‘Saban’s Power Rangers’ is a big screen reboot of the long-running live action kids show which has been reinvented countless times with new teens adopting the roles every couple of years. But the new movie, directed by Dean Israelite and set to debut on January 13, 2017 is going back to the beginning, when the show took America by storm as ‘Mighty Morphin Power Rangers’. As the kids who watched the show as children are now in their 20-30s, the new spin, with a script by Ashley Miller and Zack Stentz (based on an early treatment by Burk Sharpless and Matt Sazama), is said to be “mature but still playful.”
We’ve already reported that the new film opens in prehistoric times, with Zordon as the original Red Ranger battling Rita Repulsa, who is later revived in modern times, seeking to construct a champion in Goldar. Zordon with help from trusty robot Alpha 5 have no choice to to enlist the help of five Earth teenagers to stand against the space witch.
And who are these new “teenagers with attitude?” Longtime fans should be happy to know that this reboot retains the names and basic personalities from the first season of the show. Here is how they are described:
Jason – 17 years old, the makings of someone or something great if he would just get out of his own way. Jason was a legend of this town—a freshman quarterback with the skills to take him all the way. People knew his name. Children wore his jersey. Until, one night Jason wrapped his car around a pole and busted out his knee. Everything Jason was going to become ended in an instant. And with it, he lost himself. When we meet him at the start of the film, he’s a kid in need of redemption. By the end, he’ll be leading this disparate group of teens to shed their individual baggage and find who they truly are.
Jason was originally played by Austin St. John and his character’s full name was Jason Lee Scott. On the original show, Jason was a martial arts whiz, but I don’t recall him ever being shown as a traditional athlete, i.e. a football player. The description of a freshman football player who is so great that kids wore his jersey is kind of harder to buy than giant robotic Zords fighting rubbery monsters, though. Also a freshman isn’t old enough to drive, much less wreck a car.
The tragic backstory seems like an effort to make Jason more like the edgier Tommy, who is the most popular of the original batch of heroes. Originally, Jason was an easy-going, super friendly guy. But then again, the original characters were a bit one-note. Maybe this is intended to give him a more grounded, complex presence.
Kimberly – 17 years old, unconventionally cool all in a way the popular girls wish they were. In fact, she was one of those girls, but isn’t anymore. Not since she’s returned to school after an absence of 6 months. Rumors are flying as to why; rumors she seems not to care about, because she’s come back with this new rebel-without-a-cause, edgy attitude. But the truth is, it’s all masking a deep secret that makes her feel profoundly vulnerable.
Kimberly was played by Amy Jo Johnson and her last name was Hart, which it was revealed will be the same in the movie. Bad girl Kimberly, huh? It’s different. Previous descriptions had her described as being an overachiever with straight A’s and a driven gymnast. That last part, at least, is in keeping with her original depiction.
On the original show, Kimberly was sort of a Valley Girl/mallrat type, but that was gradually toned down. But she was still a bubbly girlie-girl, which contrasts a bit with this “unconventional” description.
Trini – 17 years old, mysterious and extremely bright. Her parents constantly move for work, making Trini the perpetual new girl to any school. A loner who owns it, Trini is self-sufficient, contemplative, but always observant. All she wants is to find her gang of friends, but she’ll never admit it – least of all to herself.
Trini was originally played by the late Thuy Trang. Trini’s last name was Kwan. This description is more fleshed out than the character’s original depiction on the show, but it’s pretty in step. The idea of Trini being a new girl wasn’t part of her story on the original show, but she was always a bit more quiet and composed than Kimberly and this idea could play into that.
Billy – 17 years old, slight and awkward. Billy is challenged in his abilities to communicate and interact socially. Whip-smart and sweet, but always odd. Sometimes in a fun way, sometimes not, Billy is a kid with no filter. Showing his emotions, understanding sarcasm, and dealing with his OCD is a constant challenge. Has never really had any friends and instantly gravitates towards Jason.
Billy Caplan was originally played by David Yost. He was always the stereotypical nerd character, so this description is faithful, just a lot more in-dept.
Zack – 17 years old, always the life of the party. Filled with bravado and swagger, Zack’s tough and cool on the exterior. A charming guy who’s never had trouble with the one-liner, nor lacked confidence around women. A great athlete that’s never wanted to play on any team but his own. Zack advertises everything about himself, except the truth, which is that he lives in a trailer park with his single mom, and because of it, feels deeply inferior to all his peers.
Zack’s last name on the show was Taylor and he was played by Walter Jones. Like with Jason, I don’t remember Zack as playing traditional American sports, but he was a master at Hip Hop Kido a fusion of martial arts and break dancing. Like with Jason, he is given a tragic backstory perhaps to flesh him out and give him a more grounded reality.
All-in-all, these descriptions manage to balance the characters in their more simplistic presentations on the original show but with a healthy dash of pathos to add a more realistic edge for a modern audience. That could work quite well or it could come across as heavy-handed, so hopefully they won’t slather on the melodrama too heavily.
What do you think? Are you pumped for a modern spin on the ‘Power Rangers’? Comment below!