I was a Gen 1 fan of ‘Mighty Morphin Power Rangers’ but after a few years, I eventually stopped watching. That was mainly because I grew up, but I know a lot of fans who never outgrew the show and have stuck with it since then, or whenever they discovered it. Even though I stopped watching the newer iterations, I never stopped being a fan of the originals. I even have all the different colored tee shirts. Then with the release of the big screen movie, I, like many, have a renewed interest in the franchise as a whole, so when I was given the chance to review the DVDs of the newest season, ‘Power Rangers: Dino Supercharge’, I was game to give it a go.
These discs were previously released as two separate sets– subtitled ‘Roar’ and ‘Extinction’. Now all 20 episodes are available in one package. I’m not sure if the discs themselves are in any way different or if this is just a repackaging.
The cover is fairly nondescript, with an emphasis on the Zords over the Rangers themselves. The actual discs are more vibrant and colorful.
There are zero bonus features, but since this set is clearly aimed at kids and not film aficionados, that’s to be expected. After all, what could anyone possibly say about these episodes in a commentary?
I found it comforting in a cheesy way that even though this incarnation of ‘Power Rangers’ is a bit slicker and more sophisticated (with storylines that span several episodes and the season as a whole), it still follows the basic set up that goes back to ‘Mighty Morphin’: each episode is based on some throw-away McGuffin, usually something central to one of the Rangers… for one episode only. For example the second episode revolves around the town of Amber Beach’s water supply becoming contaminated… just as one of the Rangers, Riley the Green Ranger (Michael Taber) agrees to participate in a marathon.
Another thing that’s changed is that the theme to this season seems to be “the more the merrier.” Originally there were five Rangers, until Tommy showed up and they became six. Most seasons have basically followed the same pattern. But there are TEN Rangers in ‘Dino Supercharge’. As usual, the main team consists of a multi-ethnic mix of attractive teenagers.
The main character is Tyler (Brennan Mejia) the Red Ranger, who is on a quest to find his father. And most of the episodes center on five main characters. In addition to Tyler and Riley, the core team includes Shelby the Pink Ranger (Camille Hyde), Koda the Blue Ranger (Yoshi Sudarso) who happens to be an unfrozen caveman, and New Zealander Chase the Black Ranger (James Davies), who likes to skateboard.
In addition, they are joined by a mentor, Kendall Morgan (they refer to her as Miss Morgan, played by Claire Blackwelder), a scientist who is the Purple Ranger. There’s also a Gold Ranger (Sir Ivan, apparently a knight from medieval times, played by Davi Santos), a Graphite Ranger (Prince Phillip, a descendant of Ivan, played by Jarred Blakiston) plus Aqua and Silver Rangers. The identities of those are part of the storyline, so I won’t spoil them. Miss Morgan and a few others are (youthful) adults and if I interpreted it correctly, it appears Shelby in in college, so they are all older than the traditional high school-age Rangers. There’s also a creepy puppet-like mentor named Keeper that thankfully doesn’t show up very much.
As with every iteration, these Rangers dress in their signature colors in their civilian identities. And conveniently, they all work at the same dinosaur themed restaurant attached to the Amber Beach Dinosaur Museum, which Miss Morgan runs. (Shelby is also fascinated by dinosaurs.)
This is a continuation from ‘Power Rangers: Dino Charge’ which I have not seen, so I had to play catch-up a little to figure out all the characters’ roles.
The main villain is a far cry from Rita Repulsa, Lord Zedd and Ivan Ooze. The normal human Heckyl (Campbell Cooley) is a play on Dr. Jeckyl and Mr. Hyde. When needed, Heckyl switches places with his alter ego Snide. He communicates with his monstrous half via an old-fashioned pocket watch.
Of course Heckyl and Snide have a roster of other monsters to call on to send on their quest to steal the Rangers’ Energems, the crystals that grant them their powers.
The production values have certainly increased since Season One. This version is much sleeker and the cinematography and fight choreography are big screen-quality. In the original version, the Megazord could be reconfigured when combined with the Green Dragonzord and Titanus. In this season, the Zords are able to be combined into a seemingly infinite number of configurations, depending on which Rangers are present at the moment.
As usual, the footage switches back and forth from new American footage to that lifted from a Japanese series, in this case ‘Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger’. But it seems that a lot more American footage is used in this iteration than in previous seasons.
The weakest link is the Zord footage, unfortunately. It looks as if they took the actual toys and filmed them.
So while there have been technical advancements, the show’s structure still follows the same formula… which is okay. The show remains aimed at kids in order to sell toys and it should effectively do that, but it’s mature enough that it’s not unbearable for adults.
The four-disc set is priced at roughly the same price that the previously released half-seasons sets sold for, so it’s a good value. If you’re a fan, it’s worth it.
You can order it from Amazon or find it at major retailers. (The episodes are also available to stream on Netflix.)