Friday 9 November 2012

Movie REVIEW: Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie

Saban Turbo A Power Rangers Movie

With Power Rangers Zeo ending on a rather high note (the return of Lord Zedd and Rita), the next instalment in the Power Rangers franchise seemed to promise to be a good one. Amping up the scale, Power Rangers took to cinema screens for a second time, only this time around the film was in continuity with the television series. Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie was originally released in 1997 and bridged the gap between Power Rangers Zeo and the next series Power Rangers Turbo. It served as an introduction to the turbo powers, as well as new blue ranger Justin and new villain Divatox.

Saban Turbo A Power Rangers Movie Suits
I already miss the Zeo suits.

On a distant planet, a wizard named Larigot is hunted by the space pirate Divatox, who seeks his golden key in order to travel to another dimension to marry an demon known as Maligore. Larigot transports himself to Earth in search of Zordon and Alpha for help, but despite finding them is taken by Divatox when she threatens the life of his wife and child. To make matters worse, Divatox has also kidnapped Bulk, Skull, Jason and Kimberly, planning to use the latter two as sacrifices to awaken Maligore.

With Rocky hospitalised due to a back injury, the four remaining rangers take on new turbo powers and zords in order to cross the dimensional barrier on a mysterious ship named the Ghost Galleon. When they reach the ship, they are joined by a new blue ranger - Justin, a child who attends the Angel Grove Youth Shelter (which the teens are trying to raise money to save) and accidentally stumbled upon the rangers' identities. Armed with new powers and zords, the turbo rangers travel across the Nemesis Triangle in order to stop Divatox and put an end to Maligore.

Saban Turbo A Power Rangers Movie Divatox
Space pirate Divatox

So the most important question raised in this film is, what happened to the Zeo powers? Well, that isn't exactly explained very well. It's established that the keys to the turbo morphers work like Larigot's golden key (allowing them to pass into the other dimension), but why an entirely new set of powers is needed to do so (especially when the Zeo powers were forever growing in strength) is a mystery. Of course the real reason is because the show was moving on to use footage from the Super Sentai series Gekisou Sentai Carranger, but a proper in-show reason would have been welcome. After season after season of dinosaurs and mystical beasts, cars just seem a bit bland.

Saban Turbo A Power Rangers Movie Justin
Get used to this face, you're about to start seeing it a whole lot more.

Although he would make a short appearance at the beginning of the Power Rangers Turbo series, this is where we say goodbye to Rocky and hello to Justin. Justin is considered by some fans to be one of, if not the worst characters to serve as a Power Ranger, and in this film its immediately clear why. Other than the fact he discovers who the rangers are, we barely know him as a character before he's chosen to take Rocky's place and has shown no redeeming qualifications worthy of even being considered. From spouting terrible jokes ("Good thing you don't need a license to drive a zord!") to hopping around and proclaiming how much fun this life-or-death situation is, Justin is not only a terrible character but completely overshadows the more serious (and better) veteran rangers. Making a kid a ranger might have seemed like a good idea on paper on how to get children to relate better, but any child watching this would probably have a much better demeanour toward to role than Justin.

Saban Turbo A Power Rangers Movie Maligore
Maligore looks awesome.

Then we have Divatox and her minions Elgar, Rygog and the Piranhatrons (who look like their armour is too small for them here), who we'd be seeing much more of in Power Rangers Turbo. The absence of Rita and Zedd (although the two make a small cameo) and the Machine Empire isn't too bad here, as Divatox doesn't show any desire in conquering the Earth and is simply after Maligore. She isn't a bad villain, but thinly balances on the line between competent and comical. Plus she doesn't really do very much physically, since the action and zord battle are shifted towards the excellent looking Maligore.

Saban Turbo A Power Rangers Movie Lerigot
Larigot escapes David Bowie's Labyrinth and comes in search of Zordon.

One of the biggest problems with Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie was the lack of morphed footage, and that problem is even worse in Turbo. A significant chunk of the beginning of the film is dedicated to Tommy and Kat running around a jungle looking for Lerigot, and then the action shifts to them sailing around on a boat before morphing to simply running around a jungle and fight some piranhatrons. They fail to do anything against Maligore, so the action shifts almost right away to a zord battle. This film needed to be a platform to showcase the new powers and fails miserably at it. But one thing that works in the film's favour is the location footage. There's barely any part of it that takes places in the city, and its refreshing to see a zord battle surrounded by moutains, trees and volcanoes as opposed to roads and buildings.

Saban Turbo A Power Rangers Movie Megazord
The Megazord fight is the only real highlight of the film.

Just to further add to the mysteries raised by Turbo, Bulk, Skull and Lt. Stone are suddenly back on the police force, despite being fired in Zeo and then Bulk and Skull walking away to take a detective case in Paris at the very end. It isn't properly explains, and completely regresses all three characters. Not that there's much relevance to Bulk and Skull's appearance in the film anyway, since they're mostly used for spouting poor jokes in funny accents.

Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie is a very poor start to Power Rangers Turbo. The appearance of veteran rangers and interesting locations don't save the film from its extremely dull plot, lack of action/consistency with the previous season and introducing a character which would be key in the darkest hour the franchise had faced yet. It just goes to show that just because a film is in-continuity, it doesn't make it better.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Those Turbo Ranger Suits and Zords are adopted from Gekisou Sentai CarRanger (1996), a mock-up version of Kousoku Sentai TurboRanger in 1989. And Divatox is an American Character that is not part of Bowzock. The other characters I saw were from CarRanger's Hilarious Enemies: Bowzock!