The movie reboot of Power Rangers is almost here, following months of fan speculation and teasing over what the redesigned Power Rangers characters and villains will look like in the film. Responses to the movie’s redesigns have been mixed so far, with Rita Repulsa’s new design and the Rangers’ updated armor both attracting criticism from fans. The modernized Zords have received a more positive reception, however, as has Bryan Cranston’s look as Zordon.
One character redesign that confused fans somewhat, is that of Goldar. In the original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers TV show, Goldar was Rita’s loyal henchman and a monstrous figure in his own right. What has been seen of Goldar’s updated appearance is markedly different, however. The new creation has done away with the character’s more animal-like features and instead takes the Goldar title very literally, looking like a pool of molten gold in a rough humanoid form.
Speaking to EW, Power Rangers production designer, Andrew Menzies, has now provided some insight into this design, claiming it was a joint choice made by himself and director Dean Israelite:
“Dean and I talked about him being faceless and intimidating and characterless. He’s an extension of Rita that’s unstoppable. I think as humans we always search for character in a face and if it’s always shifting and changing, it becomes scary.”
Israelite himself adds:
“There’s something very beautiful about him… All of the negative space that’s constantly in Goldar’s design feels very eerie, but on the other hand, he’s a kinetic sculpture.”
Talk of ‘kinetic sculpture’ perhaps sounds like jargon more associated with modern art and the new Goldar certainly looks like something that might be put on display at such a gallery. Menzies’ assertion that having no face makes the character more intimidating demonstrates the brave new direction the Power Rangers reboot is heading in, though it’s hard not to disagree – given the countless scary characters in film and TV who do have facial features.
It could be also argued that in all the talk of beauty and negative space, it should be remembered that Power Rangers is merely an action movie based on a kids TV show. Clearly, the reboot is taking itself far more seriously than the television series ever did but nevertheless, making Goldar faceless also takes away his personality and the audience’s ability to relate to him in any way. Whether this will lead to a more effective villain remains to be seen but generally, shapeless, featureless characters are more forgettable than those with more detail and form.
With that said, a direct adaptation of the Goldar from the TV show wouldn’t have worked either. The character was played for laughs as much as he was used as a villain and the creature’s dog-like features would likely have been considered corny by today’s standards. It has been suggested that the new Goldar may be some kind of Zord for Rita Repulsa and if so, it makes sense that he’d be presented as a less anthropomorphic being.