I saw Power Rangers five times in a row and was joined by original cast members David Yost and Walter Jones! Here’s the full video of the day followed by a detailed recap of each screening.
I knew the new Power Rangers movie was an origin story, so I watched the original ‘Day Of The Dumpster’ pilot episode to see how the show handled the Power Rangers origin in 1993. The pilot instantly unleashes Rita and her gang in outer space (I think on the moon) then introduces us to our pre-Power Rangers protagonists. The Power Rangers meet Zordon and learn about their new roles as superheroes about halfway through the episode. They reject it initially, fight some putties, then morph for the first time about ¾ of the way through the episode. They finally get in their zords and form the Megazord with a couple of minutes to spare to defeat a giant Goldar.
I also watched The Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers Movie (1995) for the first time since it came out on VHS. The movie was pretty hilariously time-stamped with some of the music, wardrobe, and rollerblading choices but what really stood out to me was that half of the original cast had already been replaced by the time the movie came out less than two years after the show premiered. The original red, yellow, and black Power Rangers were all played by different actors. Also the movie borrowed pretty heavily from all three Ninja Turtles films. There was ooze like the second movie, old-timey ninja costumes like the third movie, and a kid saving a parent from a brainwashed gang which is just a flip of what happens in the first movie.
The First Screening (10:45 AM)
I really enjoyed Power Rangers the first time I watched it. It was super fun and moved quickly and reminded me how much I used to enjoy watching it way back in the day. It felt like something a kid who knew nothing about Power Rangers could enjoy, but had a lot of things there for childhood fans.
The way they formed the Megazord bothered me, since it happened by accident and not by design, which felt like a big canonical break. But the real issue I had was with Kimberly’s wardrobe. She wore this weird three-stringed top underneath her shirts that was extremely distracting, mostly because I don’t even know what you’d call it. Was it a bra? I don’t think it’s a bra. So was she wearing a bra UNDERNEATH the three-strapped contraption? I had so many questions.
It was also interesting that the pacing of this origin story almost directly mirrored the pilot. So if you’re annoyed it took them half the movie to meet Zordon, it took just that long in the pilot. And almost the same exact ratio to when they morph, get in their zords, and form the Megazord. They even battle a giant Goldar at the end of this movie, just like the pilot. If the pacing bothers you, you probably need other things to worry about, but also know it’s almost identical to the pilot. If you have any doubts that this movie is for adults, it opens with a joke about a guy accidentally jacking off a cow.
The Second Screening (1:30 PM)
For my second screening, I was joined by the original Black Ranger, Walter Jones! I asked him to bring a piece of memorabilia that held special significance to him and he brought along a comics that showed Justice League meeting the Power Rangers. There were scenes that featured Superman and Batman talking to Zack and I could tell it meant a lot to him. We got hot dogs before the movie; the guy at the concession stand recognized Walter and thanked him for all the childhood memories.
I still very much enjoyed Power Rangers the second time in a row. It was fun! Like the other two times I’ve done this, watching a movie for the second time always moves faster than the first. And seeing it with one of the original Power Rangers was a surreal experience. But I started wondering why Billy isn’t the leader of the group. He literally does everything first. He discovers the coins, he finds the space ship with Zordon, he’s the first to step onto the morphing grid platform, he’s the first to morph, he finds the crystal, and he sacrifices himself for the team. But I guess people just don’t want to follow a guy named Billy.
Some more things that stood out to me included the scene where Zordon teaches them about the origins of the Power Rangers. Bryan Cranston explaining anything instantly sounds like Walter White in a classroom, it cracked me up. I also appreciated that the characters’ wardrobe choices were more subtle than the original series where they would just all walk around wearing ONLY their color. Like Jason and Billy are some Crips and Bloods who just happen to get along. How did nobody in Angel Grove piece together they’re the Power Rangers? Still, Kimberly’s three straps top thing irked me. I also thought it was odd that Zordon and Rita are both supposed to be 65 million years old. Zordon is a name that might be that old, Rita is definitely not.
I made note of the transition from the opening flashback scene with Zordon and Rita to the high school locker room. It’s a super slick transition. And there are words on the wall behind Jason that says something to the effect of, “Everything is difficult before it isn’t.” I know that was supposed to be about Jason’s journey, but it felt pretty on the nose for mine.
The film’s intense and over the top mentioning of Krispy Kreme donuts was kind of funny in the first screening but impossible to ignore in the second screening. They REALLY feature Krispy Kreme donuts in this movie. If you see it, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. Walter had seen the movie at the premiere the night before and said he enjoyed seeing it for the second time because he picked up on a lot more little character interactions. We agreed the movie theater hot dogs were pretty good.
The Third Screening (4:15 PM)
David Yost, the original Blue Ranger, joined me for my third Power Rangers screening of the day. He brought along some meaningful memorabilia that included a new Blue Ranger action figure set that had a classic Blue Ranger action figure with the package, a holographic trading card from the original series, some fan art he got at a Comic-Con, and his original script from the first pilot episode I watched the night before. I also brought along my original Blue Ranger action figure that day with the head that flips around when you press the belt.
I still enjoyed seeing Power Rangers for the third time. The experience was definitely influenced once again by the unique situation of seeing it with an original cast member, but the movie was just moving faster for me each viewing and not dragging at all.
The van crash stuck out as a big loose end. Like, what does Billy’s mom think happened to the van? Is Billy not in any trouble at all over it? That bothered me. It also seemed a little rushed how quickly everyone in the group was on board with maybe jumping to their deaths when they realized they had powers. One of Billy’s friends with glasses makes a quick face when Kimberly sits down at the lunch table and he instantly became my favorite minor character. I knew I was going to pay attention to him for the rest of the day every time he popped up for that one split second of face acting.
The choice for Zordon and Rita to speak their own language at the beginning was kind of silly. Do they think it’s going to become its own thing like Klingon or whatever the Navi speak in Avatar? And I wish they built Alpha as a practical robot, I think it would’ve looked a lot cooler than CGI. The end, right before they form the Megazord, felt very reminiscent of Toy Story 3. You get a team death fake out under intense heat, they even decide to hold together just like the toys.
The use of “Come at me bro!” and a full storyline about sexting (that I still didn’t totally understand at this point in the day) felt a little lame but the original movie had rollerblading so I guess this stuff comes with the territory of making movies for kids at a specific point in time. I decided to count the Krispy Kreme references. A character says the words “Krispy Kreme” seven times and there are seven scenes with unique and clear shots of the Krispy Kreme logo.
David and I agreed that the choice to have Billy be on the spectrum was great and a really positive representation you don’t traditionally see in a movie. David’s also a producer now and gave me some very appreciated tips on how I could produce this series better in the future. I told him I went to the Power Rangers set when I was six years old (this is true) and have a polaroid of me meeting him somewhere at my parents’ house that I unfortunately couldn’t find in time for this. He said to please send a copy of it when it turns up. I definitely will, but in the meantime I made sure to get an updated version with Walter while the two of them were both there earlier in the day.
The Fourth Screening (7:00 PM)
I still enjoyed Power Rangers the fourth time in a row. The crowd was filled with more fans than the earlier screenings and their energy helped keep my head in the game. The impact of sitting in a dark room watching the same thing over and over was starting to get to me, soI took a break during the training montage to go outside and get some fresh air. I didn’t need to see them train again. I was good on seeing them train.
Some things that stood out to me were Jason’s indignant snap of a super tiny trophy when he’s upset in his bedroom. It was dumb. And I laughed really hard when he jumped out of bed in full karate pose after he gets super powers. I like to imagine that’s how he gets out of bed every day.
Kimberly’s parents getting mad at her for giving herself a haircut was so funny. Why were they pissed off about a haircut? And why the hell are all these youths hanging out at a mine? I get why Billy goes there, and why Jason went to get out of house arrest, but everyone else’s reasons for hanging out at a mine (swimming to celebrate a new haircut, parents just don’t understand, mom’s so sick she might die) felt less than solid.
I loved how petty every student at this school is. From the bully with oddly thin hair to the catty cheerleaders. And the Power Rangers are equally petty right back at them, even while saving the world. They take total delight when their bullies almost dying or getting seriously injured, it’s absurd.
I realized I would never fully understand Kimberly’s sexting storyline. Why did she send that picture? Was that guy still her boyfriend at the time and she sent him a naked picture of another girl? Was her friend now dating him, and sent her a naked picture first? I had so many questions that would never get answered and I had to accept that and move on with my life. Also, they called her “Kim” a lot in this movie. Did they EVER call her Kim on the TV show? I think Kimberly was simply a more 90’s name and now we live in a Kardashian world. Just another timestamp, I suppose.
Elizabeth Banks’ character was very gross. I very much appreciated that she had all these slimy, disgusting moments. When she put her hand in the jewelry store, I wanted to throw up. It was so, so gross. And I love that she actually kills people in the movie a few times. The moments where this movie got dark and disturbing, it got VERY dark and disturbing.
I was getting up several times during the movie to stand by the stairs because I couldn’t sit still. Before the fifth screening started, I went to the ticket counter to move my seat on the aisle closer to the exit so I wouldn’t bother people. I told the lady at the ticket counter I’ve already seen this movie four times today and she was silent. I asked her if she thought I was kidding. She looked me in the eye and very slowly said, “No sir. I think you’re dead serious.”
The Fifth Screening (9:45 PM)
I don’t know how this is the case, but I still somehow enjoyed this movie on my fifth consecutive screening. However, the whole thing did get very blurry. I was feeling intense waves of déjà vu. Everything on screen felt like it JUST happened. Not two hours ago, but two seconds ago. It was really disorienting and, like in the past two times I’ve done this, I was having a lot of trouble keeping track of any thoughts at all. My brain was melting. Again, this is not a thing you’re supposed to do. Usually when I do this, I bounce between different screens at the multiplex, but for Power Rangers I was oddly in the same exact theater for all five screenings. I think this contributed to a little bit of the dizzying sensation.
The crowd for the last screening was clapping and applauding for all kinds of stuff, it was super fun. I was excited for them to hear the theme song at the end of the movie. When it finally played, the dude in front of me lost his mind. I very much enjoyed that, also in part because it meant this day was almost over.
Bryan Cranston’s moment of Walter White teaching made me laugh really hard and then I realized his whole relationship with Jason is kind of a Jesse Pinkman situation. I called him Jason Pinkman. The actor who plays Jason Pinkman looked a lot like a discount, bottom-shelf generic brand bag of cereal version of Zac Efron. I called the actor Jack Efron. My brain was turning into garbage after watching Power Rangers all day, something my mom specifically warned me about as a child.
I made note of the transition earlier in the day that happens after the car crashes before they cut to the boat that picks up Rita. It’s a great transition. I wanted to pay closer attention to it for the final screening, but totally missed it. My brain was skipping over things, probably out of self-preservation. They formed the Megazord for the last time and I headed home. But not before I closed out the story and let folks know that I’ve been changing my clothes all day to wear every Power Rangers color throughout the story.
Maybe it’s because I knew what I was getting into after watching La La Land and Fifty Shades Of Darker five times in a row, but seeing Power Rangers didn’t have any major negative repercussions on my mind, body, or soul over the next few days. I will say, though, that writing this recap took longer than I expected because the process of revisiting the entire day was stressful in and of itself. It’s hard to explain, but after doing this a few times just thinking about seeing any movie gives me at least a mild case of anxiety. I’ll be doing it again for Fate Of The Furious when it opens April 14th, see you next time at the movies!