Going straight up Kikaider up in here. REBOOT!
That’s right! I’m sure many of you know already, but it was recently announced via Press Release that Saban Brands has partnered with Lionsgate to produce a brand new Power Rangers feature film set for release sometime before we die…hopefully.
When I seen the announcement the first thing I thought of was Go-Busters. Saban recently announced they skipped Go-Busters in favor of going straight to Kyoryuger. Go-Busters suit and mecha design warrant themselves well to a movie setting, and the main plot of Go-Busters could easily be adapted into a 2 hour film, especially if you only adapt the first arc of the show. Then I realized that was silly, and my thought shifted to an adaption of the Kyoryuger vs. Go-Busters film. A larger film budget would let them bring back the necessary actors and shoot the necessary original footage to remove the Go-Busters and focus on the MMPR, Dino Thunder, and Dino Charge casts.
THEN I finally actually read the press release, and realized that this isn’t just a “feature film.” This is evidently a full scale Hollywood reboot of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. Keep in mind that outside of stating that it was a re-imagining of MMPR, we know nothing about this film. No synopsis, no cast, no crew, no release date, not even a legit title.
They could go the predictable route and name it Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. This allows all of the nostalgia fanboys to recognize the name right away. As much as I don’t like riding a nostalgia train, Mighty Morphin is the Power Rangers that EVERYONE knows, and naming the film after the original series is basically a shoe in for attracting the audience they’re probably gunning for. But does it NEED that? I feel as though they could drop everything (ala the first Transformers) and just name the movie “Power Rangers.” I actually really like this route, as IF this film is successful, it opens the doors for the franchise to go past an MMPR motif, and into a different season, or something completely original. I also like the simplistic title so that it doesn’t necessarily cause confusion between this film, the original series, and the original MMPR the Movie.
This film has SO MUCH potential, and I’m actually really excited for it. Much like the Transformers films brought a bunch of people into the fandom, this movie has potential to do that too. It’s actually rather amazing how small this fandom is compared to how it feels being a part of it. Unfortunately MMPR plagues the fandom. Every single time a news outlet mentions Power Rangers, the comments are flooded with “NOTHING BEATS THE ORIGINAL” and “THE NEW STUFF SUCKS” comments. Occasionally some noble fandom member will stumble in and try to defend the franchise only to get mocked or pushed away. While I think this will more than likely be the case, and this new film might not help at ALL, the film has potential to open people’s eyes to the franchises’ vast history. While the movie is in no way a history lesson, by catching wind and hopping back into the world of Power Rangers, I hope more people start researching the series history, and realize that a lot of great shows and characters lie beyond the MMPR they hold up on such a pedestal. While I’m not expecting the blind MMPR fanboys to realize just how rich this franchise is, it’s something I hope happened. Transformers saw a spike in people researching other facets of the franchise, and I hope the same thing happens here.
I think the biggest question on everyone’s mind is the tone. As stated before, this is just speculation. The movie could be geared entirely towards children, and be a glorified version of the tone we have now in Samurai through Super Megaforce. However I’m anticipating something more. If Saban and Lionsgate were focused on the kid market, I feel they would have set to make a theatrical version of Dino Charge as opposed to rebooting MMPR. By rebooting MMPR, you’re pulling from the kid market that loves Power Rangers, the dedicated fans who have been following the franchise since 1993, AND the big mass of MMPR nostalgia people who will see it simply because it’s their childhood show all grown up. Overall I’m anticipating something in similar style to Transformers, minus the dirty jokes and adult humor. DESPITE the dirty jokes and adult humor, the Transformers films have still been pretty successful to children and adults alike. I feel that with the right writers, directors, and producers, this film can bring a tone that adult fans will eat up, with a setting that kids will still really enjoy.
I want to make point that I don’t WANT some gritty Dark Knight Power Rangers. I also don’t want some adult potty humor satire like the Transformers films. Now I’m part of the camp that actually REALLY likes the Transformers films, but that’s a topic for another day. Given today’s CGI, the right crew can make this into a film with high paced action like today’s Super Hero films, with an overall tone compatible to all ages. If Marvel can pull it off year after year, and Lionsgate being successful with things like The Hunger Games, I have some faith they can pull it off.
What do I want out of this movie? I really just want a fun experience. There are SO MANY possibilities here, that it’s really exciting not knowing what they’re gonna pull from. Given the status of being a film, I fully expect brand new designs. Tsuyoshi Nonaka, a designer for PLEX, has (for fun) did design sketches of an updated MMPR/Zyuranger look that he hoped would someday become a reality. If they’re banking on the MMPR nostalgia, I’m fully expected the base designs for this film to be updated looks at the MMPR/Zyuranger designs. Nonaka has done a fantastic job at updating the designs to today’s modern idea of Super Heroes. The Megazord design needs some tweaking I think, but I can fully see a design of that caliber in CG, charging around the screen fighting the bad guys. This is one of the few times they can go all out and not be strictly tied to what Japan has given us.
Speaking of, I love this concept. Power Rangers has always been an adaption of Sentai, and for years I’ve always pondered what Power Rangers would be like it was an original creation. At the very least, I always wondered what it would be like if they took Sentai’s designs and applied it completely to a US production, not using Sentai footage at all. While this won’t give us an exact idea, given how a Hollywood production is no television show, I think it’s exciting to see Power Rangers jump past the television adaption world. We’ve had two movies that did just that, but being tied to the television show in some fashion still tied it down. They now have an entirely new world to toy around with, and I find that fascinating. I really hope this can be its own, successful thing. We’ll have a movie universe and a show universe running congruently. If Papercutz is up to it, start a whole new comic universe too! Transformers has been successful having so many different universes running at the same time between comics, two television shows, and a film franchise. Power Rangers DOES have that potential, and I really want to see it enter that stage.
Power Rangers has had its ups and downs, but no franchise has really been in an upward slope all the time. I hate bringing up Transformers all the time throughout this, but Transformers is 30 years old, and is still going strong today. The franchise has been in the slumps numerous times, and I really do feel the film franchise brought the Transformers back into the spotlight for both adults and kids alike. I’m hoping Power Rangers can do the same. While a lot of kids know of the franchise, a popular film like this can really give it a boost, and hopefully open the eyes of adult nostalgia fans to look into this franchise beyond the original series. Even if it doesn’t give the fandom a boom, I hope the film can be successful enough to launch Power Rangers into a multi-facet franchise like so many others. I’m incredibly optimistic for this, and I can’t wait to find out more information.