The Power Rangers are being repackaged for a new generation, and already things seem incredibly confusing
The constant stream of superhero reboots seems to a never-ending conveyor belt, and in 2017 it’s the the turn of The Power Rangers to be reborn on the big screen.
Yep, that’s right. The arm-flailing, zord-riding action goofballs of the ’90s are coming back, with a new cast and a potential franchise on the cards.
— Power Rangers (@ThePowerRangers) June 22, 2016
From all the comments from the film’s cast so far (which boasts both Elizabeth Banks and Bryan Cranston), it seems that this is set to be a ‘dark re-imagining’ of the Rangers universe – which seems odd, when your source material was a US high school drama, spliced together with action clips from a Japanese series.
Here’s a round-up of what we know so far about this strange project.
There’s villain controversy
As previously mentioned, Elizabeth Banks has joined the project as the villainous Rita Repulsa – an intergalactic sorceress who is set on world domination.
Repulsa has been transformed from this:
Despite the fact that this new sleek, sexed-up female villain is all kinds of obvious, some fans accused the movie of ‘whitewashing’ by replacing Japanese actress Machiko Soga with the white American Elizabeth Banks.
While we don’t think there’s anything to say a intergalactic sorceress must be played by a Japanese actress, it’s still not a good look for a supposedly modern reboot.
There’s suit controversy
We were given a sneak peek at the new-look Rangers by US media site Entertainment Weekly, which saw them ditching the polyester blend numbers for something a little more futuristic.
Transforming from this:
In a move that can only be best described as ‘bold’, the costume designers have somehow managed to regress the gender politics of a franchise that made women dress in pink and yellow, while guys had ‘macho colours’ like blue and red.
Just to make sure you can tell the difference between the male and female Power Rangers, the women have now been given high-heeled boots for extra sass and ginormous Dolly Parton style breast plates – and fans have noticed:
They had to give the new Power Rangers heels because apparently the ginormous boobs didn't make it obvious enough that they were girls. 😒
— Anna Lynne Walls (@annabalynne) May 13, 2016
The Cranston Factor
On the surface, bringing in Bryan Cranston to play the Power Rangers guiding voice Zordon is an an attempt to give the film a serious and darker edge.
In fact, Cranston himself recently spoke to The Huffington Post about his decision to get on board, and compared the new film to The Dark Knight in terms of reinvention:
“This is as different a reimagining as the Batman television series as it became the Batman [The Dark Knight] movie series. You can’t compare those two, and nor can you compare this movie version of the Power Rangers to that television series. It’s unrecognizable for the most part.
“There are tenets of the folklore that you hold onto for sure, but the inspiration is different, and the sensibility of it, and the approach to the film making is completely different.”
Here’s the bizarre bit, however. Long before the days of Breaking Bad or Malcolm In the Middle – Cranston was in the the original Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers TV series.
The actor gave his vocal talents to a number of monsters in the show, as seen in this clip of the Rangers duking it out with a giant lizard:
In fact, Bryan was so involved in the early stages that the nerdy Blue Ranger ‘Billy Cranston’ was named after him.
The popular bootleg
In 2014, music video and film director Joseph Kahn decided to make his own bootleg version of the Rangers story, titled Power/Rangers.
The short fan film was part of film producer Adi Shakar’s ‘Bootleg Universe’ and was initially planned as a parody of the dark reinventions of kids’ movies.
The issue is, this legally dubious version turned out to be hugely popular, and currently sits on 18 million views on Shankar’s Youtube.
It received plenty of praise from critics and even some of the original film’s cast.
Could this be the first occasion where an online fan film proves to be far wider viewed than the Hollywood blockbuster? It seems anything is possible with this weird, weird project.
Power Rangers is set for release in 2017