The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers is a property seeped in nostalgia for many a fan anxiously awaiting its return to the big screen in 2017. With any reboot comes heavy skepticism from long-time fans in fear that their favorite characters and stories will be ruined. The cinematic reboot of the early 1990s TV series is tasked with bringing the franchise up to date, while attempting to appeal to a more mature audience – as well as gaining a new generation of fans. So far, the new Power Rangers movie details have been in the form of production photos and official posters, clearly showing fans exactly how the heroes and their gear have been updated.
The rebooted Power Rangers movie’s storyline keeps the same basic plot as the original Mighty Morphin TV show: Earth is attacked by an evil alien witch named Rita Repulsa (Elizabeth Banks), who threatens to unleash an army of monsters. To put a stop to her destructive plans, Rita’s ancient enemy Zordon (Bryan Cranston) summons five unsuspecting and ordinary teens to become the Power Rangers. With their new armored suits and martial-arts skills, they are able to morph into powerful superheroes (further armed with prehistoric robots called “Zords”) who defend the planet.
“I grew up on it and I have all the same questions other people have. How are we going to update this? How will it exist in the contemporary superhero cinema canon? [I] tried to add naturalism and a grounded nature [and make it] character-driven.”
Israelite also touched on the new Power Rangers costumes during his talks with Empire, saying “We’ve made the suits practically with Weta Workshop, with new cutting-edge tech.” Thus, they’ve left the ’90s and their body-hugging lycra suits behind in favor of more modern and protective suits and helmets. The alien-fighting teens’ flashy new armor and helmets serve a rather practical purpose: the translucent, extraterrestrial suits actually crystallizes around their bodies, providing them better protection when they go up against Rita Repulsa. Their Power Coins, that used to be large pieces of plastic bearing a sticker of their creature counterparts, are now glowing globes encrusted in crystal. The 5 teens themselves are proving to have much more attitude along with edgy personalities.
Israelite does seem to be a fan of the franchise, but he hasn’t fully clarified what the tone of this film will be yet. A “grounded nature” means more realistic – but just how realistic can 5 teenagers morphing into superheroes to defeat aliens be? Maybe what he really means is “less campy” than the earlier TV series. The Power Rangers teaser poster provided fans with a fun surfer-like image of the team, but the character posters show each Ranger in a darker, more serious light. All of this leaves fans wondering what exactly Power Rangers will be like. Using “cutting-edge tech” to create suits sounds good on paper, but updating this franchise will take more than just shiny new armor.
Power Rangers opens in U.S. theaters on March 24th, 2017.