||Mighty Morphin Power Rangers:
Their Movie Efforts Against Ivan Ooze!
It all started innocently enough. A friend and I were driving back to my place last weekend, when we passed a sign for a moving sale down one of the side streets. Moving sales are pretty much my God-given green light to spend magnanimous amounts of money on things those in house limbo were strongly considering throwing away. Anyway, the front lawn was packed with all kinds of crap, most of which is now sitting on the floor of my living room. Amongst the pile was a video I couldn't help picking up - the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers' first attempt at modern day cinema.
Now I know what you're thinking - it's gonna suck. Surprisingly, I kinda liked it. For the age group it was intended for, it was pretty stylish, the villains were actually creepy, and the effects were a hundred times better than the television show usually boasts. To that degree, I can't in good conscience deny that what could've easily been a really bad movie ended up pretty damn good. For a six-year-old. I'm 22, and thus, reviewing this movie will take a lot of personal complaints and outright bashing. That's more for my personal enjoyment, though. If you've got a little tyke around who doesn't mind delving deep into last year's fads, throw this video on.
I've always been intrigued with the Power Rangers. I enjoy them on this almost astral level in the same way I enjoy removing splinters from my big toe. I'm not supposed to enjoy it, there's really nothing redeemable about it to make it enjoyable, but when all's said and done, I've gotta admit - it was a fun ride. That goes for the movie and the splinter removal process.
Oh, one last thing: Power Rangers certainly redefined the idea of defying logic, but I'd feel guilty if I didn't mention the show's most outstanding irony: a guy who quite clearly would only drink carrot juice to wash down his own concoction of peanut paste and canola oil...running a health juice bar. Forget the fact that Rita Repulsa was able to breathe on the moon and could see small Earth cities from aforementioned moon - Ernie the Bartender was the show's true anomaly. Okay, let's review the shockingly watchable flick:
The movie opens up with a scrolling Star Wars-like intro that tells us how the Power Ranger teens go through great pains to keep their identities secret. So it should come as no small surprise that they always hang out together wearing outfits that completely correspond with their Ranger uniforms. Later in the show, they beam away to meet Zordon in the middle of broad daylight at Angel Grove High, which tells me that they subconsciously want a little credit for all those nights spent fighting giant rubber squids instead of boozing and fucking like the rest of the school. Plus, all this Morphin Ninja Action has really taken its toll on their studies: notice how they're all around 25, yet still in high school? Being a Power Ranger doesn't come without a price.
When they're not fighting evil, they're raising money for good causes. No, seriously - that's all they do. Today, they're a part of the local 'Jump-A-Thon' to raise cash for a local charity. What's a Jump-A-Thon, you ask? Why, isn't it obvious? It's when a bunch of high school kids jump out of a plane and land directly on a target in the middle of a busy city. Some of the high school kids even manage to do this on hoverboards. Our five young friends pull off a far more magnificent feat: doing this while wearing their Ranger colors, flying through the sky, and having absolutely no one question them about it. Thank God the writers didn't have the foresight to make anyone other than the main characters have lines, otherwise someone might've caught on and exposed them.
A perfect landing from a perfect citizen! Huzzah! I guess I could spend the next few paragraphs detailing the personalities of each Ranger, but I'm repetitive enough, no need to rewrite the words 'sweet,' 'helpful,' and 'vapid' over and over again. They're good people, that's all you need to know. Tommy, the White Ranger, seems to be the leader of the bunch. My theory is that they christened him as the head guy simply because he had the shiniest, silkiest hair. I mean, they all can do backflips and punch really hard - we've gotta find the tiebreaker somewhere. Billy, the Blue Ranger pictured above, is one of the original Rangers, and thus, approximately 35 years old with the gout. The only other Ranger Of Interest is Kimberly, her choice of color? Pink. You might remember the actress who played her, Amy Jo Johnson, from her stint on Felicity as well as various after-school specials involving anorexic gymnasts. Did I mention that God is sending lightning at me at this very moment as punishment for my saying that this was a good movie? Sorry, God. Kneel to Zod.
Elsewhere, a bunch of construction workers come upon some strange purple egg nestled in the ground, held by an equally strange giant metal hand statue. Normally, this would be cause for panic, but in Angel Grove, it's just cause for lots of 'ooohing' and 'ahhhing'. Even when the egg electrocutes one of the workers, everyone is so enamored with it that they pretend he was just susceptible to epileptic fits. Eh, who am I kidding? Angel Grove is a city where the local newscast usually features still photos of giant bat creatures breaking down buildings. One little egg is nothing compared to the usual flare.
But don't think this purple sphere is just making a cameo...it's not there just to serve as a nice, surreal little segue into the next scene. That egg is bad news. I mean, really bad news. To date, only two things I've seen in my lifetime have been worse news, and I'd like to share them both with you...right now!
The first instance, finding out that they discontinued making Marshmallow Rice Krispies. Now if I wanted to snap and crackle and to get all sugary, I'd have to buy Rice Krispies and Lucky Charms, mix 'em together, and play pretend. I've done it - it's just not the same. I miss that cereal.
The second, and far more sinister instance, is finding out that Lego commercials are far cooler over in Japan than they are here. If God has a name, it isn't Claire. And if God has a game, it isn't Fair.
The Rangers meet with Zordon, who's gotten wind of the cosmic egg surfacing and is none too pleased with the development. Guess he's vegan. Anyway, this Zordon character is the guy who assembled the Ranger teens, and who offers them advice in the form of a giant, floating bald head. He's seconded by Alpha, the robot idiot savant who was the first Droid to receive the experimental prototype 'Annoying Nuance Noises' prog. Zordon explains that the Rangers must do something with that egg before it's too late. Since we're so early in the movie at this point, I'd suggest it's already too late, and whatever unspeakable evil that lies within that egg is bound to come out.
I've always wondered if the Rangers actually liked taking orders from Zordon. I mean, it's not like this job is full of vague direction and mystery. When a giant monster falls on top of Angel Grove, they go kill it. Do they really need an oversized Max Headroom with a drinking problem to tell them that? Plus, the guy's always making them come to headquarters during school hours. We've been through this earlier - how are the Rangers ever going to graduate if they spend every 6th and 7th period forming a friendship circle around Zordon?
Lord Zedd and Rita Repulsa, the mainstay enemies of the Rangers, arrive at the site of the purple egg. Zedd, who offers nothing in battle but looks quite interesting, says that a great evil has been trapped in that egg for thousands of years. My bet? A pterodactyl. I shouldn't neglect to mention that I've been sexually attracted to Rita Repulsa ever since she taught me how to slice the moon in half. PS, I'm pretty sure it was explained on the show that Zedd and Rita are an item. Could you imagine how great a sitcom featuring those two lovebirds would be? Rita getting pissed because Zedd always gets home from work so late...Zedd destroying the state of Missouri in frustration...Rita trying to remove Zedd's pants for makeup sex before realizing that he's not wearing clothes, and is made up entirely of some weird interwoven string of glowing red alien nerves....late night coffee house chats...it'd be a dream. Fuck the Friends premiere...the good stuff's just waiting to be done.
And there he is! Ivan Ooze. The egg starts bubbling, morphs into a pile of purple slime, and then raises up into Ivan's celestial form. Ivan is, by far, the coolest character I've ever seen connected to the Power Rangers. Aside from being purple, he spits slime that turns into giant rock monsters. He also carries around a chalice full of smoking liquid, which of course is about the most chic and debutante thing a person could do. Make no mistake about it though - he's evil. I might like him, but the alleged citizen of Angel Grove aren't in for a good time.
To thank Zedd for freeing him, Ivan agrees to go destroy Zordon. Fair trade, I guess. I dunno, I think Zedd should've pushed for a crate of Kava Kava, or at least some chocolate as his tradeoff. But I guess that's just the negotiator in me. Or the idiot. Either way, Zedd has successfully persuaded Ivan to cause lots of trouble in Angel Grove.
First up: Annihilation of Zordon. Ivan oozes his way into the command center, looks around, and starts blowing up everything in sight. Zordon can't offer much defense, because let's face it, he's just a semitransparent floating image of a head. Alpha does his best to thwart our slimy pal, but he proves what we've already known for years correct: Alpha is a useless, blathering pile of metal better suited for the scrap heap than children's television.
The Rangers sense that something's gone amiss when their powers start flicking in and out, so they head back to the ol' HQ and find...something pretty strange. I never knew the truth about Zordon - he's a withered old bat wearing a giant grey turtleneck. He's also dying. Now this is really terrible. What would the Rangers do without someone to point out that they're supposed to destroy the giant monsters who occasionally turn up at Angel Grove to devour bridges? All will be lost without his superior guidance.
You really can't believe how awful Zordon looks in real life. It's no wonder his projected head image is so blurry. They didn't want to scare the kiddies. He kinda looks like that dementhead from Powder, only a lot older and without the ability to move spoons around and shit. God, Zordon, you're a useless fleabag. I hate you. Die. Die, or at least send me one of those swank Command Center toys...
Yum. Bonus Alpha-5 action figure. Guess they had to get rid of them somehow.
Anyway, Ivan, proud of his work with Zordon, returns to the villain base on the moon in his continued efforts to do evil things. He's sort of like an anti-Robin Hood character. He doesn't just do evil to good people, he does evil to evil people. He's double-evil, like a poisoned Oreo, or the twins from Sister, Sister.
When he returns, Lord Zedd expects Ivan to simply fall into the chain of command. Meaning he'd have to take orders from Goldar, World's Worst Villain. Ivan is about as agreeable to that notion as he is to wearing kilts, so instead, he transports Zedd and Rita into a snowglobe and takes control of the place himself. Zedd's minions immediately swear allegiance to Ivan, because let's face it, it doesn't matter who you're following as long as you look good. Goldar and that guy with the pig face are straight deck tens - they're all for the idea.
Now things start getting weird. Or at least, weirder. The Rangers were teleported by Alpha to a distant planet in search of the 'great power,' which will put an end to Ivan and also save Zordon's pathetic pastyassed life. When they get there, it doesn't look too different from Earth, aside from the occasional 20' tall ogre skeleton and trees without graffiti. But it most certainly is different. See, Ivan sent a horde of flying bird monkeys to kill 'em off. He wouldn't be able to do that at Angel Grove, because the bird creatures would undoubtedly get sidetracked by the sixty-five dozen people also participating in various 'Jump-A-Thons' while in flight.
The Birdthings look to be on their way to victory before some scantily clad hot chick makes the save. I don't remember her name, so I'm just gonna call her...hmmm...got it: Mandy Tori Titshots. Mandy Tori Titshots is apparently a friend of Zordon's, so while at first she didn't trust these five teenagers, now she's all about turning them into the best Rangers they can be.
As it's explained, each Ranger must become in tune with their totem animal. Or something like that. I dunno, by the end of this sequence, some Rangers are represented by apes, others by frogs, one by a crane, and they're all wearing cloaked ninja suits. Don't miss a minute folks, the action pours out fast and furious. By the way, I still hate Zordon and I'm reconsidering my claim that this was a good movie. I must've been sleeptyping again. Mandy Tori Tits helps the Rangers become better warriors before sending them out into the forest to find the great power. For a second I thought they were gonna tease a little love triangle between Tommy, Kim, and Mandy...but that's likely the result of all the oysters I was eating while watching this.
Man, I really wish they would've come up with a better title than 'Rangers' when giving them all these new powers. Everytime I hear 'Power Rangers', I start picturing a bunch of woodmen in green safari hats lifting weights. And frankly, it gets me pretty excited.
Meanwhile, back on Earth, Ivan's up to more no-good. Only it's the funny kind of no-good.
He dresses like a carnival wizard at an amusement pier to give out free bottles of his disgusting purple slime. He's giving it away for free, so of course, all the kids take it. I wish I was there, he even made personalized stickers for the bottles. Ivan really pays attention to detail. He's not giving away ooze just to get in good with the masses - there's far more sinister motives at play here. See, this isn't any ordinary ooze. It's ooze that turns parents into walking zombies who serve Ivan. Of course, every parent in Angel Grove manages to touch their children's ooze a minute after this scene. It's an amazing place, really.
The pics above are pretty self-explanatory, so I'll just take this opportunity to draw your attention to the column on the right hand side of the screen. See? Zordon's ugly. Enjoy.
Now, finally, we're working our way to the end of the movie. The Rangers make their way through the perilous threats of the forest, which included attacking dinosaur bones and demons made entirely of rock that somehow bends in half. When they get to the sacred temple, they, uh, turn into extra-special Power Rangers. I guess. Whatever. Stupid movie.
See? New powers! I wonder if these kids ever considered the potential threat of radiation poisoning. I mean, they spend a good portion of their day having cosmic beams shoot in and out of their chests, flying through space, and so on...and you've really gotta wonder...what's life gonna be like for these kids by the time they're thirty and full of diseases no doctor is prepared to treat. Don't tell me Zordon's gonna help 'em. He's a user, an abuser. Save the Power Rangers before they get Plutonian cancer. Save 'em for Angel Grove. Save 'em for yourself. Collect and trade them with your friends!
And now: the final battle. Ivan's commandeered one of his giant mechanical monsters, and now we've got a HUGE Ivan Ooze done entirely in CGI, running around the city crushing cars. The Rangers, on the other hand, head onto the scene using their new animal Zords. You got all that? Good, at least one of us does.
Alright, so they're not the greatest special effects ever seen, but they're bright and colorful -- put yourself in the kid perspective...you know they ate this shit right up. I was often surprised at the parental backlash over the 'violence' displayed in the show. C'mon. It doesn't take watching the Power Rangers for kids to learn how to kick and say 'hi-YAH!!!'. All it takes for that is a few tickles too many and a well-placed Western Sensei. In truth, the show's got more positive values than any I've seen for the kiddies. It's just morality lesson after morality lesson, and from a pseudocritic perspective, I can dig it.
The Rangers band together and lead Super Ivan into space, where they trick him into getting directly in the way of an oncoming comet, thus exploding into ten trillion tea baggin' pieces of sludge. The war is won. I'm really gonna miss Ivan. Well, I'll miss him if I decide to watch the Power Rangers ever again and see what shitty villain du jour they come up with. I won't miss him in everyday life, though. I'm too busy missing new episodes of What A Dummy! for that.
To save Zordon, the juiced-up Rangers all hold hands and fill the room with pixie dust. Somehow, this fixes the entire command center and brings Zordon back to life. Thank God this was marketed towards four-year-olds, because even a six-year-old would understand that this just doesn't make any sense. Hey, the place blew up? Let's just hold hands - it'll come right back together! They're Power Rangers, not gods. Anyway, that's the dog and pony show. Roll end credits.
Overall: Not bad. Worth seeing once just for Ivan. The effects were keen, the story didn't make much sense but was still relatively interesting, and remember, we got a special appearance by Mandy Tory Tits. Plus, this was I think the only chance to see Zordon without his cylinder mask, and that's worth the half buck I paid for this one alone. Recommended.
PS - if you haven't heard, Robert Berry has decided to part ways with X-E and focus on maintaining his own site, Retrocrush. I'd like to publicly thank him for a year plus of helping build this monster and for making it a lot more fun along the way. Be sure to check out and bookmark his site to get your Berry Fix. Meantime, poke around the archives for some of his past work. And if you've got a soul, right after you e-mail me to tell me you love me, you should e-mail him and thank him for all the great articles he's done since April of 2000. It's been great, brother man...good luck. =)
Oh yeah, I forgot to mention it, but Ivan likes to dance.