‘Power Rangers” Second Movie Is An Improvement On The Franchise’s Cinematic Debut

Courtesy: Saban Brands/Shout! Factory/20th Century Fox

For those who have not heard lately, the ongoing saga of the proposed Power Rangers movie reboot recently took another turn. The latest update in story is that the reboot will happen, though that could of course change in the blink of an eye.  As audiences wait to see where that story goes, they have another Power Rangers movie to enjoy at home in the form of the newly re-issued Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie.  Set for release July 30, this second entry in the Power Rangers cinematic universe has proven over time to be another divisive entry in that franchise, though not as bad as the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers Movie (1995).  That is due in part to the story at the center of the movie, which will be addressed shortly.  The look and feel of this Power Rangers movie plays into its presentation just as much as its story.  It will be addressed a little later.  The bonus content featured with the movie’s new re-issue rounds out the most important of the re-issue’s most important elements.  It will also be addressed later.  Each noted item is important in its own way to the whole of the movie.  All things considered, they make Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie not the best of the Power Rangers cinematic offerings, but definitely a step up from the first Power Rangers movie.

Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie, the second entry in the Power Rangers cinematic universe, is not the best entry of that franchise.  It is however, an improvement from the first of the Power Rangers movies.  That is due in part to the story at the center of the movie.  The story is the precursor to the then fifth season of Power Rangers.  It sets the stage for Power Rangers Turbo by telling how Divatox came to be the next “baddie” that the Rangers had to face in their never-ending battle against intergalactic villains who are hell bent on galactic domination.

While it does an admirable job setting the stage for Power Rangers Turbo, the story at the center of Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie also suffers slightly in that it fails to fully bridge the divide between Power Rangers Zeo and Power Rangers Turbo.  There are story elements clearly missing here between the two seasons that, had they been included, would have made the story full.  In the same breath, there is a bit of suspension of disbelief issue with the story.  The issue comes in that the movie’s writing team never fully explains why the Rangers needed to upgrade from their powers and zords following the events of Zeo.  In the first few seasons of Power Rangers at the time, the upgrade was always because the villains found ways to destroy the Rangers’ zords, leading to the need (and discovery) of more powerful zords.  In this case, the story never really explained that story element.  To that end, it does leave one scratching one’s head.

Adding to the concerns in the unexplained plot elements, the re-introduction of the original Red Ranger – Austin St. John (as Jason) – and original Pink Ranger – Amy Jo Johnson (as Kimberly) – seems just as unnecessary to the story, especially considering the falling out that led to the pair’s departure early in the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers run, and the whole issue with Jason as the Gold Ranger in the series’ Zeo installment.  Their inclusion doesn’t hurt the story, but it does not necessarily prove its necessity either.

As if all of this is not enough, the writers never do explain how Bulk and Skull got their minds reset by the story’s end.  The pair still seemed to think they were some sort of German figures (not to give away too much).  This was not explained away in the Turbo TV series, either. It’s another minor item, but one that cannot be ignored and detracts from the story even more. That aside, the story still is not a total loss.  The fact that it does not just completely break from canon (unlike Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers Movie) is itself a saving grace, making the story while maybe not perfect, still a positive in its own right to this presentation.  The movie’s story is just one of its most notable elements.  The look and feel of this movie is just as important to note as the movie’s story.

Again, making a comparison to the Power Rangers’ first movie, Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers Movie, the look and feel of this movie is right in line with the franchise’s source material.  Instead of over-the-top metallic type outfits, CG-based zords and fight scenes, and animatronics, this movie’s look, this movie’s creative heads obviously took a lesson from those failures of the franchise’s first movie.  On the surface, this might not seem like much, but in reality, it is very important.  It plays into suspension of disbelief just as much as the movie’s story and its related plot elements.  Viewers who got so used to a certain look from the TV series were justifiably bothered by the look of the first movie.  Having that familiar look from the series re-introduced into this series makes for more comfort for fans, and in turn, at least a little bit more ability to suspend disbelief.  That serves to help viewers enjoy the movie more.  It still is not the last of the movie’s most important elements.  The bonus content featured with the movie’s re-issue rounds out its most important elements.

The bonus content featured with the upcoming Blu-ray re-issue of Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie includes the original short making of featurette and a new, longer and more in-depth featurette, “Ranger Tales: A Look Back At Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie.  Actress Nakia Burrise (who plays Yellow Ranger Tanya) gets the most screen time in this featurette.  One of the most interesting of the stories she shares focuses on the Rangers’ island morphing scene.  New cast member Blake Foster (Blue Ranger Justin) turns the wrong way in said sequence.  Burrise reveals in her interview that this was not planned, adding it actually upset her.  The reason that it upset her will not be revealed here, but rather left for audiences to discover for themselves.  Burrise also exhibits great humility in her discussions about being tapped to become a member of the cast.  That humility makes her an endearing figure.  A now grown-up Foster exhibits just as much humility as he discusses his time on the show in a separate series of interview segments in this featurette.  He talks about the very real tears that flowed off camera as former cast members made way for himself and Burrise.  It is another moving moment.  There are other discussions featured in this new bonus, but again, viewers will be left to discover those talks for themselves.  Between those discussions, the discussions noted here and more, the movie’s new bonus featurette presents its own importance to the whole of Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie.  It will certainly keep the most devoted Power Rangers fan engaged and entertained throughout.  Considering that and the engagement and entertainment that the movie’s story and aesthetics generate, the whole of Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie proves a worthwhile addition to the noted viewers’ home libraries; much more so than the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers movie.

Shout! Factory’s upcoming Blu-ray re-issue of Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie is a worthwhile addition to the home library’s of the most devoted Power Rangers fans.  That includes even fans who already own the movie’s previous releases.  That is mainly because of the new bonus featurette included with the movie’s new re-issue.  The story at the center of the movie is both a pro and a con that only slightly improves on the problems of the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers Movie.  The movie’s aesthetic side helps improve the movie over its predecessor, too.  All three elements noted here are important in their own way to the whole of this movie.  All things considered, they make Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie not the franchise’s best cinematic offering, but definitely an improvement from the franchise’s cinematic debut.  Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie is scheduled for release July 30, and can be pre-ordered online via Shout! Factory’s store.  More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online now at:

 

 

 

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Power Rangers Turbo One Of The Best Of Saban’s Original Franchise

Courtesy:  Shout! Factory/Saban Brands

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/Saban Brands

Shout! Factory has spent just over a decade bringing some of the most well-known and beloved movies and television shows in modern entertainment history.  That dedication to bringing so many great titles back to life has put Shout! Factory at the forefront of the home entertainment business.  This critic’s own opinion is that that dedication has even pushed Shout! Factory past even bigger companies such as Warner Home Video and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment just to name a couple.  Two years ago, Shout! Factory announced a partnership with Saban Brands that has since then cemented even more Shout! Factory’s reputation as a leader in the home entertainment industry.  That’s because the partnership gave distribution rights to Shout! Factory for many of Saban’s Power Rangers series including Saban’s most famous series, Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers.  Shout! Factory started releasing Saban’s Power Rangers series two years ago, starting with the complete seven-season box set.  Last month, it took one more step closer to the end of its deal with Saban with the release of Power Rangers Turbo Volume OnePower Rangers Turbo is one of the more pivotal installments of the original Power Rangers franchise.  That is the case first and foremost because of the show’s writing.  Another reason that this latest installment works so well is its look.  And having finally been released on DVD, the series’ packaging actually plays just as much of a role as the aforementioned factors in its success and enjoyment.    All three factors together make this first volume of episodes from Power Rangers Turbo another must have for any fan of Saban’s original Power Rangers franchise.

Power Rangers Turbo is one of the most important installments of Saban’s original Power Rangers franchise.  That is the case first and foremost because of the series’ writing.  There is much to be said of the writing in this “season.”  The most noticeable aspect of the season’s writing is that unlike the previous Power Rangers movie, Saban has actually this season in to the movie Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie.  At the same time, this season is also a continuation of the previous Power Rangers installment.  The writers are to be commended for having been able to connect both elements together without allowing the franchise to become bogged down.  Even more important to consider from this season is that the writers made this season a major turning point in the original Power Rangers franchise.  It could be said that they made this “season” the beginning of the end for the “Zordon era.”  Zordon is replaced by a new mentor of sorts named Dimitria.  Alpha 5 is replaced by the next Alpha model, Alpha 6.  And the last of the original rangers, Tommy, leaves the series.  He’s not the only ranger to leave, either.    As a matter of fact, audiences see what is an entirely new team this season during the two-part story arc “Passing The Torch.”  As if that’s not enough, Ernie’s juice bar owner Ernie (played since the days of Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers by Richard Genelle) also leaves.  He is written out early in this half of the season thanks to an explanation by Lt. Stone (Gregg Bullock), who ends up taking over Ernie’s juice bar.  So there are lots of changes going on in this half of Season 5 (a.k.a. Power Rangers Turbo).  Most impressive of all is that even with all of the changes that take place in Season 5, the writers still manage to keep everything balanced.  And that is a testament in itself.    Just as much a testament to Power Rangers Turbo is the production values displayed in this season.

The look of the franchise employed by those behind the Power Rangers franchise was something special throughout all seven seasons of the franchise’s original series.  This season is included in that run.  The reason that the series production values were so special is that even in Season five, the series’ heads were still incorporating elements of the Japanese series on which the Power Rangers franchise had been based from Season One.  Even in Season Five, it had more of that familiar “gritty” look established from the franchise’s inception.  These same values would continue on into Season Seven (a.k.a. Power Rangers Lost Galaxy).  After that, the franchise’s look noticeably changed.  So it is nice to see that those behind Power Rangers Turbo maintained the not so perfected, spit-shined look established early on in the franchise’s life.  It’s one more piece of the whole that audiences will appreciate in viewing Power Rangers Turbo: Volume One.

The look of Power Rangers Turbo and its writing are both pivotal to this season’s enjoyment and success.  The packaging of Power Rangers Turbo: Volume One is the last aspect of this set to examine in the set’s enjoyment and success.  There are those that have lambasted Shout! Factory for splitting the show into separate volumes going all the way back to its release of the original Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers installment of the franchise.  This season is no different. Those that have come down on Shout! Factory for this course of action have not seen the bigger picture. Fans of the Power Rangers franchise are very particular individuals. Not every fan likes one entire season or another. In the same vein, not every fan likes the same episode or episodes. By splitting up the seasons, Shout! Factory is allowing that worldwide legion of fans to choose the episodes and seasons that they want to see rather than forcing them to buy entire seasons that they might not like. Looking at the packaging from this angle, Shout! Factory is to be commended once again. And those charged with packaging this set are to be just as commended for the fact that they have packaged the discs in exactly the same fashion as previous Power Rangers sets. Each of the set’s three discs is placed on its own spot inside the case. The first two discs are placed on either side of a standard “insert” that protects them from each other. The third disc is placed on its own spindle on the back side of the case. For those that perhaps like this season better than others, or even just this half of the season, this actually does save space on their racks. So those naysayers that would prefer to lambast Shout! Factory for this should keep this in mind. They should also keep in mind everything else mentioned about this set as a reason for picking up Power Rangers Turbo: Volume One.

Power Rangers Turbo: Volume One is available now in stores and online. It can be ordered online via the Shout! Factory online store at http://www.shoutfactory.com/product/power-rangers-turbo-vol-1. More information on this and other releases from Shout! Factory is available online at http://www.facebook.com/shoutfactoryofficial and http://www.shoutfactory.com. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.