Thursday, March 23, 2017


Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie is the first American spinoff movie based on the 90s television show of the same name. Imported from Japan, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers the show was an adaptation using stock footage from the Japanese show Super Sentai alongside new American footage. This movie was the first time that no stock footage was used from Super Sentai and was an all-American production. It tells the story of six teenagers with superpowers who must combat an ancient foe named Ivan Ooze as he attempts to kill their mentor and take over the world. This film was directed by Bryan Spicer and stars Jason David Frank, Steve Cardenas, Karan Ashley, Johnny Yong Bosch, Amy Jo Johnson, David Yost, and Paul Freeman.

This movie is spectacularly bad but still holds a very special place in my heart because of the role it played for me as a kid. I certainly was a fan of the Power Rangers growing up and this movie was a big part of that. Taking those nostalgia goggles off, however, this movie is really, really bad but still adequately fun and humorous to remain watchable.

Beginning with the positives, this film is relentlessly fun. Despite lots of bad, the movie is always pressing forward and consistently provides glimmers of fun that create joy and elation in the minds of audience members. Whether it is a cool stunt, an enemy flying across the room and exploding into a puddle of ooze, or an absurdly over the top and stupid line, the movie has no shortage of moments to keep you engaged and with a smile on your face. Paul Freeman as the villainous Ivan Ooze provides a lot of this material and is constantly engaging whenever he is on screen despite being patently ridiculous as a character.

Additionally, I think the film has a great sense of self-awareness that will make you a little more forgiving of certain flaws. Almost nothing in this film is played completely seriously and that really works to the film’s benefit. As a child you can certainly watch this and get invested on a deeper level but as an adult the ability to have a little fun at your own expense gives this a continuous sense of fun.

The last real positive I want to throw out is about the soundtrack. This has a fun 80s and 90s soundtrack that was continuously engaging throughout the film. You couldn’t help but bouncing along to it positively and it helped to really enhance scenes in the film as it was never overbearing. This is a really under-appreciated thing in films and Mighty Morphin Power Rangers utilized this element extremely effectively.

But now, we hit the problems. Basically no one can act. The action is poor and frequently laughable. There are many moments and things that don’t make any sense. The visual effects are, to be nice, atrocious. The side characters are virtually unwatchable. The sound effects are extremely overused in an infuriatingly obnoxious way. The list goes on ad nauseam.

The fact is that this isn’t a good film. Outside of being self-aware and being adequately fun you can’t really say anything else about it is good. As I mentioned, the performances are awful. Paul Freeman’s Ivan Ooze is ok but everyone else is completely flat and Razzie worthy on their best days. Further, none of them are particularly good at the stunts. Even when they are shamelessly substituted for their stunt doubles the action doesn’t adequately improve. The wire work looks ridiculous and nothing in this was adequately realistic to get me emotionally invested as a viewer into the scenes when I should have been.

On top of the physical action, the visual effects action also doesn’t work. These mid-90s visual effects do not hold up in the slightest. Whether it is the occasional moments when they use miniatures or the frequent computer effects none of it works. They lack a texture and depth needed to feel real and the lack of feeling real completely separates you from what is going on on-screen.

Finally, the film just really doesn’t make sense. There are so many moments, plot elements, and otherwise that come up in the film and leave you scratching your head. Some are just strange, some defy the laws of physics, and some make your jaw drop in wonderment over how this film got made. It really doesn’t work. I can’t emphasize that enough.

Overall, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers is an awful film. However, it is an awful film that is simultaneously kind of fun which makes it a mildly enjoyable experience. I also can’t emphasize enough that I get a great degree of personal nostalgic enjoyment from this. It was something I really liked as a kid so I can definitely watch it with a smile on my face looking back a great days gone by. That does not save it for everyone though and will not save it from an ugly score here though.

Ryan’s Score: 2/10

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