Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie is a 1995 superhero film starring Karan Ashley, Johnny Yong Bosch, Steve Cardenas, Jason David Frank, Amy Jo Johnson and David Yost. Though it is based on the series of the same name, this movie is non-canon to the franchise.
After a construction crew accidentally cracks open a gigantic egg that has imprisoned evil maniac Ivan Ooze (Paul Freeman) for centuries, the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers prepare to face their most formidable foe yet. The vengeful Ooze destroys the interdimensional life support system of their mentor, Zordon (Nicholas Bell), and with it the source of the Rangers' power. Stunned by Zordon's imminent death, and without the help of the abilities they've come to depend on, the de-powered Rangers teleport to a distant planet in the hopes of finding a new power source to save Zordon and Earth.
- There's no story connection to the source material: the non-canon nature of the film means that the events of the movie had zero impact on the regular TV series, effectively diminishing the stakes of the story as the "real" Power Rangers would be kicking monster butt on the small screen next week no matter how the movie ends.
- The script is sloppy and assumes the viewer has working knowledge of the source series (fair enough, to be honest) but also sees fit to cram an expository text crawl at the beginning to explain the basic premise to newcomers (lazy lazy). However, as the story spends the bulk of its time focusing on wholly new story elements, that knowledge is functionally useless.
- The acting is cheesy.
- Certain scenes go nowhere.
- Awkward dialogue and humor.
- Dulcea's reasoning for Adam for having the frog as his animal spirit is very jarring.
- The soundtrack is scattershot, sliding artists of multiple eras into the mix almost at random. It's a far cry from the unified sound of the series (series composer Ron Wasserman was left out of the film), which brings us to:
- Inexplicable changes from the series. One would expect the suits to look snazzier, the sets to be bigger, etc., but when details such as the morphing call order or power names are changed (e.g. Tigerzord into White Tiger), or villains are combined into entirely new characters, it can call into question whether the film's overall changes are the result of creative decisions or a lack of familiarity with the source material.
- Tons of plot holes.
- With the exception of Ivan Ooze, the villains contribute very little to the movie.
- Annoying swooshing sound effects are heard a lot when the Power Rangers move their hands or do flips. Yes, even more than the TV show.
- Wirework can be clearly visible in several shots.
- Seeing the oozemen die by splatting onto a hard surface and turning into purple ooze was highly laughable.
- Uninteresting supporting characters (especially a woman in metal clothing stating that she knows everything).
- Pop culture references (e.g. "Welcome to Jurassic Park.")
- Nonsensical comic relief.
- Ridiculous moments such as Tommy using the Falconzord to replace tracks for a monorail to ride across, a child operating machinery without any assistance and the Megazord kicking Ivan Ooze in the groin.
- The visual effects of the new Zords at the climax of the film are far (far far far) below the standards of the time, in line with direct-to-video CGI films of just a couple years later. That the CG creatures are superimposed over a real (albeit miniature) environment only emphasizes the shortcomings.
- The villain is defeated (after the battle moves into space) when he's struck by a "comet". Not only is this "comet" made of rock instead of ice, it's literally on fire as it flies through space! Bonus awkwardness: earlier dialogue establishing the existence of the "comet" was cut from the film, making its sudden appearance a rather clunky deus ex machina instead of a foreshadowed event.
- If you never saw the TV show, you'd have no clue about what was going on (even with that opening text crawl).
- Villains such as Lord Zedd, Goldar and Rita Repulsa were sadly nerfed into uselessness.
- Mordant, a character created specifically for the movie, is a poor substitute for Squatt and Baboo that doesn't do anything meaningful in the entire film.
- The change to a foreign shooting location is incredibly obvious. Forget that the city of Angel Grove looks different than its TV counterpart, it's just surprising to see so many Sydney landmarks in southern California. And right-hand drive cars. And Australian license plates....
- The special effects are decent and look primarily practical with a touch of CGI.
- First time that the Red Hot Chili Peppers' cover of Stevie Wonder's "Higher Ground" was used since it was previously used during the pilot episode of the first season.
- The suits and sets are well designed.
- The dark tones work well with the light ones.
- The fight scenes are pretty good.
- Exciting premise.
- The film is fast paced.
- Paul Freeman (the actor who played Belloq in Raiders of the Lost Ark) does well as Ivan Ooze.
- Our main protagonists have good chemistry with each other.
- Tommy Oliver, Rocky DeSantos, Adam Park, Billy Cranston, Aisha Campbell, and Kimberly Hart are still likable characters.
- The ending is decent.
- The film's version of the theme song is amazing and memorable.
- Great scene where Bulk and Skull, the comic relief, and the kids of Angel Grove, play a major part in saving the lives of the adults in the city.
- The film's score by Graeme Revell was pretty good.
- The skydiving Scene at the beginning is really awesome.
- It had great shots of the Australian outback and Sydney.
- Several humorous moments.
- The posters look awesome.
- The movie was still loved by young fans of the TV series.
- Great sound editing that was done by THX.
The film currently holds a 40% "Rotten" rating on Rotten Tomatoes with an average of 4.5 out of 10, with a critic consensus that reads "For better and for worse -- too often the latter -- Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie captures the thoroughly strange aesthetic of the television series that inspired it." Film critic Roger Ebert of The Chicago Sun-Times awarded the film with half a star and described the film "as close as you can get to absolute nothing and still have a product to project on the screen" and he went so far as to compare the film to synthetic foods in brightly marketed packaging with no nutritional content. Gene Siskel of The Chicago Tribune awarded the film with two and a half stars and stated in his review, "It isn't trash, and that opinion comes from a Power Rangers hater. What redeems the second half of the movie are some high-tech villains who look like giant mechanical scorpions."
The film opened up at #4 on its opening weekend with a domestic gross of $13,104,788. The total domestic gross was $38,187,431. The film grossed $28,245,763 in overseas markets and made a worldwide gross of $66,433,194 against its budget of $15 million making it a moderate success while other films including Batman Forever, Pocahontas and Apollo 13 all outgrossed Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers Rangers: The Movie.