Fans of Saban’s long-running Power Rangers franchise have by now seen a teaser poster for the hotly-anticipated feature film reboot of the popular children’s superhero/martial-arts series, along with a reveal of the Rangers’ redesigned armored suits and even early looks at actress Elizabeth Banks as villainess Rita Repulsa. However, a trailer has yet to be released for the film – though, that may change by the time San Diego Comic-Con 2016 rolls around.
The 2017 Power Rangers movie retains the basic setup for the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers TV show (five teenagers from Angel Grove do battle with Rita Repulsa), but little is known about the story before that – or even what sort of overall aesthetic the film is aiming for. Bryan Cranston, who is portraying the Rangers’ benevolent alien mentor Zordon in the new film, has now shed some light on the movie’s approach to re-imagining the original Power Ranger TV series.
Speaking to Huffington Post, the Breaking Bad star explained that he was at first reluctant to return to the Power Rangers franchise, which he did early acting work for providing voices for monster characters in the early 1990s (the character of “Billy Cranston,” the original Blue Ranger, was named for him):
“I wasn’t really high on it until I talked to the producer and read the script and talked to the director. After that I went, ‘This is different.’ This is as different a reimagining as the ‘Batman’ television series as it became the ‘Batman’ movie series. You can’t compare those two, and nor can you compare this movie version of the ‘Power Rangers’ to that television series. It’s unrecognizable for the most part. There are tenets of the folklore that you hold onto for sure, but the inspiration is different, and the sensibility of it, and the approach to the film making is completely different.”
Cranston subsequently clarified that he was talking about Batman in terms of the difference between the 1960s Adam West TV series and Christopher Nolan’s gritty, realistic take on the character in the popular Dark Knight Trilogy:
“I don’t know if the tone is as dark as [‘The Dark Knight’] because you’re dealing with teenagers. So the appropriateness of that, and real teenage life, and going through high school and the cliques and the popularity or lack thereof, and the bullies and all the different sections and sub-sections of high school life, and the insecurities of these kids and things like that — hopes and dreams — and you embrace all of that into a retelling of the ‘Power Rangers.’ And what you would get is this new version, this new reimagined version.”
Power Rangers has adopted a number of different tones and styles over the years, often necessitated by the unique circumstances under which the series is created: The majority of the action, fighting and special-effects footage for the franchise is culled from Japan’s long-running Super Sentai series of youth-oriented action shows, which typically debut a new team with new enemies based around a new unifying theme each season. As such, various Power Rangers incarnations have featured everything from spacefaring heroics to fairytale adventures to post-apocalyptic wastelands – depending on what the producers could create from the existing material.
While none of the series thus far would be called comparable to Nolan’s vision of Batman, it makes sense that a film drawing inspiration from the ’90s version would aim for an older audience. After all, the fans who grew up on the Mighty Morphin era are largely adults now, and may be curious to see their childhood heroes take on a more modern sensibility. It’s also inevitable that other fans will not want to see Power Rangers deviate from the colorful, deliberately-campy aesthetic that has been its calling card for several decades of continuity.
Power Rangers opens in U.S. theaters on March 24th, 2017.
Source: Huffington Post