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Go Go Read Some Early ‘Power Rangers’ Reviews

Power Rangers reboot costumes
Lionsgate

 

This week’s most high-profile release is the big Power Rangers reboot (I’m sorry, that’s Saban‘s Power Rangers, please nobody sue me) and the earliest round of reviews has begun to surface over the past few day or so. They are, to put it somewhat charitably, mixed. The early consensus is that the film squanders what could have been remake-ready material — a multiethnic group of telegenic teens working together to form a gigantic robot that battles evil aliens sounds like a pretty hard concept to foul up — with a generic and often painfully unfunny take. Take a look at Indiewire’s review, which forewarns of horribly miscalculated jokes revolving around bovine reproductive material:

It really isn’t that weird that someone spent $105 million on a “Power Rangers” movie in 2017. What’s weird is that someone spent $105 million on a “Power Rangers” movie in 2017, and then decided that it should open with a gag about a teenage boy inadvertently masturbating a bull…

Moviegoers old enough to buy their own ticket may not know this, but ‘Mighty Morphin Power Rangers’ — a kitschy, brilliantly resourceful kids TV series that debuted in 1993 by wrapping an original story about a fresh-faced team of American superheroes around the oodles of colorful, exaggeratedly dubbed battle footage that it borrowed from a popular Japanese show — is still on the air. And while the program’s current iteration probably doesn’t politicize this point, there’s no denying the timeliness of a saga about a multi-racial squad of high schoolers who can only achieve their true power and transform into a giant robot (Megazord!!) by “putting down their masks” and working together to defeat an ancient evil. And yet, for all of its surprising relevance, “Power Rangers” feels hopelessly lost in time. There is an audience for this movie, but this movie has no idea who that audience might be.

Screen Daily has also unveiled their take on the new would-be blockbuster, echoing the frustration with the tonal mishmash of sophomoric comedy and bland action bluster:

A teen group therapy session disguised as a superhero movie, Power Rangers is numbingly predictable and cynically made, recycling myriad blockbuster tropes but draining their adolescent pleasures in the process. Based on the loony Japanese series, which morphed into an equally goofy American TV show, this more sincere big-screen version wants to honour its characters’ high-school angst while maintaining the property’s campy spirit. However, neither tone works.

One positive thing the critics could agree on, however, was Elizabeth Banks’ all-in performance as the resident villainess Rita Repulsa. The Hollywood Reporter declared that her “sheer campiness” was unmatched in the film, while Variety offered the tantalizing description of “a leering and mottled punk dominatrix with a fixation on gold that marks her as a witch-princess for our time.” If parents will be forced by their kids to attend this big-budget spectacle, they can at least take heart in the fact that Elizabeth Banks seemingly had a blast earning what must have been a hefty paycheck.

Power Rangers come to theaters on Friday, by which point we can probably expect a critical backlash to these negative reviews, and then a backlash to that backlash, and then a well-considered article about overdoing it on backlash, and then of course, the backlash to that piece. Truly, Power Rangers shall be the La La Land of movies about robots and aliens fighting.

 

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