Power Rangers has historically been a pure nostalgia trip for me. Memories or ‘Green With Evil’ and cool posing flood my mind and make it difficult to judge. Recently I’ve watched Power Rangers with my daughter, starting with Mighty Morphin and getting all the way to In Space. Watching it with her has been a great bonding experience and has allowed me to digest Power Rangers as an adult.
As an adult I understand how things work. The show is fundamentally a mish-mash of wrapping an American story around Japanese footage. That’s hard! It did all this against the backdrop of huge budgetary restrictions, using non-union actors and paying them a pittance. So I can give a pass to most things – the acting, editing, effects, writing – as there’s a reason.
But with Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie, I can’t make excuses. All those usual hurdles aren’t there, so they had the chance to make a decent introduction for a new series. There were options! Yet it’s a massive misfire. It’s shit!
Even the worst episodes of MMPR tried to follow some aspects of storytelling. ‘Turbo’ doesn’t even try.
Take for instance the new Turbo powers. Usually, at least in the more serialised Zordon-era, new powers come about as a result of the Zords being destroyed or the current powers being overwhelmed. There would then be a quest where the Rangers discovered their new abilities. Yet in a film, with the time and budget to really tell the story (it’s not like they haven’t done it before in a movie), they just…don’t.
“Oh by the way guys here’s your new powers and Zords. They’re cars!”
“Now I need you to get on a boat to cross an ocean.”
“Zordon, bro, I think you should have given at least one of us a boat”
For me it feels like Zordon knew he was leaving and couldn’t be bothered. This isn’t a long film, but it drags hard. It doesn’t make enough use of the characters and take enough time to set things up correctly.
As usual the actors do they’re best, so no blame there. I’m not a fan of Justin, and how he grows into a Ranger suit, but I can see how that could be a good for a younger audience. There’s a proper Megazord this time! Not an overly shiny CGI creation. The cars being basically naff doesn’t help but it’s a good thing to see a cohesive design language across the film. The suits are fine?
This got a little bit ranty, but even with my understanding of the franchise, Turbo is bad. It makes no effort to tell a cohesive story, and even the jamming in of some classic Rangers doesn’t add anything. This is Power Rangers at it’s cash-grabby worst.