MIGHTY MORPHIN POWER RANGERS Sea­son One

They’re still mighty naff

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Reviews - An­drew Os­mond

RE­LEASED 26 JUNE 1993 | PG | DVD Cre­ators Haim Sa­ban, Shuki Levy Cast Machiko Soga, Austin St John, Ja­son David Frank, Wal­ter Jones, Amy Jo John­son, Thuy Trang

“Al­pha, Rita’s es­caped! Re­cruit a team of teenagers with at­ti­tude!” If you were a teenager in the 1990s, with or with­out at­ti­tude, you were al­ready too old to watch Power Rangers. It doesn’t have any hid­den depths or jokes for older view­ers. In­deed, it’s pretty ex­cru­ci­at­ing as adult view­ing.

Power Rangers of­fers wacky “gi­ant” rub­ber mon­sters to make Doc­tor Who’s Myrka look like Godzilla; car­toon char­ac­ters to make Scooby-Doo look like Buffy; a minc­ing comic-re­lief ro­bot that makes C-3PO look like Robo­Cop; and lurches in re­al­ity that make Mul­hol­land Drive look like Corona­tion Street. Oh, it’s mad, but that’s not the same as good.

Five young teens – three boys, two girls – are sum­moned by an in­ter-di­men­sional be­ing called Zor­don. Bad news: Earth’s be­ing at­tacked by a space sor­cer­ess called Rita Repulsa. She’s played by campily sexy Ja­panese ac­tress Machiko Soga, with her voice scream­ingly over­dubbed.

Rita’s cun­ning strat­egy is to send lu­di­crous mon­sters to at­tack our heroes’ home town, An­gel Grove. Luck­ily Zor­don lets the teens “morph” into kick-ass, colour-coded masked heroes, the Rangers. They fight Rita’s mon­sters by kick­ing and biff­ing them in un­healthily im­itable ways, or else board­ing ro­bot di­nosaurs and com­bin­ing their pow­ers.

The episodes are ex­tremely for­mu­laic, though some mon­sters are high­lights through what-am-I-watch­ing ridicu­lous­ness: there’s a bal­loon-like toad with a mo­hi­can, and a gi­ant tur­tle that can re­place his head with a can­non. When you can’t see the ac­tors’ faces, you’re prob­a­bly watch­ing footage from Ja­pan. Power Rangers was an ex­er­cise in lo­cal­i­sa­tion, splic­ing Amer­i­can ac­tors with a Ja­panese TV fran­chise, Su­per Sen­tai.

It’s hard to sit through the episodes (this box set of­fers 60!), but you can nav­i­gate an eas­ier path by pick­ing out the multi-episode “tent­pole” sto­ries, which are live­lier and come closer to ac­tual drama – sev­eral such arcs in­volve the Green Ranger, ini­tially in­tro­duced as a Rita-wor­ship­ping en­emy char­ac­ter. Ac­tor Ja­son David Frank would stay with the fran­chise for many years, while most of his co-stars would soon bail and be re­placed.

We sus­pect many of the view­ers grew out of Rangers fast too.

Ex­tras None.

No­to­ri­ously, Trini morphs into the plainly male Yel­low Ranger. Su­per Sen­tai typ­i­cally only had one girl in their bat­tle teams.

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