The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers sparked a “Cabbage Patch” level of hysteria in the early 1990s, when Saban Entertainment took a Japanese Senati series called ‘Kyōryū Sentai Zyuranger’ and re-cut it, substituting the original non-costumed cast with clean-cut American teenagers as the Rangers’ secret identities. With the colorful costumes, attractive cast, frenetic fight scenes, cool morphing Zords and general high-octane tone, the show drove kids into a frenzy and as a result sent their parents into a feeding frenzy in the aisles of toy stores where they scrambled to snag whatever MMPR swag they could get their hands on to appease their kids who just HAD to have them! (The property benefited by appealing to boys and girls simultaneously.) This inspired the movie ‘Jingle All The Way’.
MMPR was so popular they starred in a big screen movie, but parents already hated the pixie-stick fueled TV show… why on Earth would they PAY to watch a two hour version of what already drove them crazy in the comfort of their own homes? The movie underperformed but, the series continued to be a hit and after they ran out of ‘Kyōryū Sentai Zyuranger’ footage, Saban simply took another Sentai show, ‘Gekisou Sentai Carranger’ and re-cut it as a new iteration of the Power Rangers, bringing in a new cast of American teens. This new version was called ‘Power Rangers Turbo’, which also got a big screen movie, albeit with a lower budget and distribution. And so it went, every few years Saban would create one new iteration of the ‘Power Rangers’ after the other.
The property has never left the airwaves or toy store shelves. But now Lionsgate has partnered with Saban to bring the original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers to the big screen. Lionsgate announced:
“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.”
This film could appeal to a wide audience as twenty years worth of kids have grown up thrilling to some iteration of these spandex clad super teens. To be honest, I don’t know that kids actually differentiate between the different versions of the Rangers, so they’re likely to turn out for any version that hits the big screen. But the more important part is that the earliest wave of Ranger fans are now adults in their twenties and thirties– the major audience for filmmakers. And we live in an age where most people– let’s face it– don’t actually grow up. I’m wearing an MMPR rubber bracelet as I type this and I have my “Jason/Red Ranger” shirt neatly tucked away in my drawer. Bring it!
What do you think? Are you dying to see the Power Rangers given the big budget, big screen treatment? Hey, the Ninja Turtles are getting a revival this summer, after all!