‘MMPR: The Movie’ Re-Issue Will Appeal To Franchise’s Most Devoted Fans

Courtesy: Shout! Factory

Almost 24 years ago, 20th Century Fox brought one of the most beloved kids’ series in television history to the big screen in the form of Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers: The Movie.  When it was originally released, the big-screen adaptation of the high-action sci-fi series was met with largely negative reviews, and with good reason.  Even as bad as the movie was (and still is today), it is still a presentation that the most devoted Power Rangers fans will appreciate.  As the 24th anniversary of the movie’s debut nears, Shout! Factory and Saban are celebrating the anniversary with a new Blu-ray re-issue of the movie complete with a new in-depth bonus featurette.  While the movie is largely a failure, there are still certain elements of the movie that do work.  This will be addressed shortly.  The new bonus commentary, which runs approximately 44-minutes in length, is the re-issue’s most notable positive.  It will be addressed a little bit later.  The Blu-ray’s average price point is not a budget breaker for those MMPR devotees who want to add the movie to their collections.

Shout! Factory and Saban Brands have been doing quite a bit in recent years to make Power Rangers fans with lots of Power Rangers and Super Sentai box sets.  On June 4, the companies will do something a little bit different for fans of both series when they re-issue the 1995 big screen adaptation of Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers on Blu-ray.  Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers: The Movie was resoundingly panned by viewers and critics alike in its initial release.  Now almost 24 years later, it has not improved in its footing.  That is due in part to the fact that its story completely breaks canon from the original series.  Its look is also a far cry from that of the original series, right down to the over-the-top CG zords.  For all of the negatives exhibited in the movie’s story, the story is not a total loss.  It does present some positives, such as the camp elements that made the TV series so enjoyable (and that still do today).  That includes the comic support from Paul Schrier and Jason Narvy – Bulk and Skull – and the ever-the-top cheesiness of Ivan Ooze (Paul Freema – Hot Fuzz, Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark, Centurion) in terms of his personality. The work of the supporting cast that played the parents of Angel Grove also echoed the feel of the movie’s source material.  Keeping in mind that overall feel of the movie, it makes up for the issue of the movie’s story, at least a little bit.  That in itself makes the movie worth an occasional watch among Power Rangers’ most devoted fans now that it is being re-issued on Blu-ray.  The movie’s throwback to the camp feeling of the MMPR TV series is just one of the most notable elements presented in the upcoming Blu-ray re-issue of Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers: The Movie.  The bonus content is just as notable as that feel.

The bonus content is notable because audiences get not only the relatively short original featurette included with the movie’s initial DVD release, but a new 44-minute featurette that takes audiences even deeper into the movie’s background and history.  Audiences learn through the movie’s new bonus featurette – “A Look Back At Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers: The Movie – lots of items not featured in the movie’s original bonus featerutte.  Viewers learn, through discussions with the movie’s director Bryan Spicer, that there was lots of discussion on the script between himself and the heads at 20th Century Fox during the movie’s pre-production.  Viewers also get an interesting anecdote from Spicer about how the newspapers in Australia allegedly mid-identified one of the movie’s Assistant Directors as the Director, thus incorrectly giving that AD the credit for helming the movie instead of Spicer.  On a related note, Spicer also talks about filming in Australia during his interview segments and why the filming took place there instead of in the United States.  That’s not all that audiences get.  Viewers also receive a very interesting tidbit about a well-known actress who was initially wanted by Fox’s executives to fill the role of Dulcea and how she was replaced by the woman who ended up in the role.  The movie’s cast members get plenty of their own time throughout the featurette, too.  They talk about topics, such as the pace of shooting each scene for the movie versus shooting for the TV series, the stunts and the visual effects among other topics.  Between everything noted here and the rest of the discussions featured in the movie’s new bonus featurette, said featurette proves to be the true foundation for the movie’s new Blu-ray re-issue.  When it is considered along with the fact that the movie’s creative heads did at least try to give the story the same camp feel of the MMPR series, those two elements together give viewers even more reason to check out this latest presentation of MMPR: The Movie.  Considering those elements, the average price point of the movie’s re-issue proves to be not too expensive.

The average price point of MMPR: The Movie – based on prices listed at Shout! Factory’s store, Walmart, Target and Amazon – is $15.52.  At the time of this review’s posting, it was not listed at Best Buy, Barnes & Noble Booksellers and Books-A-Million.  However, the movie’s original DVD release was listed at those sites.  By comparison, the DVD’s average price point was $7.33.  That includes prices listed not just at Books-A-Million, Best Buy and Barnes & Noble Booksellers, but also at Walmart and Amazon.  While the original DVD release’s average price point is obviously less expensive than that of the movie’s new BD re-issue, the DVD does not boast the new bonus featurette that is featured in the new re-issue.  To that end, the price for the movie’s re-issue is not too bad.  Keeping all of this in mind, this new re-issue of MMPR: The Movie proves a piece that the most devoted MMPR fans will want to add to their libraries.

Shout! Factory’s upcoming Blu-ray re-issue of Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers: The Movie is a piece that the most devoted fans of the timeless sci-fi action series will appreciate.  That is due in part to the fact that while the movie’s story clearly breaks from the series’ canon, it does at least maintain the campy feel of its source material.  That alone makes the movie worth at least an occasional watch.  The new 44-minute bonus featurette featured in this re-issue makes the presentation even more appealing for the noted fans.  The re-issue’s average price point of less than $20 is relatively affordable, and not wasted, considering the movie’s primary and secondary content.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers: The Movie.  All things considered, the movie’s upcoming Blu-ray re-issue is one that the most devoted MMPR fans will enjoy especially if they do not already own the movie on DVD.  It will be available June 4.  More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online now at:

 

 

 

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Shout! Factory TV To Air Super Sentai Madness Tournament

Courtesy: Shout! Factory

March Madness is back again, but it’s not the month’s only tournament.

Officials with Shout! Factory announced Thursday, that it will launch the Super Sentai Madness tournament March 23.  The “tournament” will feature a livestream of Super Sentai episodes and will feature appearances by Power Rangers stars Karan Ashley (Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers) and Andrew Meadows (Power Rangers Hyperforce).  Brian Ward will host the event.

The event will livestream via Shout! Factory’s live service, its official Twitch channel and its official Pluto TV channel.  The tournament culminates April 7.  Audiences will be able to vote for their favorite villains throughout the course of the tournament.

The trailer for the upcoming tournament is streaming online here.

More information on the upcoming Super Sentai tournament is available online now along with information on Shout! Factory’s titles at:

 

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Shout! Factory Announces ‘MMPR: The Complete Series” 25th Anniversary SteelBook Set Release Date, Specs

Courtesy: Shout! Factory.Saban Brands

Shout! Factory and Saban Brands have partnered to re-issue the original Mighty Morphin’ Power RangersThe Complete Series once again.

Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers: The Complete Series (25th Anniversary Edition Steelbook) is scheduled to be released in stores and online August 7.  The series’ upcoming re-issue comes complete with the original Mighty Morphin’ Power RangersThe Movie presented for the first time ever on Blu-ray while the series will be presented again on DVD. The original three-season run of Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers will be spread across 19 DVDs.

Fans who order the forthcoming re-issue via Shout! Factory’s online store will get a limited edition 18″x24″ lithograph, featuring art by Paul Shipper.  Other bonuses included in the set’s discs are: “Morphin’ Time!: A Look Back At Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers with interviews featuring members of the Cast and Creative Team, “Alpha’s Magical Christmas,” “Lord Zedd’s Monster Heads” and much more.  In all, the set’s bonus material spans two discs.

Even the new Blu-ray re-issue of Mighty Morphin’ Power RangersThe Movie features its own bonus material, including but not limited to: The Mighty Leap to the Silver Screen: A look back at the movie with the cast and crew, including brand new interviews with director Bryan Spicer and stars Johnny Yong Bosch and Paul Freeman.”  Also included in the Blu-ray is a theatrical trailer for the movie.

The full listing of the set’s bonus material is noted below.

MMPR: The Movie Bonus Features (Blu-ray)
·        The Mighty Leap to the Silver Screen: A look back at the movie with the cast and crew, including brand-new interviews with director Bryan Spicer and stars Johnny Yong Bosch and Paul Freeman
·        Theatrical Trailer
MMPR TV Series Bonus Features (DVDs)
Bonus Disc 1
·        “Morphin Time!” – A Look Back At Mighty Morphin Power Rangers With Interviews Featuring Members Of The Cast And Creative Team
·        “A Morphenomenal Cast” – Casting Director Katy Wallin And the Cast Recall What It Took to Become Power Rangers
·        “Lord Zedd’s Monster Heads”
·        “Alpha’s Magical Christmas”
·        “The Good, The Bad And The Stupid!”’
Bonus Disc 2
·        “The Fans Power Up” – Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Fans Remember the Series
·        Rare Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Fan Club Video
·        “MMPR Karate Club” – The White Ranger Kata
·        “Power Rangers Live” – The World Tour

More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online now at:

 

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‘Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation’ Is An Interesting Piece Of ‘TMNT’ History

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/Saban

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/Saban

Thirty two years ago Mirage Studios first introduced American audiences to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  The “heroes on the half shell” were created by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird.  In the years since their creation, Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael, and Michelangelo (and their rodent sensei Splinter) have gone on to become a worldwide phenomenon with various incarnations on both the silver screen and the small screen.  Some have been hugely popular such as the original 1987 animated series (perhaps the franchise’s most successful incarnation) and the 1990 big screen adaptation of the comic book.  That incarnation even spawned three sequels.  Other incarnations have not been so successful, such as the 2014 big screen reboot and its new sequel Out of the Shadows.  They are not the franchise’s only lesser installments.  In 1997 Saban tried its hand at its own take on the everyone’s favorite reptile heroes in the form of Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation.  That incarnation ultimately proved to be a bust for the company.  It only lasted one season and a total of twenty-eight episodes.  Now thanks to Shout! Factory fans of this short-lived series can own it for themselves on DVD.  That is because Shout! Factory released the series in its entirety early this past May.  While the series was obviously one of the least successful of the TMNT franchise it still is a good addition to any hardcore TMNT fan’s collection.  That is because it serves as a historical document of sorts showing everything that was done right and wrong with the series.  In examining those pros and cons in whole audiences will agree that while it might not be the best of the TMNT franchise’s installments it also is not its worst.  That (dis)honor still goes to Paramount and Nickelodeon’s 2014 big screen take on the turtles.  Keeping that in mind, this installment proves once more to be a worthwhile addition to any TMNT fan’s collection if only for historical purposes.

Saban’s 1997 live-action take on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise is by no means the franchise’s best incarnation.  In all fairness it is also not the franchise’s worst incarnation either.  Keeping that in mind, it is a welcome (and important) addition to any TMNT fan’s collection.  That is because it shows through its twenty-eight total episodes that Saban, with all of its successes, was not invincible at the time of the series’ run.  That is not entirely the fault of the people at Saban, though.  In examining for instance the timing of the series’ debut it had a lot working against it.  The series was meant to follow the events of the franchise’s original cinematic trilogy.  The problem is that that trilogy wrapped in 1993 with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III.  Saban’s live action series didn’t start until four years later in 1997, which was also only a year after the original animated series came to its own end.  When the story lines presented in each are taken into consideration and the timing of their beginnings and endings, they worked wholly against Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation.  Had Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation come earlier—perhaps during the animated series’ run as an alternate universe series of sorts—then it might have had more of a fighting chance.  But because of the timing of its debut and its plot line it is clear why it failed in the long run.  That is just one important part of the show that should be noted in examining what the series in whole.  the series’ writing, in the bigger picture of its presentation, played its own integral part in the series’ failure.  The same can be said of the look and the feel of the series.

The timing of Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation’s debut is a big part of what might have made the series’ run so short.  The timing of its release, when considered alongside the events of the franchises cinematic trilogy and its animated series, put a rather large nail in the series’ proverbial coffin.  The series’ writing is just as problematic as the timing of its release.  The series’ writers opened this series by introducing its key villain—Dragon Lord–early on.  The problem is that he wasn’t the series’ only villain starting out.  The writers incorporated Shredder into the story, too.  However, they wasted very little time taking him out of the story, too.  The way in which they wrote him out was rather anticlimactic to say the very least, too.  It almost leaves one asking why he was even used in the overall story considering how little impact his elimination had on the series’ overall story.  It could be argued that in so randomly eliminating Shredder, the writers were just throwing something out there just to see if it would work and make the series in whole anywhere near feasible.  While the overall story did work, it still ended up being relatively lackluster at best.  The same thing happened when the writers behind the TMNT animated series tried to keep that series going after the turtles eliminated Shredder.  They introduced a new villain—an alien from another world—but it just didn’t work, which ultimately led to the series’ end in Season Ten.  The same sort of mindset led to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III’s failure, too.  With Shredder out of the way at the end of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II it was as if the writers were asking where to go from there.  One can only assume that someone just said, “hey, let’s send them back in time on a quest and see how audiences react.”  While the end result was entertaining in its own right, it is still obvious that the movie’s writers struggled to come up with something to keep the movie (and the franchise) going.  This, again, goes back to the obvious practice of the writers behind Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation.  It is as if, again, the writers went into the series blindly and just threw in what they could as the series advanced.

The timing of Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation and its writing are both key elements that worked against the series in its short run on FOX Kids from 1997 – 1998.  They are not the only elements that should be considered in examining what the series got right and what it got wrong.  The look and the feel of the series are just as important to note as the timing of its run and its writing.  The look of the series will be examined first.  The costumes and the sets that were used in Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation are a stark contrast to those used by Saban’s Power Rangers franchise at the time.  That series had come a long way in terms of its look from the days of Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers.  Some of the camp was still there in terms of its look.  But that look had also clearly evolved to a point since those days, too.  By comparison Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation took audiences back to the days of Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers thanks to the campy look of its sets and costumes.  No effort was made by the people at Saban to make this series look anything like the franchise’s original cinematic trilogy, which again this series was supposed to be linked. Even the look of Shredder’s outfit barely made him look menacing.  He looked more like one of the then WWF’s costumed bad guys than any truly menacing villain.  That is thanks to the design of his outfit.  Even the look of the turtles was a complete change of pace from their look on the big screen and its previous small screen incarnation.  This is again even with the series’ alleged connection to the franchise’s cinematic trilogy.  The only part of the series that really bore any similarity (and that term is used very loosely here) to that trilogy is that of the turtles’ subway lair.  It is obvious that whoever designed their lair for this series did in fact make a concerted effort to connect the two universes.  Sadly it is about the only thing that actually connects the two universes in terms of the series’ look.  The rest of the sets and costumes are more akin to the MMPR series than anything seen on the big screen or any other TMNT incarnations.  By relation, the feel of the series is linked just as directly to MMPR as its look.

The look of Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation is an undeniably important part of the series’ life span.  That is because of how starkly it stands out from that of the rest of the offerings in the TMNT universes and even from that of Saban’s Power Rangers universes at the time.  The series’ feel is just as important to note as its look.  That is because its feel stands out just as starkly as its look.  The feel includes the series’ cinematography and the acting.  The cinematography throws back to the days of MMPR just as much as the costumes and sets that were used throughout this series.  That is evident in the scene transitions, the angles used within given scenes, and even the speed of the shot changes within the scenes, too.  The transitions from the general scenes to those of the dragons’ lair are key examples of that throwback look.  MMPR used very similar transitions when its scenes transitioned from Angel Grove to Rita (and later Zedd’s) moon base.  That is something that was gradually phased out as the Power Rangers franchise evolved over time.  The acting on the part of both Shredder and Dragon Lord plays its own part in the series’ feel.  The same can be said of those that brought Leo, Raph, Donnie, Mikey, and even Venus to life.  The camp in their collective work gives the series a fun, cheesy feel that interestingly enough will keep audiences entertained because of that cheese factor.  Again it is all a noticeable throwback to the days of MMPR.  Again in comparing this to the feel presented in the likes of Power Rangers in Space, the current installment of Saban’s Power Rangers franchise at the time, it is a completely different feel.  Good or bad is in the eye of the beholder.  In all fairness it likely played its own part in the series’ downfall since few programs if any had that same campy feel at the time.  So that probably hurt the series even more.  Between that and the show’s equally campy look, it becomes even more evident why the series’ combined look and feel might have hurt the series more than it helped.  That is especially considering the time at which the series was on television.  Speaking of the time at which the series debuted, it plays its own part in the series’ problems.  The writing behind the series plays its own part in the series, too.  Each element plays its own part in the series’ short run.  That goes without saying.  All things considered it becomes wholly clear why Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation is one of the least successful entries in the TMNT universe.  But when it is compared to those other entries in it still is not the franchise’s worst installment.  Keeping that in mind, it is still a welcome and important addition to any TMNT fan’s home collection if only for its historical value.

Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation is hardly the best offering in the TMNT universe.  It is not the franchise’s worst offering, either.  That (dis) honor belongs, to this day, to Paramount and Nickelodeon Studios’ 2016 big screen reboot of the original cinematic franchise.  Given, this series had (and has) a lot working against it.  But still in comparison to other offerings from the TMNT universe it could have been a lot worse.  Considering all of this it is still a welcome addition to any true TMNT fan’s collection whether for entertainment or for historical value.  It is available exclusively via Wal-Mart and can be ordered online via Wal-Mart at http://www.walmart.com/ip/Ninja-Turtles-The-Next-Mutation-The-Complete-Series/51301759.   More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online now at:

 

 

 

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‘Ninja Storm’ Is One Of The Power Rangers’ Best Series Since ‘MMPR’

Courtesy:  Shout! Factory/Saban

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/Saban

There’s a storm brewing.  But this time it’s a good storm.  How can a storm be good?  It can be good when it’s a Ninja Storm.  Earlier this week Shout! Factory released Power Rangers Ninja Storm: The Complete Series on DVD.  And there is plenty to appreciate about this installment of the long-running franchise beginning with its writing.  The writing applies first and foremost to the series’ plot.  The fact that the writers would go back to the franchise’s interstellar/sci-fi roots this time out is impressive in its own right.  The ultimate reveal, which is made later in the series makes the plot all the more interesting.  That leads to another of the series’ most important elements, the writing within its episodes.  That will be discussed later.  Last but not least of note in this series is the work of the series’ cast.  Each element is important in its own right to the series’ overall presentation.  All things considered they make this series one of the franchise’s best so far in its post-Mighty Morphin’ era.

Late next year, Lionsgate is set to release the new big-screen reboot of Saban’s beloved Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers.  Needless to say it has already created quite a storm among fans of the beloved series.  Some people love it.  Others hate it.  Regardless which side one takes on the upcoming adaptation, audiences will just have to wait until the movie comes out to see how it actually turns out.  While they wait, Power Rangers fans have another classic Power Rangers series to take in.  It comes in the form of Power Rangers Ninja Storm: The Complete Series.  This installment of the long-running franchise is one of its best so far in its post-Might Morphin’ era.  This is due in part to the series’ writing.  More specifically it is due in part to the series’ plot.  The plot behind Power Rangers Ninja Storm follows a trio of Rangers, tapped to fight the evil interstellar space ninja Lothor.  It marks the first time since the days of the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers that the franchise has gone the full-on sci-fi/interstellar route.  The closest that any previous series came in that avenue, was Power Rangers Time Force.  Even that series didn’t go the full-on sci-fi route taken by MMPR (as it will henceforth be known here).  Lightspeed Rescue and Wild Force were more based in fantasy than science fiction.  Keeping that in mind, that approach in itself makes this series’ plot an important part of its presentation.  Add in the fact that for the first time the Power Rangers start out as a 3-person team and only grows to 6 members, and audiences get another important part of the series’ plot.  Again, none of the franchise’s former installments had taken that course.  Though, it did become more commonplace as the franchise progressed.  It makes this aspect of the series’ plot just as important to note as the larger story.  The two plot elements together show clearly why the series’ plot is so important in examining its writing.  The plot is just one part of the series’ writing that should be examined.  The overall writing within the series’ episodes is just as important to note as its plot.

The writing behind Power Rangers Ninja Storm’s plot is its own important part of the series’ writing.  It isn’t the only important part of the series’ writing to be examined.  The writing within the series’ episodes is just as important as the writing behind the series’ plot.  Audiences will find that the writing within the series’ episodes is relatively familiar from one to the next.  One episode that exemplifies that familiarity comes in the form of “The Wild Wipeout.”  It sees Tori end up in an alternate universe in which the Rangers are the villains, and Lothor and company the good guys.  It is a story line that has been used time and again throughout television’s modern history in so many series.  That includes series aimed at adults and children.  What sets this adaptation of the classic story line apart from others is that it also uses a sort of Wizard of Oz approach, leaving both Tori and audiences to wonder, was it all just a dream sequence, or actually another universe.  As if that isn’t enough, the writers also added in the story of Rangers being turned from the evil side to that of the good guys in the multi-part “Thunder Rangers” story arc.  It includes both the three-part “Thunder Strangers” story arc and its lead-in “Looming Thunder.”  The evil Ranger-turned-good story arc is an element that has been used in every installment of Power Rangers going all the way back to Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers.  Though, the writers this time have switched things up at least a little bit.  What sets this story line apart from those previous stories is that 1) it involves here not just one Ranger but two.  And in this case, the Rangers in question weren’t under some evil curse to start off their multi-part story arc.  Rather they had just been brainwashed by Lothor’s propaganda, not to reveal too much.  Though, they were eventually put under a brainwashing spell of sorts at one point.  Of course that was only a one-episode story line that saw the Rangers break that spell and win the day.  Audiences can discover that story for themselves.  If these episodes aren’t example enough, the writers also take on the evil twin story line in this series.  It’s yet another way in which the writing within the series’ episodes proves so important to the series’ presentation.  Any of the series’ other episodes could be cited just as easily in this argument.  Considering that it becomes increasingly clear why the writing within the series’ episodes is just as important to the series’ presentation as the writing behind its plot.  What’s more the two elements together make perfectly clear why the series’ writing in whole is so important to its presentation.  The writing is, of course, not the series’ only important element.  The work of the series’ cast is just as important to note as that of the series’ writers.

The work put in by the writers behind Power Rangers Ninja Storm is undeniably important to its presentation.  This is clear in examining both the series’ overall plot and the plot behind each of its episodes.  Of course in examining the series’ writing it becomes clear that the writing is just one of the series’ most important elements.  The work of the series’ cast is just as important to the series’ presentation as its writing.  While audiences might think that the actors who portrayed the Rangers are real stars of note here, that is not the cast.  That is at least the view of this critic.  In all honesty, the real stars of the series are Katrina Devine and Katrina Browne.  The pair portrayed Lothor’s nieces Marah and Kapri respectively.  While the pair ultimately turned out to be quite the devious evil duo, they do a wonderful job of tricking both Lothor and audiences.  The pair’s comic portrayal makes for so many laughs throughout each episode as they present themselves as stereotypical air headed valley girl types.  The personalities that they portray couples with their physical comedy to keep audiences entertained every time that they are on camera.  It would have been so easy for them to go over the top in their portrayals.  But they manage to successfully keep that reined in, thus leading to so many great moments right up to the point that they reveal their true personalities.  Even when they do reveal that truth they  are still just as great to watch.  To a lesser extent, Grant McFarland is entertaining in his own right as the evil space ninja Lothor.  Those that are familiar with the Power Rangers’ history will note a certain throwback to Robert Axelrod’s portrayal of Lord Zedd from the days of MMPR in McFarland’s take on Lothor.  He is clearly devious.  However one can’t help but laugh at his facial gestures and general reactions from time to time.  It is just a great reminder of the franchise’s old days.  The rest of the series’ cast impresses in its own right.  There is not denying this.  But the work put in by McFarland, and the duo of Devine and Browne is at least to this critic the most notable in this series.  In the end, their work couples with that of the rest of the cast to show in whole why the cast’s work is, in whole, just as important to the series’ presentation as that of the series’ writers.  All things considered Power Rangers Ninja Storm presents audiences with plenty to appreciate.  There is a lot of familiarity throughout this series and just as much new material.  All in all it makes this installment of the Power Rangers one of the franchise’s best in its post-MMPR era.

Power Rangers Ninja Storm is one of the best installments of the Power Rangers franchise to come along since the days of the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers.  That is due in part to writing that boasts its own share of familiar and new elements.  This applies both to the series’ plot and the stories presented within each of its episodes.  The same can be said of the cast’s work.  Grant McFarland conjures thoughts of Robert Axelrod with his portrayal of Lothor in this series.  Axelrod handled the role of Lord Zedd in MMPR.  Katrina Browne and Katrina Devine are just as entertaining as Lothor’s nieces even when their characters reveal the truth of their personas.  The rest of the cast impresses in its own right.  These three just shine brighter than the others in the eyes of this critic.  The cast’s work couples with that of the series writers to keep audiences engaged and entertained from one episode to the next.  The end result is a series that, again, audiences familiar with the Power Rangers franchise will agree it is one of the best installments to come along since the end of the franchise’s Zordon era.  It is available now in stores and online and can be ordered online direct via Shout! Factory’s online store now at https://www.shoutfactory.com/kids/kids-action-adventure/power-rangers-ninja-storm-the-complete-series.  More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online now at:

 

 

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Saban, Shout! Factory’s New Standalone Power Rangers Series Is A Must Have For Any Power Rangers Fan

Courtesy:  Shout! Factory/Saban/Saban Brands

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/Saban/Saban Brands

Next Tuesday, Shout! Factory will continue its ongoing series of Power Rangers installments when it releases Power Rangers LightSpeed Rescue: The Complete Series. Its release next Tuesday marks the first time that it has seen the light of day as its own standalone series/season set. Previously, it was released as part of the Power Rangers Seasons 8 – 12 mega-set in November of 2013. That set also included Power Rangers Time Force: The Complete Series, Power Rangers Wild Force: The Complete Series, Power Rangers Ninja Storm: The Complete Series, and Power Rangers Dino Thunder: The Complete Series. The total price of the five-season set averaged well over one hundred dollars. For many that price made the box more of a wish list item than a reality. By comparison, the average price for Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue: The Complete Series is only about fifteen dollars depending on the outlet. That and its more widespread availability together form the central reason that this new standalone series/season set will be of great interest to any Power Rangers fan. It’s just one small part of the whole that makes it worth the addition to any fan’s collection. The writing that went into PRLSR (as it will be called from here on out) plays its own part in this series/season set. Being a forty-episode run, the writers don’t waste any time moving the story along even from the show’s outset. Last but hardly least of note that makes this set enjoyable for fans is the work of the show’s cast. Keith Robinson’s take on Green Ranger Joel Rawlings while Sean Cw Johnson’s take on the Red Ranger Carter Grayson is just as solid on the opposite end of the spectrum. They aren’t the only cast members worth noting either. Whether for this reason, the set’s availability, or for the work of the series’ writers, Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue: The Complete Series (a.k.a. Season 8), proves in the end to be yet another welcome addition to any Power Rangers fan’s collection.

Shout! Factory and Saban’s upcoming Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue: The Complete Series is a great boon for any true Power Rangers fan. While it is not the first time that the series/season set has seen the light of day, it is the first time ever that the five-disc set has seen the light of day in its own standalone series/season set separate from the previously released Power Rangers Seasons 8 – 12 mega-set. That is the central reason that fans will want to add this latest set to their collections. Power Rangers Seasons 8 – 12 was not readily available to fans in stores. Nor was it cheap. It forced those that really wanted this season set to also go ahead and purchase the complete five-season set and do so online more often than not. It ran a little more than one hundred dollars. This set is much more affordable by comparison at roughly fifteen dollars. What’s more, odds are far greater of finding it in stores than the larger five-season set. That makes this standalone set just as valuable for fans as the larger collection regardless of their level of dedication to the show and in turn serves as a solid base for the rest of the reasons that audiences will appreciate this brand new box set.

The fact that Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue: The Complete Series will likely be more readily available for Power Rangers fans is a most important reason for fans to pick up this collection. It serves as a solid base for the set’s other positives including the work of the series’/season’s writers. The work of those behind this series/season’s scripts is definitely well worth the note. Being that this season ran only forty episodes in total, the writers didn’t waste any time establishing its story line or assembling the season’s team of rangers. The execution of the team’s assembly lasted the entirety of the very first episode. And even after the team was established, the writers didn’t waste any time through the course of the series’ episodes dealing with any extra story elements unlike with the previous installments of the Power Rangers. Rather, they hit the ground running so to speak. Background elements such as Joel’s infatuation with Ms. Fairweather (Monica Louwerens) and Captain Mitchell’s relationship with his long-lost son Ryan (Rhett Fisher) in the multi-episode Titanium Ranger story arc were limited in their approaches. Joel’s infatuation with Ms. Fairweather was made more of a comic element than anything serious, though there were some rare instances when the pair got to show a little bit of dramatic flair. That will be noted later. And while the Titanium Ranger story arc was itself a key moment in the series/season, its more dramatic elements were controlled so as to not let them get out of control. This allowed for the story of Ryan’s return (and turn) to the good side to more easily progress and be more believable. Interestingly enough, true hardcore fans won’t be able to ignore this story arc’s blatant similarity to that of the original Green Ranger story arc from Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers. That aside, audiences will take note in regards to the series/season’s writing that this installment marks the first time ever that the Power Rangers went from being just a force for good, powered by fantastical powers to a more semi-militaristic organization (albeit a secretive one). It wouldn’t be the last time that the Rangers took such a form as they also appeared in that capacity both in Power Rangers Time Force and Power Rangers S.P.D. So to say that this series/season set the bar for later installments is the least. It really was a groundbreaking approach for Saban’s long-running hit franchise. That being the case, it rounds out the ways in which the series’/season’s writing proves to be key to its success. It still is not the last reason that fans will appreciate this latest installment of the Power Rangers ongoing saga. The work of the case is just as much to thank for this edition’s success and enjoyment.

The writing behind Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue was groundbreaking for the Power Rangers franchise at the time of its debut. That is because up until that point, the Rangers had been like so many other super-powered organizations. They were powered by fantastical, other-worldly sources. That was hardly the case in this installment. Rather here, they were created by a semi-militaristic source. That is actually just as believable as the source of the previous Power Rangers’ powers if not more so. It’s just one element of the series’/season’s writing so important. Even with the other elements previously noted, the writing in whole is only one more part–together with the set’s availability–of the set that makes it a must have for any true Power Rangers fan. The work of the show’s cast is just as important as its other noted elements. It has already been noted that in the case of Green Ranger Joel Rawlings (Keith Robinson–Dreamgirls, Dear John, This Christmas), Robinson’s portrayal of Joel is one example of what makes the cast’s work so entertaining. Robinson’s take on Joel makes Joel a fan favorite thanks to his comic timing and his surprising innocence. What makes this mix so impressive is the fact that Robinson balances it so well. He never lets that more emotional side overpower his comic side. Rather he lets it show just enough and at just the right moments to make Joel one of the true stars of the show. At the other end of the spectrum is Sean Cw Johnson as Carter Grayson (a.k.a. the Red Lightspeed Ranger). Johnson is given plenty of opportunities throughout this series/season to overplay his character’s All-American guy sort of character. Luckily, he didn’t do that. Rather, he embraced the role and made Carter into a persona that is the very definition of a leader. There is a certain humility about Carter throughout his time as the Red Ranger. It is a humility that interestingly enough even today’s young viewers might find themselves aspiring to emulate just as much as the young people of Mariner Bay. It makes Carter that much more of a believable character; perhaps even one of the single-most believable in the long-running history of the Power Rangers. Johnson’s is one more example of how the work of the Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue cast makes this season/series so enjoyable for any true Power Rangers fan. Any of the series’ other cast members could be used just as easily to exhibit the importance of the cast’s work. That would take some time to do, though. So considering this and the already provided examples, it is safe to say that the work of the series’/season’s cast is just as important as that of its writers and the general availability of this brand new box set in its overall success and enjoyment. All three elements combined together prove it to be a must-have for any hardcore Power Rangers fan.

Whether for its general availability verses that of the previously released Power Rangers Seasons 8 – 12 box set, the writing incorporated into this series/season, or for the work of the show’s cast, there is plenty to like about Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue: The Complete Series. It will be available next Tuesday, August 11th in stores and online and can be ordered online direct from Shout! Factory’s online store at https://www.shoutfactory.com/kids/kids-action-adventure/power-rangers-lightspeed-rescue-the-complete-series. More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory and Saban is available online now at:

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Power Rangers Fans Will Get Lost In Lost Galaxy: The Complete Series

Courtesy:  Shout! Factory/Saban/Saban Brands

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/Saban/Saban Brands

Three years ago, Shout! Factory and Saban struck a deal that saw the first in a long line of releases from Saban’s now world-renowned Power Rangers franchise.  The release in question was Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers: Season 1 Volume 1.  It was the first but most definitely not the last of the Power Rangers franchise that fans would see finally get a proper release.  Nearly three years after the release of that initial box set, Shout! Factory has seemingly come to the end of the road with the Power Rangers.  That is because on March 10th, Shout! Factory will release what would be the first of the Power Rangers installments in the “post-Zordon era.”  The installment in question is Power Rangers Lost Galaxy.  Long-time fans of Saban’s Power Rangers franchise will especially appreciate this upcoming release primarily because it is the complete “series” set in one stand-alone box set.  That is quite the noticeable change of course for Shout! Factory being that its previous seasons of Power Rangers were split up into multiple box sets.  So, that Shout! Factory didn’t take that route this time is sure to impress any long-time Power Rangers fan.  Second to note of this collection is the writing within the episodes.  The most noticeable aspects of the “series’” writing are that while it serves as its own series separate from the original Power Rangers franchise, it also maintains at least the slightest of links to that franchise thanks to the inclusion of Bulk and Skull yet again, and of course the re-introduction of the Astro-Megaship from Power Rangers in Space.  It’s sort of the writers’ way of saying the past is gone but not totally forgotten.  Long-time fans will appreciate this just as much.  Also, worth noting of the writing is the fact that the writers were able to keep Leo’s personal drama in check throughout the series, opting instead to allow the series’ central stories maintain their place at the forefront of each episode.  Last but not least of all that makes this set so welcome is its continued use of both “live” footage and stock footage from its Japanese base series.  Just like the writing mantains a link to Saban’s original Power Rangers franchise, so does this balance of footage.  It rounds out the reasons that fans will want to add this set to their own collections. Together with the series’ writing and its complete complement of episodes, all three noted elements combine to make Power Rangers Lost Galaxy: The Complete Series a fitting final release from Shout! Factory’s series of releases from Saban’s original Power Rangers franchise.

Power Rangers Lost Galaxy: The Complete Series seems to be the last of Shout! Factory’s Power Rangers releases.  That is unless there is a deal in place that would allow Shout! Factory to release Seasons 8 – 17, which were previously released in two separate box sets containing Seasons 8 – 12 and 13 – 17.  Regardless, Power Rangers Lost Galaxy: The Complete Series is still a box set well worth the addition to any Power Rangers fan’s personal collection.  The most obvious reason that fans of Saban’s long-running property will appreciate this set is the very fact that it features the entire “series” in one stand-alone box set.  Shout! Factory didn’t split it up into two separate sets unlike with its previous Power Rangers sets.  This has been a point of contention among fans ever since Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers: Season 1 Volume 1 was released on DVD back in 2012.  Save for the mid-season filler “series” Mighty Morphin’ Alien Rangers every other season of Power Rangers released by Shout! Factory since has been split into no less than two boxes.  That being the case, having this potentially final season set released in one box is a breath of fresh air.  Should the seasons that followed actually be re-issued separate from their previously released five-season box sets, hopefully they will in fact be re-issued as their own complete stand-alone sets, too just like this one.  Regardless, this complete showing of episodes in one box is the cornerstone on which the rest of Power Rangers Lost Galaxy: The Complete Series’ positives rest.  It is a solid cornerstone, too.

The fact that Shout! Factory has presented Power Rangers Lost Galaxy: The Complete Series is a solid starting point in examining what makes this box set a success.  It’s not all that makes the set a success.  The writing that went into the show’s episodes is just as worth noting.  Long-time audiences will appreciate the fact that the show’s writers didn’t just make a whole new series.  They actually maintained a pretty solid link to Saban’s original Power Rangers series with the inclusion once again of Bulk and Skull into various episodes including the two-part season opener.  The Rangers even utilize the Astro Megaship from Power Rangers in Space throughout this season.  These two elements of the show’s writing by themselves show that the writers wanted to do their best to not alienate fans that came on board way back in the days of MMPR.  The actual episodes though, are just as important to the presentation.  Within the episodes themselves, the show’s writers were able to balance just enough the personal drama of the Power Rangers (E.g. Leo’s coming to terms with Mike’s “death,” Archie’s dealing with Leo and the pair’s growing friendship, Cerina’s longing for her home world, etc.) with their battles against Scorpius and his evil forces.  The writers never let that personal drama step on the “series’” central story line, thus creating a whole that keeps audiences fully engaged from the “series’” premiere to its final, climactic battle.  The end result of that writing is yet another part of the whole of Power Rangers Lost Galaxy: The Complete Series that shows just why long-time fans of the Power Rangers will enjoy this latest release.

The inclusion of Power Rangers Lost Galaxy’s complete forty-five episode run in one complete stand-alone box set and the writing that went into the show’s episodes complement each other quite well  in terms of elements that make this box set a success for fans.  The show’s look is just as important to the presentation as the writing and the fact that the “series” has been presented in whole here.  Both those that aren’t so familiar with the Power Rangers and the franchise’s long-time fans will appreciate that even this far into the Power Rangers’ run, will appreciate that the show’s heads once again combined new, live elements and CG along with the stock footage from its Japanese source series Seijuu Sentai Gingaman.  This would be the last of the Power Rangers series to make that balance so noticeable for audiences.  And it really added a certain something to the show, too.  It could be argued that the balance of both elements creates once again that certain sense of old meets new that somehow creates so much enjoyment.  It’s that familiar something that especially long-time fans will understand and that new fans will appreciate when they see that balance for themselves.  It’s something that sadly was lost in some of the seasons that followed.  The seasons in question had more of a spit-shined look about them.  That look took away that certain feeling established by the previous Power Rangers seasons.  Long-time fans will especially agree with that sentiment.  And in doing so, they will agree even more that the use of both the original Japanese and American footage for this season completes the season, making all the more reasons for fans to add this set to their collections.

The mix of Seijuu Sentai Gingaman’s original video with Saban’s live and CG elements is a standard that long-time Power Rangers fans will definitely like about this season.  The balance of the show’s writing elements adds even more reason for audiences to pick up this box set when it hits stores.  It’s nice to see that the writers didn’t alienate the Power Rangers’ original audiences even in creating a new branch of the Power Rangers legacy.  Rather they honored those fans and the legacy of the original series while bringing in a whole new generation of audiences with this season.  The very fact that Shout! Factory presented this season in its entirety solidifies the whole thing, proving without a doubt that this is a must have for any Power Rangers fan. Power Rangers Lost Galaxy: The Complete Series will be available in stores and online Tuesday, March 10th. It will retail for $24.95 but can be pre-ordered online now for a reduced price of $19.99 at https://www.shoutfactory.com/kids/kids-action-adventure/power-rangers-lost-galaxy-the-complete-series. More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online at:

 

Website: https://www.shoutfactory.com

Facebook: https://www.shoutfactoryofficial

 

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