Film A Week #TBT: Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers: The Movie (1995)

Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers combined all the badass action of martial arts and the cheesy goodness of Saved By the Bell. Five teenagers with attitude, later six, are given powers by Zordon (voiced by Robert L. Manahan) to protect the the city of Angel Grove from the clutches of Rita Repulsa (voiced by Barbara Goodson) and Lord Zedd (voiced by Robert Axelrod).

The Rangers battle against the Putties, got involved in gigantic kaiju-inspired battles and the occasional mishaps of those always kooky Bulk (Paul Schier) and Skull (Jason Narvy). The show relied on footage from the Super Sentai series from Japan in order to adapt it for an American audience complete with horrendous dubbing and screwy editing.

The show was so popular with the kids at the time that 20th Century Fox teamed with Saban Entertainment to produce and make the Rangers cinematic debut in 1995′s Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers: The Movie. 

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Long before the upcoming 2017 big screen revamp, this film gave the audience what they wanted: Power Rangers on the big screen.

Upping the ante and giving the film version a bigger budget, this film took a risk by adapting the show with original content including a new villain, original footage that was not the Super Sentai footage and introducing a whole new ninja-based power called Ninjetti for the Rangers. The film is a goofy, cheese-filled romp, but feels like it should have stayed on the small screen in the long run.

Our rangers for this film are:

  • Blue Ranger Billy (David Yost)
  • Pink Ranger Kimberly (Ashley Jo Johnson)
  • Red Ranger Rocky (Steven Cardenas)
  • Black Ranger Adam (Johnny Yong Bosch)
  • Yellow Ranger Aisha (Karan Ashley)
  • White Ranger Tommy (Jason David Frank)

During a skydiving charity event for the passing of Ryan’s Comet, the Rangers team with comical and lovable bullies Bulk and Skull in order to raise money, but those two miss the target. They instead find themselves in a construction site which has unearthed a giant purple egg. Later that evening, Repulsa, along with Goldar (voiced by Kerrigan Mahan) and Lord Zedd, open up the egg to reveal the villainous Ivan Ooze (Paul Freeman).

Ooze is hellbent on seeking revenge on Zordon for destroying his rule of Earth 6000 years ago and does so by not only laying waste to Zordon and the Rangers’ Command Center, but by selling his hypnotic ooze to the people of Angel Grove in order to work for him to dig up his own zords known as Ecto-Morphicons. It’s up to the Rangers save Angel Grove from Ivan Ooze armed with their new Ninjetti powers from Dulcea (Gabrielle Fitzpatrick) of the planet Phaedos and use their new Ninjetti Zords to defeat Ooze once and for all.

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Power Rangers: The Movie is a bit of a mess, but what a beautiful mess it is. In my original review back in 2013, I was admittedly really harsh to it. In hindsight, the film captures the spirit of the show and the show itself is not the greatest to begin with. As a longtime fan, I prefer In Space to the original Mighty Morphin’ series, but that’s just me.

The acting in this film is pretty bad, save for David Frank as Tommy, Jo Johnson as Kimberly and Yong Bosch as Adam. The story and the dialogue is abysmal with certain plot threads not making total sense, but then again, this is based off a show where they once had to fight a rapping pumpkin. It also does nothing for the people who are not into the show to begin with as anyone coming into this trying to give it a chance will be alienated out of the gate with countless lines of exposition that would make Final Fantasy look casual in comparison. The CGi effects are disgustingly outdated, even by the standards of 1995. This film was just two years after the groundbreaking effects of Jurassic Park, so there was no excuse for it to look so bad.

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Luckily, the film does have some positives that can help with the enjoyment. The costume designs and makeup effects are awesome. Lord Zedd always looked brilliant, Ivan Ooze was completely astounding and the revamp Ranger suits are some of the best suits to this day. Love and care were actually put into these designs and fleshed out for the big screen.

The original action footage for the film is great fun, well choreographed and sticks to the spirit of the Super Sentai footage. The absolute highlight of the film is Freeman as Ivan Ooze. Freeman seems to be having a ball on set, chewing the scenery until there is none left to bite out of. He’s over-the-top and a maniacal comic that just happens to have superpowers.

It’s not worth go, go going after (that was horrible), but Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers: The Movie gives the fans at the time what they wanted, but once the nostalgia wears off, the flaws will finally show.

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