The new ‘Power Rangers’ trailer isn’t playing around
Kanye’s intro makes you feel like you could lift a school bus
The moment you realize that the new Power Rangers movie isn’t messing around is at the one-minute mark of the trailer that was released last week.
The bass- and synth-heavy intro from Kanye West’s “Power” drops. The infectious, reverberating beat — which gives off the same thumping and echoing feeling in your chest as any hip-hop track produced by producers such as Polow the Don, Lex Luger or David Banner — makes you feel like you could lift a school bus, stomp all over skyscrapers like Snoop Dogg, or suplex a mastodon and triceratops.
The instrumental makes you feel as untouchable as West hanging above screaming fans at one of his concerts or as bold as him hijacking someone else’s award show acceptance speech. You can keep your “Now That’s What I Call Music!” pep rally jams or melodramatic covers of Johnny Cash, “Power” was meant to let you know it is about to go down.
As was the case with the teaser released late last year (with a somber version of Cash’s “I Walk The Line” playing in the background), the trailer begins in that same brooding melancholic mood, providing exposition on who the five discontented teenagers are before they receive their superhuman powers (Kimberly/Pink Ranger and Jason/Red Ranger appear to be smitten, which almost guarantees infighting if the Tommy/Green Ranger character is introduced for the highly expected sequel).
But the tone quickly changes with a well-placed racial joke. When the five teens fall into an enclosed body of water, each radiates the color of their respective Power Rangers identity. Billy/Blue Ranger, the black nerd, gives off a dark blue glow, while Zack/Black Ranger, played by an Asian actor, is engulfed in black liquid. Billy yells, “I’m blue,” while Zack quips, “I’m black,” earning a stern glance from his African-American counterpart (the meta-joke here is that the Zack character from the original Power Rangers show was played by a black actor).
And unlike the original trailer, we learn more about the rangers’ recently adapted powers — super strength, the ability to leap to extraordinary heights and easily scale mountains — which, unlike the television show, the teens can use outside of their powered suits. We meet Zordon, the Power Rangers’ affectionate mentor (voiced by Breaking Bad‘s Bryan Cranston), for the first time, who has evolved from a bodiless head in a fish tank to an IMAX-sized 3-D pin art machine. There’s also robot assistant Alpha 5 (voiced by Bill Hader), who is the lone “miss” in this reboot so far.
Alpha used to be a cute, lovable R2-D2-like sidekick to Zordon, but now is an ungodly, pot-bellied mashup of Wall-E and E.T. I get that the movie has taken on a more extraterrestrial vibe compared with its predecessors, but this Loch Ness monster concoction isn’t working for me. The same can be said of antagonist Rita Repulsa, who now looks more Poison Ivy meets Dorian from The Mask.
But all that aside, when Jason evokes the famous “It’s morphing time” line, you get transported back to 1993, when Mighty Morphin Power Rangers first debuted on U.S. television. You can almost hear the “Go Go Power Rangers” theme song faintly ringing in your ear. Nostalgia hits again when you finally get to see the rangers in their powered armor, walking emphatically (as slow motion tends to do for any movie scene) down a hallway before battling what appears to be mineral-based versions of the dreaded and inept Putty Patrol.
And when a roided-out Goldar appears, this brings out the highly anticipated Zords, the piloted robots that battle skyscraper-sized villains. Without the trailer having to say the names of each Zord, you can rattle them off like your ABCs: mastodon, triceratops, saber-toothed tiger, pterodactyl, tyrannosaurus. When the threat becomes too severe, all five Zords join together to form the Megazord, which favors the Jaeger machines from 2013’s Pacific Rim.
For those who grew up watching Power Rangers, this new movie should be a welcome reimagining of a show about five annoying teenagers gaining superpowers from colorful spandex costumes. While some feared that a more “serious” take on the original would fall into the same trap as other franchises that attempted to mimic Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight playbook, this trailer all but erases those worries. For those who never watched the show through its 23 seasons, this new movie should be entertaining for you as well.
Through the two trailers and a string of promotional photos, it’s safe to say that Power Rangers is The Breakfast Club meets 3 Ninjas meets Transformers with a splash of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. So at the very least, it’ll be a loud, colorful fun ride.