The Power Rangers, specifically the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, are getting a makeover on the big screen in 2017 with Saban’s Power Rangers – as the film is officially branded. With regard to its narrative setup, this movie isn’t all that different from the original Mighty Morphin TV series that kicked off the Power Rangers property back in 1993. After all, both revolve around five teenagers (with attitude) from the city of Angel Grove who are given super-powers through extraterrestrial means and use them to battle Rita Repulsa (Elizabeth Banks), the ancient alien sorceress who is hell-bent on conquering Earth.
It’s the tone and style that properly set apart the Power Rangers movie reboot and the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers TV series (or any Power Rangers TV show that has been released to date, for that matter). The Power Rangers teaser trailer paints the film as having not only a visual aesthetic similar to that of Power Rangers director Dean Israelite’s first directorial effort, Project Almanac, but also a similar storytelling approach to portraying teenaged protagonists who gain greater depth of character and come of age under fantastical (and dangerous) circumstances.
Likewise, the teens behind each Ranger costume appear to be more complex and, in some cases, troubled than their Mighty Morphin predecessors. That’s certainly the case with Jason the Red Ranger, who’s being played here by the relative newcomer (and recent Stranger Things season 2 addition) Dacre Montgomery. You can get a fresh look at Montgomery in the film, but out of his Rangers outfit in the below Power Rangers image, which the actor posted online through his official Twitter account.
Although Jason still leads the Rangers in the new Power Rangers movie like he did at the beginning of the Mighty Morphin TV show, official details released about Montgomery’s version of the character reveal that this new Jason has some personal demons to wrestle with that his predecessor did not. The Power Rangers teaser trailer similarly alludes to Jason needing to redeem himself and reveals that before the film begins, he had gotten himself into some sort of trouble – resulting in Jason having to wear an ankle bracelet to monitor him wherever he goes and having to attend a Breakfast Club-style weekend detention program for misbehaving students at Angel Grove high school. Of course, as “fate” would have it, those other students include Jason’s future Rangers teammates.
Some longtime Power Rangers fans are understandably (and perhaps wisely) wary of the new movie’s efforts to inject the Rangers franchise with plot and character substance along these lines. Nevertheless, the film’s attempts to truly re-imagine characters such as Jason are intriguing – and were good enough to convince Bryan Cranston, who’s playing the Rangers’ alien mentor Zordon in the movie, that this is a worthwhile re-imagining of a ’90s property. With that in mind, there’s still a lot about this film that has yet to be unveiled (including, how Cranston looks as Zordon), so the general outlook towards the movie may yet significantly change (for better or for worse), as everyone learns more about it ahead of its theatrical release next spring.
Power Rangers opens in U.S. theaters on March 24th, 2017.