Saturday 8 October 2016

Power Rangers 2017 Movie First Teaser Impressions

Power Rangers Movie Teaser

As a blog that tends to deal in reviews more than news I've generally avoided covering anything that relates to the forthcoming Mighty Morphin Power Rangers movie reboot from Lionsgate and Saban Brands. However with the first teaser trailer making its debut at this year's New York Comic Con, it's time to break that silence. Over the past few months we've been treated to casting news, character posters and even the odd movie still, but this is the very first time we get to see anything in motion. Keep reading to check out the teaser trailer, along with some general thoughts on how the movie seems to be shaping up.

Running for a total length of two minutes and 20 seconds, this is a pretty hefty trailer to be billed as a teaser. Compare this for example to the teaser for the 2007 Transformers movie, which was about as teaser-y as it gets. But despite its length, this trailer actually tells us very little about the movie as a whole - which is a pretty amazing feat given how spoiler-laden trailers tend to be these days. Instead this trailer sets about introducing the characters and how they'll eventually progress into the Power Rangers everyone is eager to see, with only a very brief snippet of the suits at the very end. It does EXACTLY what a good teaser trailer should do - it leaves you hanging at just the right point so you're eager to see more.

Moving onto the characters themselves, they're quite different from the loveable but horrendously one-note bunch from the original series. The movie is set to take the whole "teenagers with attitude" slogan down a route that's far less a product of the 90s. Our rangers here each have their own personal issues to come to terms with as well as the oncoming storm of being superheroes, and this is what is going to bring them together. Some will call it "angsty" and to some degree they're probably right, but personally I'd much rather go with calling it believable. The perfect student/walking stereotype rangers were pretty unbelievable back then, and it's an element that certainly wouldn't work now. Many have said that the presentation of its cast gives Power Rangers a very Breakfast Club-vibe, which is a pretty accurate assessment. What's also notable is that here the team aren't handpicked by Zordon to become rangers, they seem to come across the Power Coins themselves. That not only gives their coming to terms with their powers a more personal edge, but shows that anyone can be a Power Ranger - a message that the franchise has always tried its best to spread.

A rather interesting divergence from the source material (but not Power Rangers overall) is that here the Power Coins provide the cast with superhuman strength and abilities outside of suit as well as in. Now the franchise dabbled in civilian powers throughout the Disney era of the show, but the original cast were already pretty adept in martial arts before receiving their powers. Again this makes the setting far more believable in my eyes - especially since the rangers aren't getting handpicked this time around.  Five martial artists were never the type of people to fall victim to bullies like Bulk and Skull after all (on that note - the inclusion of a bully here brings hope that they will indeed be included in some way). The trailers scenes of the rangers getting to grips with their new abilities ("It's not a piece of cake!") should be a good source of fun, and already remind me a lot of Peter's situation in the first Sam Raimi Spider-Man movie.

The focus on the teenagers also means the downplaying of the film's more supernatural cast, so sadly no glimpse of Bryan Cranston's Zordon or Alpha 5 on show here. What we do get to see towards the end however is our first look at Elizabeth Banks' Rita Repulsa, who's already shaping up to be a much more active threat to the rangers than the original was. Not only is she attacking the rangers when they're vulnerable, but she's delivering that threat with the line of "I've killed rangers before". Now its always been assumed that Zordon had rangers long before Jason, Zack, Billy, Trini and Kimberly were on the scene, but having it confirmed in this new movie universe is pretty great (plus it also adds to the "so apparent it has to happen" rumours of this green armour-glad Rita using the Dragon coin). An actress like Banks is too good to waste up in a moon palace exclaiming she has a headache, and the writers know it.

However that isn't to say the trailer is perfect - unfortunately its pretty full of the standard Hollywood cliches that tend to make films like this just blend into each other after a while. For a film based on a series about brightly coloured spandex-clad heroes, the general aesthetic here is pretty drab. Sure it fits the bill for the character introductions they're going for, but it's not going to instil any hope in those fearing Power Rangers is going to become yet another "gritty Hollywood reboot" (though god forbid, there are those out there hoping it'll be like the Power/Rangers fan film as well). Another ill-fitting addition is Halsey's cover of "I Walk the Line" by Johnny Cash. This isn't a judgement of the song's overall quality (I'm not a fan, but different strokes etc.), but more the fact that the whole "swelling female-vocalled cover of a classic song" has become such an overused trailer trope that it's as bad as the ones that just have a soundtrack that just goes "BWAAAAAM" every few seconds. Thankfully things pick up once the music changes up, and those few notes of the classic theme tune are the perfect note to end the teaser on.

Overall it's a pretty promising start to a project many have feared the worst from. It won't be enough to please everyone, but by the looks of it the trailer was enough to drum up interest from more than just existing Power Rangers fans and a bunch of movie news website. Mission accomplished.

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