Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie

on June 30, 1995 by Christine James
   As expected, this movie caters almost entirely to the built-in audience of the phenomenally popular children's TV series, a core of fans who pledge allegiance to the Power Rangers daily. They play with the action figures. They wear the costumes. They sing the theme song. They eat the macaroni and the breakfast cereal. (Separately, one hopes.) They are die-hard dedicated as only pre-pubescents can be. Usually that loyalty remains at a fervent pitch for only a few weeks or months before being refocused on a newer passion, but the Rangers, bafflingly enough, seem to have staying power to spare. The tots of America--and those parents who picked the shorter straw--will be out in droves; its boxoffice success is as predictable as the storyline.
   The movie is basically an episode of the series that's three times too long. There is no character development; it's assumed we already know and love the protagonists. The acting is passable at best. The premise is old-hat, and there is overt capitalization upon children's delight in toilet humor by designing the main villain, Ivan Ooze, and his slimy minions to convey the texture and sound of several of the more repulsive bodily fluids.
   The Power Rangers are six crime-fighting teenagers who might do well to consider that their "carefully guarded secret identities" would be better protected if, while in the guise of everyday high-school students, they didn't travel in a group, wear clothing directly correlated to their respective Ranger outfit colors, and perform exceptionally well-executed martial arts. The heroes must transport themselves to another planet on a dangerous mission to find an energy source that will conquer the evil Ivan Ooze, who plans, no surprise, to take over Earth. In the process, the Rangers are constantly forced into battle with various monsters who all fall prey to the same tricks while being treated to Ranger-brand repartee like "Have a nice `trip'!"
   The omnipresent kids' movie theme of "you can do anything you put your mind to" is supposedly exemplified when the Rangers lose their powers, but the message is undermined by the fact that the Rangers gain a new set of powers without doing anything to first prove that they could be successful without them. Paul Freeman adds a spark of life with his gleeful portrayal of Ivan, and the martial arts, special effects and particularly the opening skydiving sequences are impressive. But director Bryan Spicer doesn't live up to his previous credits, the TV shows "Parker Lewis Can't Lose" and "The Adventures of Brisco County Jr.," which were far more clever than this cliche-bloated cash cow.    Starring Jason David Frank, Steve Cardenas, David Yost, Johnny Yong Bosch, Amy Jo Johnson, Karan Ashley and Paul Freeman. Directed by Bryan Spicer. Written by Arne Olsen. Produced by Haim Saban, Shuki Levy and Suzanne Todd. A Fox release. SF/Action. Rated PG for cartoon depiction of martial arts combat. Running time: 95 min.
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