I recently found myself at the local used movie, music, and video game store, wandering up and down the aisles and digging through dollar bins like there was a prize at the bottom. I made my way to the checkout with way too many movies—as I often do—when a $5 movie display caught my eye.
Right there in front was a copy of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie. I instantly drowned in nostalgia, and I couldn’t say no. So, I picked it up and bought it along with Spawn, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, and Super Mario Bros. Because I can’t resist meh-level movies apparently.
I rushed home, excited because I remembered watching Power Rangers as a kid and playing with the flip-head action figures and transforming the Zords into the Megazord. It was probably the best time of my life.
I gathered a group of less-than-excited friends, grabbed a snack, and popped in the DVD. And that’s when the glass began to shatter.
First of all, the Power Rangers talk. A lot. And not just in conversation or when berating an enemy. They talk through almost every move they make, which is not only annoying, but also very bad fighting strategy. The movie opens with them skydiving for a charity benefit or something, and as each of them lands, they quip hip third-person phrases like “Kimberly closing in.”
And they talk a lot with their arms! Their arms zip up and down and zag back and forth, making martial arts-like motions while speaking. Even when they are in their respective Zords and no one can see them, they still talk like that. And all I can think is why aren’t their hands on the controls?
The rest of the movie follows the Rangers fighting Ivan Ooze (who looks just like his name sounds). The dialogue is cheesy and hilarious with the Blue Ranger saying at one point, “You ooze, you lose.” And the girls were stereotypically helpless and grossed out by the Ivan’s ooze. The guys had to come to their rescue more than a few times.
Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoyed the movie. It was just different—a lot different—than I remembered it. I remember the Power Rangers being a badass team of high school students who take on intergalactic evil. And they still are. They just have bad dialogue writers.
Then fear gripped me, and I asked myself what else could be way different than I remember it. And it was as I feared. Everything had changed.
It’s not just that I get the jokes aimed at the adults who are humoring their children by watching with them. I understand why those are there. And I get all the (mostly) subtle adult content stuffed in there. But these shows were definitely aimed at a young, socially developing, and non-critically thinking audience.
And while most of these shows teach real life values, they lack certain entertainment appeal to older audiences. Pokémon, Digimon, and Yu-Gi-Oh!, for instance, all drill the meaning and necessity of friendship into our young minds. Which is fine. But the shows are sometimes too sentimental. Especially with Ash releasing half the Pokémon he’s captured and Yugi preaching the gospel of the heart of the cards.