FILM REVIEW - Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers: The Movie
So I had a couple of other reviews in the pipeline, but I fast-forwarded this one. Just a few days ago we received the news that Jason David Frank, the actor that played the original Green Ranger in Power Rangers had passed away. I can’t express how much he was a key part of my childhood. I wondered what would be the best tribute to him, and decided to watch this film.
‘Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers: The Movie’ is set between Seasons 2 and 3 of the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers TV show, however, some differences in the film suggest that it may be in its own continuity. The film starts with the Rangers raising money for a local charity. Somewhere in Angel Grove, a group of builders unearth a contraption that seems to have something or someone trapped in it. That night, intergalactic villains, Lord Zedd and Rita Repulsa warp down and unlock the cage and from it emerges Ivan Ooze, a universal menace that seeks to take over the world and get revenge on Zordon, the mentor of the Power Rangers. The Rangers confront him but are soon dispatched to fight his children, whilst Ooze heads over to their command centre. He destroys the power in the building, thus rendering the glass case that houses Zordon obsolete. With the command centre destroyed, the Rangers are left with no power and upon their return, they learn that Zordon is now dying without the help of his life support. He tells them of a planet named Phaedos where they can discover a new power that may help. Whilst the Rangers set off on their mission, Ivan Ooze decides to take over Lord Zedd and Rita Repulsa’s lair and renders them obsolete by trapping them in a snow globe. He uses his ooze to hypnotise the adults of Angel Grove into digging up his Ecto-Morphicons, two large machines with destructive capabilities. Meanwhile, on Phaedos the Rangers encounter a warrior named Dulcea, who reveals to them new animal powers within themselves. They travel to the heart of Phaedos to unlock the ultimate power, but can they succeed in their mission? And will this power be enough to restore Zordon and stop Ivan Ooze in his tracks?
One of the things that made this film so iconic was that it kept the cast from the actual TV shows. For kids in the 90’s watching this, it was amazing to see the jump from TV to film. The main ranger cast included Steve Cardenas as Rocky, the Red Ranger, Jonny Yong Bosch as Adam, the Black Ranger, Karan Ashley as Aisha, the Yellow Ranger, David Yost as Billy, the Blue Ranger, Amy Jo Johnson as Kimberly, the Pink Ranger and Jason David Frank as Tommy, the White Ranger. Having a mix of the Season 1 characters, ie Tommy, Kimberly and Billy along with some of the latter seasons' characters, ie Rocky, Adam and Aisha meant that kids who had watched either saw some of their favourite rangers. Paul Freeman plays Ivan Ooze and credit to him, he plays a camp but highly intense villain well. When I checked his filmography, I saw that he was also the villain René Belloq in ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’ which completely blows my mind. He’s obviously an extremely competent actor, so the fact that 20th Century Fox was able to get him for this film cracks me up!
I know this is a kids’ film, and when I was watching I was reminiscing on what it was like when I watched this for the first time. The truth is, even now, I still enjoyed it just as much. Many of the qualms about the Power Rangers series as a TV show are that the episodes are essentially repetitive and it’s the same plot. This film received the same criticism, but I’m like well that equation is what made the show so iconic. A monster is unleashed. The Rangers battle it and destroy it. The monster grows. Then they fight it again in their Zords. Why mess with a classic? Haha, but on a level, the film does well to bridge that gap from TV show to film and many of the scenes seem worthy of that film quality. Few films that bring me right back to the 90s and make me feel like a kid again, but this is certainly up there!
Speaking of the ’90s, I have to absolutely shout out to the music department. This film had such a prominent soundtrack and it was so 90’s. It’s been one of the few films that I’ve reviewed where I’ve appreciated the music. In terms of cinematography, it’s interesting to note that this film used no footage from the Japanese Super Sentai series, from which much of the TV show is formed. The suits were made for this film alone, and I really liked them. You can tell there’s a lot more padding rather than spandex but it made the Rangers look like actual heroes. Overall, this film is a definite blast from the past and I loved watching it, and more importantly, I loved remembering how much Jason David Frank meant to me. He was and will always be the greatest Power Ranger. May he rest in peace.