Since 1993, the Power Rangers franchise has been one of the most successful in history. The original idea, mixing footage from a Japanese kids show with brand-new U.S. footage, was crazy and yet it became a monster hit that sold out toys around the country. It has survived over twenty years, three networks and several incarnations to establish itself as a mainstay of pop culture. On March 24th, the franchise is set to get a major kick with a brand new big-screen reboot that’s getting major buzz. It promises to bring the “teenagers with attitude” into the 21st century and utilize cutting-edge FX to get fans going. However, the early trailers, while scoring huge numbers, are bringing in a lot of worries from fans on what direction the movie is going to take. And early indications are that it’s going to be a very bad one.
It’s not as if it’s the first attempted reboot of a beloved property to completely miss what made the original work. But while the movie seems to capture the main strokes of the franchise, it also seems to miss what made it so popular in the first place. Music, outfits, the overall tone, all of it is giving major warning signs that this is not going to be the fantastic revival fans wanted but rather a total mess. True, some movies can have bad trailers and surprise us with good results, but this doesn’t look like one of them. Here are 15 major reasons why the upcoming Power Rangers film looks like it’s going to be horrible and not the return to glory fans wanted.
15. We Get An Angsty Kimberly
To its credit, the movie does seem to have the casting well in hand as Naomi Scott most resembles her original character. However, the way she’s portrayed seems off. As played by Amy Jo Johnson, the Pink Ranger was a bright and chipper girl, an expert gymnast who enjoyed shopping and loved great outfits. She was the bright light to the squad and brought great humor to the part. The movie version appears to be the “fallen high school queen” with Kimberly laughed at by some classmates and screwing up to get detention. This leads to the moment in the trailer where Kimberly does one of the most tired tropes around, giving herself a haircut to show off her “new strength”. While there are flashes of humor, it’s more sardonic than funny and not quite fitting for the character. Scott looks good in the role and might be a bit brighter in the final film but having the Pink Ranger packing so much angst isn’t a good move for the film.
14. There’s No Bulk And Skull?!
This may be a small bit but many fans do cite it as a concern. On the show, Bulk and Skull were the comic relief; a pair of arrogant bullies in the first season, not that dangerous and often bungling. They grew popular with fans and so shifted to more likeable goofballs whose antics included hopelessly chasing the Rangers’ true identities, joining the local police force and even getting turned into monkeys. The two basically became a key part of the mythos, hanging around various incarnations of the team and a good balance to the heroics. It looks like they are completely absent from the movie however, which is a bad move. It was fun to see some “grounded” characters and much needed comedy stuff that the movie could use. True, the film’s take on harsh bullying might have made them more villains but if this film is trying to capture the early days of the franchise, including these guys would have been a good touch.
13. Some Character Changes
Sometimes change can be good. Even the most ardent fan of the original show has to admit it was troubling that the Black Ranger was African-American while the Yellow Ranger was Asian. However, some of the changes seemingly made to the characters are troubling. As noted, Kimberly looks far more filled with angst rather than the bright gal she should be. Making Billy black isn’t bad but he does seem to be not quite as nerdy with some obsessive compulsive disorder. Jason looks to have gotten in trouble with the law, complete with an ankle bracelet and not quite the clean-cut leader of the team. Zack still has a cool vibe but reports are it’s mostly a front for his really rough home life. And Trini is constantly picked on as a chubby gal. It may be beefing it up for modern audiences but it also runs the risk of ruining the characters fans have come to love so much and making the film a bit too “dark” for its own good.
12. The Breakfast Club Knock Off
A key bit of the show was that the Rangers were friends before becoming a team. An odd pack but still friends. The film’s setup seems to be literally The Breakfast Club as the five are barely familiar with each other before being sentenced to detention together, leading to them finding the magic coins. Normally, playing off John Hughes is a good thing but the line from the trailer on “we’re all screw-ups” doesn’t exactly make the Rangers look really heroic. If anything, it just highlights them as a batch of misfits just in the right place at the right time rather than heroically chosen for a specific reason. The fact they seem to have to be pushed to take on the roles rather than accept them right off is always bothersome, not exactly “heroes” that fans expect. Seeing them become a team is good but it would be better to show how they at least were on good terms before being thrust into saving the world together. Again, a sign of how the movie is trying too hard for a “gritty aspect” that misses the fun the original product had.
11. Bad Humor
To go with the darker aspects, the trailers’ few attempts at humor aren’t really promising. Trini talks about how “I found an alien spaceship, pretty sure I’m a super-hero now” and her mom immediately demands she pee in a cup for a drug test. Zack gets smacked by a hologram and Billy remarks “that’s a strong-ass hologram.” The only one that really comes off okay is Kimberly meeting Zordon with “we’re talking to a wall.” While there are chances the final film has more, it seems the movie is going for a bit of crass humor and missing the fact that the original series could be damn funny. Indeed, the humor was key to its success, accepting the zany nature of things and having some real fun with it. The new movie appears to be ignoring that, its tries at humor falling flat or too “adult” and thus another sign of missing what made the original series so popular with its fanbase.
10. The Teens Have Powers Without “Powering Up”?
The big thing of the original series was the kids were regular in their “real identities” (albeit skilled in martial arts) and only got powers when they were the Rangers. The movie seems to push a new idea in that shortly after finding the coins, the teens start to exhibit powers on their own. Jason is shown suddenly with a six-pack, Kimberly crushes a glass in her hand and when a bully headbutts Billy, it’s the bully who’s knocked out cold. They’re also shown leaping over vast distances with no problems. This clearly is the influence of the movie Chronicle with the teens with powers already but it also takes away the thrill aspect of how they need to power up in order to fight the bad guys on equal terms. It seems a way for the filmmakers to do the big hero stuff without the need for the suits, which is a problem when the key part of the franchise is seeing them in the suits. Then again, there’s some concern in that one already…
9. The Suits
Mention Power Rangers and an image of the suits is the first thing that pops into mind. The five brightly colored suits, red, blue, yellow, pink and black. They’ve been through several designs over the years but still retain the basics and have become a mainstay on the “cosplay” circuit. True, spandex has issues and can look silly but the new suits don’t exactly spread confidence either. Making them real armor does sound promising but it also makes them look far too bulky and unrealistic. Witness the bit in the second trailer where we see them fight, it looks unnatural and not as smooth as they should be. That’s not to mention bits like how the Yellow and Pink Rangers have literal breast plates and high heels. There’s also how the visors seem to retract to show the actor’s faces which is something few of the series have done. Given how great Marvel has made the Iron Man suits work on screen (including how Tony Stark is shown inside the helmet), they could have done more with this. While they can look cool at first glance, seeing the suits actually move shows how less is really more when it comes to Ranger designs.
8. Zordon Looks Boring
Casting Bryan Cranston as Zordon is an offbeat choice but had promise. The Emmy-winner is known for both comedy (Malcolm in the Middle) and high drama (Breaking Bad) and has just the deep and warm voice needed for their alien mentor. Yet the first sight in the second trailer doesn’t have the wonder he should. The “holographic wall” has promise but not quite as striking as that giant floating head did. Also, the voice seems off, not the deep booming tones of the TV version of Zordon. Frankly, it just sounds like Walter White trying to explain terms like “Destiny” and “morphin” which comes off downright silly. It must have been an easy paycheque for Cranston, just some voice and digital facial work and rumors they may alter the voice for the final film. But as it is, it just seems a waste of a big star for a role that could have made the same impact with most any actor.
7. Kimberly And Jason?
One moment from both trailers that has fans up in arms is the brief bit of Kimberly and Jason in a room and kissing. On the show, the obvious romantic thread was always Kimberly and Green/White Ranger Tommy and fans still adore that couple. Jason and Kim were just friends (although a deleted scene from the Turbo movie indicated they were dating) and the addition of this romance just comes out of nowhere. It’s more notable due to how the movie seems to be presenting the teens as practically strangers before coming together and so this romance comes even more sudden. The actors seem good in the roles but fans are still hopeful a sequel can introduce Tommy to push him with Kim— having her and Jason together just doesn’t seem right. It may just be a bit of them pushed by circumstances but trying to hook the Red and Pink Rangers up together isn’t something fans want to see.
6. The FX
It should be remembered that the original Power Rangers footage came from a Japanese TV show made in the 1980s. So, it’s no surprise the special effects were more than a little on the cheap side. That was part of the charm, the nutty aspects adding to the camp appeal and while the show’s effects could improve, the producers knew keeping to some “cheap” aspects made it look good. Indeed, a weakness of the 1995 feature film was the CGI for the Zords looking bad. CGI has improved drastically since then but the FX in this film still seems rough. The sight of the Rangers doing “super jumps” looks downright silly and as already noted, the suits look a mess (albeit, the “morphing” itself not too bad). The Zords look like rejects from the Michael Bay Transformers movies and the sight of the Megazord is nowhere near as epic as it should be. Again, while the original show was never known for cutting-edge stuff, the FX here bring back unpleasant memories of such messes as the 2015 Fantastic Four movie and how this could be the next disaster.
5. A Pathetic Goldar
One of the key showcases of how crazy the original series was had to be Goldar. Rita’s enforcer and Henchman, he was a strange lion/monkey hybrid in golden armor and wings who served as her right-hand monster. He was often more sane than the rest of her pack of idiot helpers and got some good fights against the Rangers. Goldar was part of the show for several seasons and even the 1995 movie and it was naturally assumed he’d be in this as well. However, the trailers and early toys show the filmmakers are taking the “gold” part a bit too literally. It looks rather than her chief aide, Goldar is just some creation of Rita’s to attack Angel Grove. Aside from the bulky build and wings, it looks nothing like the original character, just a big ugly pile of gold metal. The trailer shows him just stumbling around for the big final battle and looking just downright nasty. If this is supposed to be the movie’s grand climax, it’s likely to be a major letdown and a bad way to waste a big character from the show.
4. Alpha Fail
There is a segment that finds him more annoying than Jar Jar Binks. However, to most Power Rangers fans, Alpha 5 is a key to the entire show. Zordon’s robotic helper, the funny robot was noted for his panicky mode and tendency to yell out “Ai-yi-yi-yi!” whenever danger struck. Surprisingly helpful, he was a loveable character who aided several Rangers teams over the years and any incarnation of the show would have to use him. But fans have been worried when concept art leaked showing the same golden dish head but a body far shorter with pinched arms and even a “beer gut” aspect. It looks dumb in the brief shot in the second trailer but even worse is the voice by Bill Hader, sardonic and snide when he talks to the Rangers (his line of “I was expecting something a bit more” can easily apply to Alpha himself). Transforming the chipper and high-wound Alpha into a sarcastic clown isn’t a good way to win fans over.
3. Which Audience Is This Meant For?
As with any attempt at a reboot, the movie faces the challenge of winning a new audience while also keeping to the old. The thing is, for fans of the classic Power Rangers, it’s not like there aren’t any options for reliving those days or introducing their kids to them. You can find all the original series on Netflix with a new one currently airing on Nick. As noted, so many changes to the mythos can drive fans away and keep them from enjoying the new movie. Meanwhile, for non-fans, this can seem a bit silly and over the top (ignoring that’s what made the original show a hit) and the trailers aren’t making a good case for newbies to jump into it. There are plenty of colorful super-heroes to enjoy as Power Rangers can carry the stigma of being “just for kids” that will be tough to win over the very young adult audience this movie needs to be a success. The movie and its promotion seems to be confusing from mixing Kayne songs to the rough humor as the entire “kids chosen to be suited heroes” bit can be too light-hearted for fans of series like The Hunger Games. The movie really doesn’t seem to know which audience to go for and that mixed message can lead to a bad result at the box office.
2. Rita’s A Disappointment
Rita Repulsa was the first major villain of the Power Rangers franchise and thus any movie version would have to include her. The original version (taken from the old Japanese footage) was a wild sight with her white hair in a pair of horn-like buns, an outlandish dress and voiced over to sound screeching and wild. It was funny seeing her berate her incompetent helpers and scream about having a headache and thus damn funny. The casting of Elizabeth Banks had folks very interested in her going all out in a costume. But then the images hit and fans were rocked at the sight of Rita in a green armored suit with golden nails, looking totally outlandish and not in a good way. It’s been confirmed now that Rita was once a Green Ranger millennia ago who went evil and a fan theory is going around that she’s no longer human but possessing Trina’s mother. Her scenes in the trailer show her summoning monsters and it looks like Banks is going to have some fun in the role. However, the changes just come off way too dramatic with too much new mythology. Rita can be fun but the movie looks to just make her too gritty and dark and the outfit is nowhere near as appealing despite Banks’ charm.
1. The Tone
The tone of the film really is the major concern of so many fans. It started with the early trailer set to a new take on “Walk the Line,” emphasizing a rough high school setting (Trina seeing spray paint on her locker to kill herself) and the teens as misfits. It pushes it more with Rita attacking Trina in her room and purring on “killing Rangers before.” The second trailer just adds to it despite some attempts at fun as it just looks like the movie is trying to take a franchise known for its wonderful humor and charm and make it too “realistic.” The filmmakers seem pushed less by the actual Power Rangers lore and more by young adult movies, trying to put in too much angst, drama and darkness. Yes, the suits can look fun but the movie looks to be going for more showing how such major battles can work in real life, marring the cheesy fun of the show. That was always what made Power Rangers so loveable, it knew it was cheesy and campy and crazy but it used that, rolling with it and that’s why it retained so many fans. This movie just looks to be using the names and concept but lacking that same charm. More than anything, the attempt to make Power Rangers feel “real” is the key reason this new version is going to sink fast.