Power Rangers

MMPR Productions

Here’s a hypothetical for you: you’re a powerful magician from outer space who’s locked in a battle of wills with diabolical powers who want to destroy earth and its friendly human inhabitants. You’d want teenagers to help you fight, right? And not just any teenagers, but teenagers with attitude, correct?

Of course you would. That’s why the Power Rangers are so popular, and have been for two decades. Now on the franchise’s 21st birthday, creator Haim Saban has announced that he’s partnering with Lionsgate to make a feature film with the karate chopping team that combines their individual battle vehicles into a mechanical beast worthy of Pacific Rim.

This new Power Rangers movie marks the third feature film for the franchise, although the first two came back-to-back in the mid-90s when the series was first hitting its stride. Both were also low budget affairs that sought to bring the TV show into theaters, and while the first was a minor success, the second was a forgettable flop.

It’s unclear at what level this particular incarnation will be. In the press release, Saban name-drops The Hunger Games and Divergent, which seems like wishful thinking from a man trying to sell plastic toys and playing cards. On the other hand, if Lionsgate has faith in the property and gives it a $35-50m budget, then we could be talking about a serious stab at making this a viable action movie instead of an upgraded DTV affair.

So what’s in store for the movie? According to the release, “The new film franchise will re-envision the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, a group of high school kids who are infused with unique and cool super powers but must harness and use those powers as a team if they have any hope of saving the world.”

In this case, it looks like they’re using “re-envision” to mean “envisioning the same thing again.” As of right now there are no other details beyond the plan to bring MMPRs to the big screen. Naturally, the only question on anyone’s mind is what role Amy Jo Johnson will get to play.

If there’s a second question, it’s whether the team’s costumes will still reflect their ethnic backgrounds.

I’m not hip to what the kids are doing these days, but is this franchise still popular? Or is it another sign that nostalgia creep is starting to slip into the 1990s for sustenance?

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