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Oh no, Power Rangers!

By Bert Ehrmann

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Fort Wayne Reader

2017-03-22


I was born in the 1970s, was a kid in the 1980s and came of age in the 1990s. That means to me that my childhood was full of things like Star Wars, G.I. Joe, Transformers and Secret Wars. So, by the late 1980s I was transitioning out of kid pop-culture and into teen culture and my tastes were changing and by the mid–1990s, for the most part, I was only into grown-up things. So when the Power Rangers TV series first premiered in 1993 I was in college and was totally uninterested in it. To me, Power Rangers has always been, and will always be, kids stuff.

As a result, the new Power Rangers movie is the first sci-fi TV series to movie that I have no connection with and very little desire to see.
Power Rangers has never had its The Dark Knight Returns moment like Batman did where that character transitioned from something that would appeal to just kids but to adults as well. Or even with Batman: The Animated Series that was a kids cartoon that also had deeper elements that adults could enjoy too. Whenever I’ve sat down with friends’ kids and watched Power Rangers alongside them they love the show but the adults in the room can’t stand it since the show’s one-note — good guys vs bad guys where the good guys always win.
Which is great for kids, but not so much for grownups.

That’s not to say that I’m against media appealing to just kids. I remember as a kid loving things like G.I. Joe and Transformers cartoons, but watching those same cartoons now is a total bummer. The stories are so paper thin and obvious you’d have to be 10 years old to appreciate them. Which is perfect for 10 year olds.

However, both G.I. Joe and Transformers did have things that were more adult in nature. There was the animated The Transformers: The Movie that had a decent story and actually had violence where characters died. And the original G.I. Joe comic book was never as one-note as the TV series and focused on adult themes and subjects. In fact, when the comic was re-released in graphic novel form a few years ago I bought ever volume and found that the stories within were still great even today decades years after they were originally produced.

But for Power Rangers this never happened.

I do wonder who the market is for this new Power Rangers movie? It’s got to be those who’ve grown up with the series the last few decades as well as children who are currently watching the show. Good or bad, Power Rangers has been one of the most popular kids series of all time. Since the show debuted some 24 years ago there’s been hundreds of episodes produced and the series is still going strong.

Well, “produced” in a weird sort of way.

Power Rangers is actually an offshoot of the Japanese action series Super Sentai Series. What happens are all the action scenes with the Power Rangers and Zords doing battle with the bad guys are lifted from the Sentai series which are then married with new live action elements shot here in North America. So when Jason and Billy are walking around Angel Grove, that’s shot here. But when they “morph” into the Power Rangers that’s all elements shot years ago overseas. In any episode about 10 minutes of new footage is created along with lots of voiceover for the bits already shot in Japan.

And because each episode of Power Rangers contains much less footage than the average TV series and there aren’t really any new special effects shots since all that stuff is already done, means there can be a whopping 60 episodes in a season.

Regardless, I doubt very much I’ll ever see this new Power Rangers movie. That is unless someone comes along and tells me that it’s more interesting than it seems now. Otherwise, it’ll be one of those shows I catch one day on cable, watch 15 minutes of and turn over to watch something more interesting like re-runs of Leave it to Beaver.

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