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Rif’s Random Reviews: Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers (1993 – 1995)

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I have never watched a single episode of Might Morphin’ Power Rangers……until now.

 

I’ve seen clips of the show, have a vague understanding of what it’s about, and I do agree that Amy Jo Johnson was fucking hot!

 

This review is going to be me giving my first impressions for the first time as an adult. There’s no way I can go back in time to my childhood to watch this show the way it was intended to be. Instead, I’ll be watching it as a 30-year old noob.

If you’re a fan of the show reading this, you won’t get any new information here. Just a unique perspective of one of the biggest shows of the 90s.

I was 6-years old when the show debut in 1993, so I was obviously in the right age demographic, but why did I not get hooked on to this? I honestly can’t give you a good enough reason what for.  I guess it’s because I was too busy obsessing over other things. When you obsess over something everything else fades into the background. I was aware of the show and I was also fully aware of how popular it was. It was a huge deal.  My friends were well into and would spend break time in school playing Power Rangers. I was always asked to be the monster that the Power Rangers beat up or a Puttie Warrior.

 

With the new movie coming out, which I do plan on reviewing, I kicked my arse into overload to familiarise myself with the show. Question is, will this show appeal to me? Did I miss the boat? Has my window of opportunity slammed shut on me? As the old saying goes, there’s only one way to find out!

 

So after 145 episodes (that’s the first three seasons) and two movies over a four month period, what do I think of Power Rangers?

Let me break it down…..(before I start, the music for the intro is fucking tremendous. Honestly, no wonder kids of the 90’s pissed their pants in excitement whenever that tune kicks in!)

 

What is this show all about?

It’s about five teenagers who have a background in gymnastics, martial arts, and other fitness related activities. They are recruited by Zordon, a floating blue face, to fight an evil space Witch named Rita Repulsa. She’s been floating around in space in a flying bin for 10,000 years, in which you’ll be reminded at the beginning of every episode! I would have skipped the intro but that theme song just kicks arse. Every episode always ends with an epic Godzilla style brawl between one of Rita’s monsters and Megazord.

 

Is Power Rangers American or Japanese?

I’ve done some research beforehand and that’s where I found out that Mighty Morphin Power Rangers was made in Japan. That I had no idea. But when I watched it for the first time all I saw were five teenagers hanging around in school like they do in Saved by the Bell. I was confused.

I later discovered that all the scenes with the teenagers were shot in America, whiles everything with the Rangers in costume and the Monster fight scenes was recycled footage from a Japanese TV show called Super Sentai. It was a show that aired in 1975 and is still going on to this day (by the time Power Rangers debut in 1993, Super Sentai was into its 16th series). I honestly had no idea about that. I don’t even know if fans of Power Rangers knew that also!

It was already a success in Japan. A massive success. When Power Rangers became a success on a global scale, it seemed they didn’t want to lose that success so they didn’t change it as much. The point is, a lot of the action of the Rangers in the suits was from Sentai. It was the Japanese actors since you couldn’t recognise them in the suits so they just re-dubbed the voices. But they couldn’t do that anymore after the suits changed (Sentai used to change the costumes every season) not that they couldn’t but they chose not to. So they continued to use the old suits and had to come up with these sneaky ways to adapt the footage they had to re-shoot, re-edit and work around whatever curve ball Super Sentai threw at them, and to this very day that tradition still continues. I find that very impressive.

 

The Characters

The Power Rangers team is made up of five teenagers; Jason Lee Scott, Trini Kwan, Zack Taylor, Kimberly Ann Hart, and Billy Cranston. There’s the addition of Tommy Oliver during the first season. Each actor plays their character well, especially Jason David Frank as Tommy. A lot of fans of the show credit him as being their favourite and it’s easy to understand why. I wonder if he’s CM Punk’s favourite Power Ranger too. Tommy starts off as the Green Ranger, an evil Power Ranger who is cast under Rita Repulsa’s spell. After turning babyface, he loses his powers, goes away, and returns as the White Ranger, who has his hilarious talking sword. As the Green Ranger he summons the Dragonzord (more on him later) by playing the flute with a knife. I know, sounds crazy, right? I can honestly say that I laughed my ass off at that. It looked ridiculous. I also find it amusing how the Power Rangers can’t say anything with waving their arms around and punching the air. Can they not stand still for one second? The hyperactive little pricks.

Also, I can’t get over how many times they say “power”. “This is the Power Sword, the key to all of the weapon’s power”. You could make a drinking game out of it but I wouldn’t recommend it

Over time members of the Power Rangers are replaced by different cast members. This was mostly due to contract disagreements between the actors and the studio. The change was acknowledged in the show, of course. In the second season Trini, Zack, and Jason were replaced by Aisha Campbell, Adam Park, and Rocky DeSantos respectively. Sadly, Thuy Trang (Trini Kwan, the original yellow ranger) was killed in an automobile accident in 2001. She was only 27 years-old.

Midway during the third season, Kimberly is replaced by Katherine Hillard. This was done because Amy Jo Johnson wanted to pursue other acting opportunities. It’s a shame because I was starting to like these characters. I can imagine how this must have felt if you watched the show during its original run.

I would say that Billy is the weak link of the six. He doesn’t fit the profile of what I expected a Power Ranger to be. He looks more like the school nerd. He’s more likely to get his lunch money stolen by Bulk and Skull then kick ass as a Power Ranger. Strangely enough he’s the only original Power Ranger that has appeared in all three seasons of the Mighty Morphin’ era.

Who’s Bulk and Skull I hear you ask? Farkas “Bulk” Bulkmeier and Eugene “Skull” Skullovitch are the resident school bullies at Angel Grove High School. They provide the comic relief of the show. They’re completely over the top and silly. I wasn’t expecting them to be main characters! Skull has this high-pitched laugh which gets annoying after a while. They’re always getting into schemes, which usually ends in humiliation or harm. It’s usually pies or cakes that they end up getting covered in. Everything they do or say is usually followed up with cartoon sound effects. In the second season, the two decide to discover the identities of the Power Rangers after they were saved by the Rangers. In season three, they enrol in the Junior Police Force in order to impress girls. I think they’re lovable in a silly way.

Speaking about annoying, I really can’t stand Alpha 5. It took a lot of willpower on my behalf to continue with this project because all you hear is “aye-aye-aye, aye-aye-aye”! It gets really annoying, really quick. I do like the design of the character and it is a fancy looking design, but I’ve just had enough of the voice. Imagine having to live with him. How Zordon puts up with him I do not know.

The main villain is Rita Repulsa. I’d love to know who came up with that came because it sounds so generic. My granny had a mate called Rita. It’s like Tim the Wizard from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. I kind of like her in a campy sort of way. She reminds me so much of a villain from the 1960s Batman TV series. Rita was originally part of the Sentai footage, they just dubbed her voice and she never shares any scenes with the American cast, at least not early on. What I find interesting is that the actress playing Rita gets changed quite a bit but the voice actor remains the same. You’re seeing a different face but hearing the same voice. I was almost fooled. Is it her? Is it not? It plays with your head.

Rita has her army of henchmen called The Putties who appear in every episode and always get their arses handed to them by the Rangers. They wear grey spandex and make a noise which slightly resembles a Turkey. You would think that Rita would invest in better henchmen, right? It’s like having to fight off James Ellsworth, Gillberg, and The Brooklyn Brawler.

At the start of the second season, Lord Zedd replaces Rita as the villain. What can I say about this guy? He’s fucking amazing. He is introduced as Rita’s boss – think of him as a glorified area manager for super villains. Lord Zedd wasn’t part of Super Sentai, he was created specifically for Power Rangers. He has a very intimidating look about him. His brain is exposed, he glows bright red whenever he gets angry, he’s got no skin, and he wears metal undies. He walks like he took a dump in them. He also changes the look of the Putties, too. Somebody’s been watching too many episodes of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy!

Rita returns and they get married. Yes, you’ve read that correctly. Rita Repulsa and Lord Zedd get married. I wasn’t expecting that. At least they make each other happy I guess and that’s the main thing. I can imagine Vince Russo sitting at home, banging his fist on the table yelling, “They stole my idea, Bro.”

 

Monsters, Megazord, and Dragonzord

In my opinion, these guys make Power Rangers. Each Ranger has a power coin, which is used to give them their powers and their fancy looking spandex suits. It also allows them to summon these ancient robot animals called Zords. Some of the animals include a Sabretooth Tiger and a T-Rex. They don’t do much except jump out of Volcanos and shit. Right away they all combine together to form Megazord, and that’s when shit really goes down!

I had to have a lie down after the first time I saw it because it blew my mind wide open.

The Monster battles are the most appealing part of the show for me. You could compare the effects to Godzilla in the respect that it’s a guy in a rubber costume. The silliness and wackiness of the monster designs are off the chain. There’s this one monster that is a turtle with a set of traffic lights on its head or this other guy which has an upside down pumpkin head and he raps!

I’ve got to comment on the Megazord costume. It surprises me to see that the actor inside the costume is able to get a good range of motion, considering how bulky the costume is.

At the climax of every monster fight, a giant power sword comes out of thin air into Megazord’s hand in a flashy light show, the enemy monster is finished off, falling face first into the ground, and we jump cut to a giant burst of sparks in its place, and we end it with a low angle shot looking up at Megazord standing victorious.  The whole time that’s going on, that kick ass, energising theme song is playing. It doesn’t half get you pumped up for more!

After watching a ton of these I was starting to feel I was watching the same thing over and over again, and parts of it I actually was. The parts where the Zords are forming Megazord is the same recycled footage repeated every episode. After a while they started cutting the footage so you don’t have to see the whole sequence over and over again. But if you were a latecomer it wouldn’t make any sense. It just looks like a bunch of random shit flashing before your eyes.

This repeated footage never got old for me because it looks so awesome. My favourite part is the introduction of the T-Rex coming out of the volcano. It’s very well executed. The fire and heat distort the image, it’s a great touch.

The whole formation of Megazord reminds me of an old-school toy commercial. The way it’s paced with all the fast editing and in your face camera angles is very reminiscing of the toy commercials I remember watching in the 90s.

Once the Dragonzord is introduced by coming out of the water, oh my, this is really cool. This thing could totally fit in with the Godzilla universe. All the similarities are there.

There are all these other different Zord combinations like Thunder-Megazord. There’s also Ultra-Zord, which looks like he has a massive boner.

 

The Movies

Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers: The Movie was released in 1995, and came in-between the second and third seasons of the show. I made the mistake of watching this after I finished watching Season one, so I was confused by the introduction of the guys who debuted during season two. I put it down to the film not following the television show and that it was its own stand-alone project.

This is one of those movies that has that nostalgic 90s feel about it. It kind of has that wacky nature to it, much like the Super Mario Bros Film. It looks more like a cinematic version of the show, in which it should. You can tell that everything has been upgraded to have a polished movie quality effect to it. The Rangers’ suits look shinier and glossy. It almost looks as if they’re wearing suits of armor instead of spandex.

Ivan Ooze is introduced as the villain, thanks to the tomfoolery antics of Bulk and Skull. I wasn’t sure if I was going to take the guy seriously because he complains about missing out on the Black Plague and The Brady Bunch reunion, that was until he brainwashes the parents of Angel Grove into digging up the parts of his Ecto-Morphicons, large insect-like machines similar to the Rangers’ Zords. Not only that, he orders the parents to commit suicide!

What sort of sick fuck is this guy? I think I would have been traumatised had I seen this film as a kid!

The happy couple of Rita and Zedd are also a part of the film, but Ooze turns on them so that they won’t get in the way of his Earth-conquering plans. He also has a twisted sense of humour, which reminds me of Freddy Kruger.

The third act of the film is where the film goes full CG. No Super Sentai stock footage to work with, but holy crap the CGI looks awful. It might just be the worst CG I’ve ever seen in a mainstream film. It’s the mid-90s, I don’t expect everything to look as great as Jurassic Park, but this looks horrible. It’s worse than Playstation one graphics.

The second movie, Power Rangers Turbo, was released in 1997 and in-between the Zeo and Turbo films. I jumped ahead just so I can go to my grave knowing that I’ve seen the original films.

The first thing I notice is that the Rangers don’t get into their costumes around 30 minutes into the film. Everything in the show is done at a high speed so I don’t get why they slowed things down here….and the biggest irony of all is that the film has TURBO in the title.

The villain is Divatox. A Pirate-Queen of Evil who travels around in this fish-shaped submarine.

divatox

Look at her, it’s hard to ignore that her tits are sticking out in very scene. That costume is not PG. You can’t take your eyes off her. It’s a major distraction….not that I’m complaining about them. They are the real stars of the show after-all.

Kimberly and Jason return from the original series but spend most of the time either captured or turned evil.

There are these wizard guys with big cute eyes with this innocent expression but I don’t know what to take of them. It just creeps me out.

The Turbo-Megazord fight is the highlight because the film goes back to its roots of practical effects, not the lousy shitty CGI of the first film, and it is upgraded from TV quality. It looks exactly what I expect from a mainstream film. For that reason alone, I prefer Turbo over MMPRTM, that and Divatox’s tits. However, both films are pretty shite.

 

Early thoughts on Power Ranger 2017

I do plan on seeing this film and I will be reviewing it. My first impressions are that it’s trying to be too much like those shitty Michael Bay Transformers movies.

It looks updated and it should be updated, it should look and feel like a big budget blockbuster. I hope it stays true to the show, and I also hope it has the theme song! Plus a few cameos wouldn’t go a miss.

 

Go-Go Power Rangers or Go-Go-Away Power Rangers

So after 145 episodes and two movies, how can I wrap this up? What’re my thoughts on the show? To put it simply, it’s a ton of fun. Why I didn’t watch this show as a Kid I’ll never know.

I wish I could make a time machine so I could go back in time to tell my younger self to watch this show (that and to tell myself to put £50 on for Leicester City to win the Premier League in 2016. Imagine how much I would have won. I could have become a multi-zillionaire!)

Is this show for kids? Yes.

Is this show stupid? Yes.

Is this show awesome? Fucking rights it is!

What I’m trying to say is that I missed out. I can imagine driving my parents crazy, begging them to buy me the latest Power Ranger toy or watching the show on repeat.

That’s my final thoughts on Power Rangers, from the perspective of a total noob……or should I say, a new fan.

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2 comments on “Rif’s Random Reviews: Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers (1993 – 1995)

  1. sessioner123
    March 14, 2017

    Awsome show i loved it. Awsome blog riff cant fault it

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This entry was posted on March 14, 2017 by in RIF's Random Reviews, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , .
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