In what is undeniably the most left-field thing to appear on the Internet in the past couple of days, film producer Adi Shankar and director Joseph Khan decided to take the framework of Saturday morning TV’s beloved multi-colored Earth-defending squad, the Power Rangers, and slap on a hardcore coat of paint that’s pretty divorced from what we know. This film, “POWER/RANGERS” introduces us to a hyper-futuristic world taken over by the “Machine Empire” and centers on a rather elaborate interrogation between Rocky (played by James Van Der Beek), who defected to the enemy, and Kimberly (played by Katee Sackhoff). There’s hard talk about the nature of their war against Rita Repulsa, the affects of the Machine Empire’s assimilation into the known human world and the whereabouts of certain Rangers, including the currently-on-the-run Tommy Oliver. If you haven’t yet, take a look below.
Adi Shankar, your experiment was an interesting experience. It had shone a light on some elements of the original story that are conducive to this kind of storytelling you present and sparks a good argument on issues that plague parts of the world we live in. I give you points for creativity. Hell, you brought Carla Perez on board for a role only she could play… for all 5 seconds. That was pretty ballsy.
Glad you got it out of your system.
Now hear me out.
I can only equate this kind of things to how British video game developer, Ninja Theory, created their own interpretation of Devil May Cry, a video game series helmed by Japanese developer, Capcom. Said product, “DmC Devil May Cry”, was met with polarizing opinions among both the media and the established fanbase. Some felt that the reboot was an interesting experiment, while others were up in arms, unable to accept the reshaping of everyone’s beloved son of Sparda, Dante.
I was one of the few who happened to enjoy both the original series AND the Ninja Theory product. What one had in somewhat schlocky story (Capcom), the other had in world building (Ninja Theory). What one had in decent gameplay (NT), the other excelled at (Capcom). Both had great music, but I’m a bit more biased towards Combichrist and Noisia’s soundtrack work for DmC. My point being that both sides of the coin had things that worked for me because they had some aspects that make each of them worthwhile experiences.
Your one-shot, however, doesn’t do that for me and if the world you’ve built does anything, it’s that it hampers any furthering of the Tokusatsu genre in the US.
Maybe you only grew up with what Haim Saban spoon-fed us in our youth with the first three seasons of his show, maybe not, I don’t know. However, there are far better works of the same style (a majority from Japan, too, like the Sentai series that PR borrows from) that incorporate similar story elements, but don’t do it in such an ugly fashion. At the same time, you’re placing an aspect of realism in a universe that bends its own half the time (e.g., Zordon’s vain self-sacrifice to defeat all known evil in the galaxy… only for the Lost Galaxy Rangers to appear and fight evil in their story; the continued existence of the morphing grid, among others) for the sake of the franchise’s longevity.
This is in no way a defense to Saban’s Power Rangers, either. Japanese superhero shows aren’t exactly easy to adapt and while Saban Brands is the most prominent entity adapting this material for the US, they do away with a lot of what makes its Japanese counterpart the more charming and gutsy version. Its shows of bloodletting are done artfully (i.e., GARO), never on as haphazard, soulless or as, frankly, flat a showing as in this short. It amounts to shock value for the sake of shock value and nothing more and it’s this very shock value that is making people eat this up, as if it were the answer to their fledgling prayers for an ‘adult’ take on this medium.
Only but the most casual viewer of Rangers would find anything of value here when there’s already a plethora of work in Japan that embraces an adult attitude, but retains that signature cinematography and feel that only Tokusatsu straight out of Japan can provide. If you surmise that to be too daunting a task to undergo, might I suggest something like Gun Caliber? A most awesome Canadian I know made it, but it’s filmed in Japan, produced in Japan and blocked in the same fashion as these types of shows from Japan… yet it’s intended for people our age!
Blood, sex and nudity, all without sacrificing the filming style/integrity that’s characteristic to this medium. HOW ABOUT THAT SHIT?! Just quenched your thirst with the click of a button!
Challenge yourselves, people. Watch actual Tokusatsu and not this “ironic” attempt at arguing franchise reboots/deboots by using a franchise that gets very minute traction in adults who are just OK with ‘The Zordon Era’ and don’t care to find the better stories that are out there, waiting to be watched.