It’s Morphin’ Time!

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We were first introduced to the spandex suited Power Rangers almost 23 years ago when the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers made their debut in 1993. Each ranger was differentiated by their suit color.  There were 6 rangers in the beginning, the Red Ranger (Jason and Rocky), the Blue Ranger (Billy), the Pink Ranger (Kimberly and Kat), the Yellow Ranger (Trini and Aisha), the Black Ranger (Zack and Adam) and, of course, the Green-White Ranger (Tommy).  A little known fact is that the Green-White Ranger was only supposed to be a temporary addition, but his character was so popular, Tommy remained a main character and even starred in later Ranger renditions, and he holds the title Greatest Ranger of all time.

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Over the years, the Power Rangers have been reinvented time and again in various movies and themed TV shows.  Once again, the Rangers are heading for the big screen.  In May of 2014, Saban, the original creator of Power Rangers, and Lionsgate Entertainment announced that a new Power Rangers reboot movie was in the works. It was initially set to be released in cinemas by July 2016, but Lionsgate has delayed the release until January of 2017.

At the end of every movie or TV series, the Rangers always prevailed against evil, but not long ago, Adi Shankar, a filmmaker and executive producer of the 2012 movie, Dredd, made a “Bootleg Universe” version of the Power Rangers.  His version of the TV show explores a timeline where the Rangers lose.  It starred Dawson’s Creek star, James Van Der Beek and Battlestar Galactica heroine, Katee Sackhoff.  The film Shankar made gave a lot of us, especially those who grew up watching the TV show, a tiny glimmer of hope that maybe some studio might take over the new movie project and give fans a movie with dark and gritty Power Rangers.

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(Still from Adi Shankar’s Bootleg Universe Power Rangers short film with James Van Der Beek and Katee Sackhoff.)

Casual movie fans thought the timing between the Power Rangers reboot and the release of Shankar’s short film might be an informal announcement that the new reboot film might be serious, gritty and dark, as opposed to the “PAK-POW-BANG!” days of the nineties. (Queue awesome Rangers pose with perfectly-timed Michael Bay-ish explosions in the background) That is not the case according to the director of the film, Dean Israelite, “I think it’s going to be a fun, joyful [movie], but one that feels completely grounded in a real world, with real characters going through real things.”

For the fans that loved the 90’s Rangers and want a nostalgia fix, calm down, there is no need to worry about the apparent “more mature” nature of the film.  Jason David Frank, professional MMA fighter and the actor who played Tommy Oliver, said that he even might be involved in the project. It was also rumored that some of the original cast may return for cameos in the film.

Much more recently, The Hollywood Reporter confirmed that Award-winning Actress-Director, Elizabeth Banks, has been cast as Rita Repulsa, the main villain of Season 1 of Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers fame.  Banks is a veteran actress most recently known for her role as Effie Trinket in The Hunger Games franchise and her directorial debut for Pitch Perfect 2 (the latter giving her the record for highest opening weekend gross for a first-time director).

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(Movie poster of the first Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers movie.)

A lot of fans are still skeptical about the idea of a Power Rangers movie. Remember the last one?  If you don’t, consider yourself spared a little misery.  If you do, then you remember the movie was a phenomenal flop – both critically and in the box office.  The addition of Elizabeth Banks gives this film a bit more credibility.  Fans of the TV show, like myself, are just hoping that we get something good this time.

If nothing else, it will be interesting seeing Elizabeth Banks portray Rita Repulsa.  Do you buy the idea of this…

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Becoming this…

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