Lionsgate recently partnered with Saban Entertainment and announced that it was going to revamp the ‘Mighty Morphin Power Rangers’ for a new big screen feature film. Work on the movie appears to be chugging right along as now it is reported that Max Landis, the screenwriter of ‘Chronicle’ has already submitted a draft of the script! ‘Chronicle’ was a real-world spin on the super hero concept and Landis has been dying to take on an actual comic book super hero property, having pitched his own spins on Wonder Woman and Green Lantern. Has he finally achieved his goal in scripting the exploits of these teens swathed in spandex, battling big rubber monsters? (Okay, I’m sure the production values will be higher than that.)
There have been numerous iterations of the Power Rangers over the last twenty years, but it sounds as though Lionsgate is returning to the original version for their movie. The first generation of Power Rangers was actually a re-tooling of the Japanese series ‘Kyōryū Sentai Zyuranger’ edited to substitute American teenagers as the Rangers’ alter egos. Originally, the team consisted of leader Jason (Red), Trini (Yellow), Zach (Black), Billy (Blue) and Kimberly (Pink) with Tommy (Green/White) joining later. After the show proved to be a merchandising phenomenon, the actors playing Jason, Trini and Zach attempted to get a larger slice of the pie and were fired and replaced with Rocky, Aisiha and Adam, who would actually appear in the first live action movie of the ‘Mighty Morphin Power Rangers’.
This is the official release for the upcoming film:
“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.”
But just how radically will this movie “re-invision” this concept? Landis’ involvement really brings this into question. Technically, ‘Chronicle’ was about “a group of high school kids who are infused with unique and cool super powers” but turned on its head from the way this story usually transpires. These kids used their powers to play pranks and elevate their self-esteem. It was also shot in the ‘found footage’ hand-held video style.
Let’s be honest, ‘Power Rangers’ has always been filmed on the cheap, recycling Japanese Sentai footage and mixing it with “Saved By The Bell” quality American footage. It doesn’t really matter. I mean, no matter how cheesy it actually was, it struck a chord and kids loved it. Now a lot of those kids are adults who still love the franchise and would gladly turn out for a feature film version. But do we really need a grim and gritty spin on this property?
I mean, the original show was set in the fictional town of Angel Grove, CA. Doesn’t that sound pleasant? I don’t necessarily need to see Bulk and Skull crushed under Pudgy Pig’s hooves or to see Trini suffering from a eating disorder… I probably wouldn’t mind Billy actually being out of the closet, but that’s just me.
Of course, being Hollywood, nothing is set in stone. Lionsgate could completely reject Landis’ script and go with another writer’s spin on the property. And who’s to say, maybe Landis embraced the inherent cheesiness of the original show and celebrated it. We still have a bit of a way to go before this actually materializes.