Monday, October 10, 2016

Trailer Review: POWER RANGERS (2017)

This weekend, shortly before a panel at New York Comic Con, Lionsgate dropped the first teaser trailer for their brand new rendition of Power Rangers due for release in March of 2017. This was a very long awaited trailer as there still seems to be a bubbling of love for this property and Lionsgate has been teasing fans with still images for months.

The premise for this reboot (similar to the original show) is that five troubled teenagers are chosen by Zordon to receive extraordinary powers in order to fight evil forces that threaten their town of Angel Grove and the world at large. Check out the trailer here:

I have to count myself interested and marginally impressed by this trailer. I was a fan of the TV series and films when I was a kid and am interested to see what they're going to do with this new iteration. This trailer definitely felt like they want to take this in a slightly different direction from the original American iterations into a more serious (and less campy) tone and style. From this trailer they seem to have succeeded in most respects. I thought it was good that this trailer didn't take itself too seriously either, however. It felt like it struck a good balance between the tone they're looking to set for the future with homages to the camp of the past.

I would be remised if I didn't comment on the obvious influence of the Max Landis scribed 2012 film Chronicle on this trailer. The trailer felt like it took that film beat for beat and applied a Power Rangers skin to it. In some ways I think this is good since I thought Chronicle was an excellent film in and of itself. In other ways it worries me. The sophisticated writing Landis provided for Chronicle is hard to replicate and them firing him as a writer on the film doesn't give me more confidence in it by any means. I also saw some influences from John Hughes' The Breakfast Club in this trailer which felt like a perfect addition to this story. It is, however, another tough influence to follow up and this film hasn't sold me that it can sniff at the quality of either influence it seems to be adopting.

There are two real principal weaknesses with this teaser. First, it shows some incredibly weak dialogue and performance moments from its young cast. I wasn't wowed by this first look from many actors and actresses I haven't seen before and I hope it is just an editing thing and not an overall lack of quality in their performances throughout the film. Second, this teaser shows us almost nothing of the action or costumes. It was a true tease in this sense but with how quintessential those elements are to the franchise I was disappointed to not see any teases toward that whatsoever in this.

Overall this is a decent first look. There are some positive elements and several to be reticent about. I'm excited to see what they show us in the full trailer and eventually the film in the months to come!

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