the comments down below!