Saban's superpowered teams of teenagers with attitude, aka the Power Rangers, are a cultural phenomenon that has spanned more than 20 years and spawned a multimedia empire that includes comic books, video games and two movies, with a third on the way. It's been nearly 20 years since the last Power Rangers movie and fans have high hopes for 2017's reboot. So what do we want to see from this latest adaptation?
Here are 13 Things We Want to See in the Power Rangers Movie.
12 Original Cast Cameos
Power Rangers is a franchise that spans a generation of viewers and there is a lot of nostalgia for the original series and its cast. While the upcoming film will feature a whole new group of Rangers, it would be nice to see cameos from the original cast — maybe as teachers at Angel Grove High or even simply as people running away from one of the monster attacks. Nothing too intrusive, keep it a simple nod to fans of the original series in the vein of some of Stan Lee’s more subtle cameos.
Who wouldn't love to see the old Tommy Oliver (Jason David Frank) and Kimberly (Amy Jo Johnson) sitting down for a nice bite to eat, only to be sent scrambling for their lives when a monster attack hits Angel Grove? And we'd pay good money to see the original Billy (David Yost) cameo as a science teacher or something. Make it happen, movie execs.
11 Silly One-Liner Quips
Anyone who has watched even a single episode of any season of Power Rangers knows that terrible one-liners are as necessary a part of the show’s formula as bright spandex and giant robots/monster battles. Sometimes we got the impression that the writers would come up with the puns and one-liners first, and then simply find monster footage to fit around it. We'll be needing this in bunches.
From Rita’s famous refrain of “I’ve got a headache” to the Rangers’ most painful of puns, one liners are part of what makes Power Rangers special. Sure, it’s campy, but camp is part of the charm of Angel Grove's defenders, and we hope the upcoming movie embraces that charm in all its campy glory.
10 Bulk & Skull
For silly comic-relief characters, Bulk & Skull actually had one of the most well-defined arcs of any of the characters from the Zordon era of Power Rangers. They started off as incompetent bullies, and during the first season, that’s all they were.
But over time, we saw them struggle to grow up and try to do the right thing, such as a when they tried to become police officers. In Zeo, they even helped save the Rangers at one point, so they clearly had a desire to do good, even if they were bad at it. But their crowning moment of glory comes in the finale of In Space where they stand up to an invading army and declare that they are the Power Rangers in order to draw attention away from bystanders. Incompetent bullies with a heart of gold are a necessary part of the Power Rangers experience, and hopefully we’ll see them in the upcoming movie.
9 Realistic Teenagers
The original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers is clearly a show of the '90s and one of the most obvious — and less creative — ways it displayed this was in the way it characterized its Rangers. While they did grow over time, the teens started as generic stereotypes such as Billy’s “nerdy guy with glasses” or Kimberly’s “ditzy valley girl.” It could be argued that those clichés are part of the original show’s charm, but we’re hoping the new movie gives us characters who are more than just outdated teenage stereotypes.
Having a nerdy Ranger is fine, but showing us that by making him a clumsy oaf who wears glasses and can barely hold his own in a fight is not. Kimberly can love shopping, but give her lines that aren’t just about how her helmet messes up her hair. In other words, make them real people, not cardboard cutouts (or worse, racial stereotypes).
The rumored character descriptions that were released last year did little to make us think Saban was getting super creative with their Rangers in the reboot. Maybe they'll be a bit more complex this time around.
8 Unmorphed Fight Scenes
One of the coolest things about Power Rangers were the unmorphed fight scenes. Don't get us wrong, the suited-up scenes were awesome too, but there was something really satisfying about seeing the rangers fight without the use of their full powers. It made sense that they would have some degree of fighting skill, since Zordon chose them out of all the world's teenagers to act as the Power Rangers.
Plot points aside, it was really neat to watch them beat up a group of Putties before morphing to take on the monster of the week. Hopefully, the movie continues the tradition of giving us awesome unmorphed fights to show off the actors' skills, which they seemingly worked pretty hard on.
7 Zord Originality
C'mon now, who doesn't love a good Zord fight? The super-sized showdowns that wrapped up most episodes were a definite highlight of the Power Rangers series. It made giant robots fighting giant monsters awesome, years before Pacific Rim did it. Granted, the effects were usually pretty bad, and the Zords themselves were clearly just toys, but that was part of the show’s charm. We do expect that the movie will likely use CGI (with an assumed upgrade from the first cinematic outing), and we're hoping the zords look distinct from one another, and yet also, distinctly Power Rangers in style.
One of the many problems of the Transformers movies is that each of the robots looks rather bland and they tend to blend together. Granted, the various zords are most often used to simply form the Megazord, but the Megazord should look unique and be recognizable as the Megazord — not generic giant robot #3031.
6 Don't Go Gritty
From Man of Steel to the most recent Fantastic Four, a lot of superhero movies coming out nowadays come with a grimdark, serious tone. That works fine for heroes like Batman or Daredevil, but it doesn’t fit the tone of the Power Rangers, which is a children’s show first and foremost. The costumes should be bright, the quips common, the characters optimistic and hopeful.
Ideally, this is a movie that fans both old and young can enjoy, because at its core Power Rangers is a show about teenagers in brightly colored costumes fighting scary (but not that scary) monsters. If you try to make that premise dark, grounded, and overly realistic, not only are you utterly missing the point, but you’ll likely end up with a movie that will have audiences laughing for all the wrong reasons.
5 Various Fighting Styles
Another highlight of the old Power Rangers series were the fight scenes and the various fighting styles the Rangers would employ. Some, like Jason and Tommy, used more traditional fighting styles, while Zach used an odd style that more closely resembled dancing than an actual martial art, but it worked for the campy tone of the show. It was also fun to see that the cast, who all had some degree of martial arts training, get to do their own stunts, as we've already discussed.
Of course, looking back, the Rangers were hardly born again Bruce Lees, but it would be nice if the movie gave each of the Rangers a distinct fighting style patterned after a real martial art. The actors don’t need to earn a black belt, but watching people with legitimate skill fight is always more interesting than watching five teens flail randomly at guys in hideous grey costumes.
4 Lord Zedd
Power Rangers has had a ton of villains over the course of its 20+ season run, but our favorite had to be was Lord Zedd. One of the first villains created directly by Saban, Lord Zedd has no Super Sentai equivalent. He showed up at the beginning of the second season as Rita’s boss. He was sick of her failure so he trapped her back inside a space dumpster and took over. No disrespect meant to Rita — she’s a classic villain, one we know we'll be seeing in the reboot — but Lord Zedd was better in every way.
For starters, he looked awesome. His red and silver armor gave him a chilling, skeletal like appearance. Perhaps the most important thing is that he felt like a true threat to the Rangers. His plans had a purpose and a menace to them whereas Rita’s, with a few notable exceptions, seemed like a way to annoy Zordon's troops.
3 Cool New Suits
Before we go any further on this one, let’s be clear that the original suits are iconic. The new suits should seek to emulate that same classic look, but with a few key updates. As classic as the spandex is, it would look really silly on the big screen. Another big problem with the spandex is that it doesn’t look like it could hold up to a swarm of angry bees, let alone a space witch, so hopefully the rangers will get armor that looks like it can actually take a punch.
With that in mind, it doesn’t need to be bulky either, since the rangers have always been agile and quick on their feet. In short, make the suits look like armor, but keep the iconic design.
Director Dean Israelite spoke about the suits' "metaphysical quality," and as long as he lives up to his word, that sounds good to us.
2 A Score By Ron Wasserman
The theme songs for Mighty Morphin Power Rangers are some of the catchiest theme songs in television history, and it’s one of the reasons the show got you hooked. The moment you heard “Go Go Power Rangers,” you knew you were in for a wild ride.
Ron Wasserman’s style was heavily influenced by metal, and while it might have seemed like an odd choice for a kid’s show, no one can argue with the results, as even critics of the series have to admit that the theme song was epic. Hopefully Saban and Lionsgate bring Wasserman back to assist in some capacity on the movie’s score, because it just wouldn’t be a Power Rangers movie without Wasserman’s music to get us hyped.
1 Tommy Oliver
Tommy Oliver is one of the most, if not the most, popular character to appear in the original series. Over the course of Power Rangers' 20-plus year run, he has held the mantle of five different Rangers: Green, White, Zeo Red, Turbo Red and Dino Thunder Black. For fans of the original series, he is best known for being the Green and White ranger, after originally being introduced as a villainous creation of Rita during the "Green with Evil" storyline.
He was the first villain to really challenge the Rangers and make them fear defeat. He was eventually saved from Rita’s control and became a force for good. We don’t expect to see the Green Ranger show up in the new movie, but seeing Tommy Oliver as the new kid in town and friend to the team would be a great way to lay the groundwork for the Green Ranger storyline in a potential sequel.
What do you want to see from the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers? Let us know in the comments.