Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers The Movie: Part 1



Capitalism at its most radical.



This series of posts is a collaborative effort with my dear friend Samurai Karasu over at Ranger Retrospective. Week after week he's gone through episode after episode in a project I can only assume is either catharsis or punishment for a crime in a previous life. He edits every single post of mine, even when he doesn't want to. ESPECIALLY when he doesn't want to.



That's right, we're finally here. Mighty Morphin' Power RangersThe Movie. How else could we kick off Season 3? With a cinematic experience that will skyrocket this franchise into the stratosphere. You thought Power Rangers was big before? You ain't seen nothing yet. They're about to hit the big screen and karate kick your ass in widescreen, bitch!

This movie came out during the zenith of the Power Rangers craze. Tommy became the White Ranger like 8 months before this movie came out, and I guess the other five were still around too. Power Rangers was the biggest phenomenon imaginable, and the announcement of a movie blew our child-sized minds right out of our skulls.

I went to the theaters with my parents when I was 5, and I can't tell you how stoked I was. What's odd is that it isn't the movie itself that I remember much about. I mostly remember my jittering on the seat as I waited for my favorite superheroes to show up and kick some ass. I remember asking my dad if he liked it afterwards, only for him to politely say it wasn't one of his favorites. What I'm mostly curious about is whether or not I thought the movie was any good. I honestly can't remember, which seems bizarre considering how excited I was to see it. So who knows? Judging by Power Rangers usual fare, this movie could either be almost decent, or it could be abhorrent garbage.

I'm excited to go into this one fresh though. I haven't sat down and watched this movie in at least 15 years. Is my mind subconsciously telling me not to watch it because it's secretly terrible? Or am I sad that no pachinko monsters show up? Well enough speculating, because it's time to find out the secret of the ooze.

You want to know how this movie begins? With a text scroll. That's right, in case you little dweebs aren't cool enough to follow Power Rangers and purchase Saban-licensed products, we'll spell it all out for you. As long as you know that everyone in the theater is looking down on you for being such a Ranger scrub.

It's all stuff we know by now about how some sadistic head balloon in a fishbowl kidnapped six teenagers to subjugate in front of his robot slave. This is all narrated to us by some British woman who has to muffle her scoffs as she reads out the name “Zordon.” The narration continues to explain how the legacy of the Power Rangers has been passed on for generation after generation, and that legacy has continued to the present day.

The text crawl concludes with an ellipses, a straight-up dot dot dot. Because this audience needs to get hyped about what they're about to see. This legend is about to continue, and it's going to continue right in front of your fucking faces today kids. So how do they transition from the title card? By shoving the movie's logo in your face and then making it goddamned explode. Everyone in the theater is about to overdose on hype and skittles as they witness the most 90's thing to ever occur. How can we possibly follow up on that?

With some motherfucking SKYDIVING!

Rocky, exactly where Saban wants him.

That's when the movie completely loses me. Because the first person we see in this thing? It's goddamn Rocky. Way to bury the lead MMPR: The Movie. You could show me anything in the opening scene, and you dare to shove Steve Cardenas in my face? You haven't given this guy six lines in 30 episodes and you have the gall to pretend he's worthy of the silver screen? Why don't you go take a flying leap you trash movie.

The Ranger Teens have brought along their bestest pals, Bulk and Skull, on this skydiving excursion. Guess they brought somebody along to land on in case their parachutes don't open. The career bullies inform our heroes that they're using codenames during this dive; "The Soaring Eagle" and "The Swooping Swallow." What are you two morons talking about? Jetman never got brought over to the U.S. It's a real shame it didn't though. Bulk would have made a spectacular Yellow Owl.

Bulk and Skull look outside the plane, but the eagle and swallow turn chicken when they see how high up they are. When the boys prepare to jump, Kimberly reminds them that they may want to put their parachutes on. Then the music veers into a Seinfeld riff to denote that a joke just happened. Which makes sense, since so far this is a movie about nothing.

Enough messing around though, because it's time for the Ranger Teens to show the audience what they came for. Hardcore nudity! Skydiving action! Generations of Power Rangers have battled tooth and nail so that we could watch these 6 Poochys pull off some sick sky rips. We see each of the individual teens jump out while yelling out a quick quip. This is only worth noting because after Billy jumps out of the plane, he yells out "Systems go!"

I wonder what my dad didn't like about this movie.

Tommy rounds out the plane jumping as he leaps out while riding on a big fucking snowboard. You know which of the other Rangers are on a comically-sized snowboard while skydiving? None of them. You know why? Because it was in Jason David Frank's contract that he must look 80% cooler than all the nerds he works with in any given scene.

The Tommy Oliver Movie: Starring Tommy Oliver and his five pals

The biggest surprise I got from this scene was twofold. The skydiving scenes actually look pretty competently shot, which means the producers of Power Rangers actually spent money on this goddamned thing. Something that never once happened during the production of the television series. Equally astonishing was when "Higher Ground" by the Red Hot Chili Peppers started playing during their descent. You're telling me this movie actually licensed honest to goodness music to play during scenes? I'm smitten! The only thing that brings me down is imagining the look on Ron Wasserman's face when Saban told him he wouldn't be composing the entire film with his electric guitar.

So why are the Ranger Teens skydiving? Well it's not because it would make an engaging and fun intro to a movie. No, that's utter hogwash. It's because they're participating in the "Angel Grove Jump-A-Thon" in order to save the old observatory. Thank God. If we don't have a bunch of high schoolers jump out of a plane, where are we going to put someone to shoot JFK?

Some pipsqueak named Fred tells his dad to pay attention to those beautiful and affordably-paid character actors, since they're the only people in this movie who know how to land properly after jumping out of a plane. Not like any of the jokes in this movie are going to land, so at least something will. Fred Sr. says his jump went perfectly fine, but Fred informs him that his dumbass landed in the parking lot. WHOA! Talking back to his dad like that? This Fred kid has a whole lot of attitude. You know how you can tell? He wears his hat backwards. SUCK ON IT GROWN-UPS, WE'RE GONNA BE KIDS FOREVER!

I want to tussle that little shit's hair.

After Fred humiliates the man who gave him life a few more times, the audience hoots and hollers as our heroes land on the skydiving target. A faceless announcer cheers their landing by introducing them solely by first name, because whoever wrote this thing didn't care enough to find out if they had last names. It's Power Rangers for Christ's sake, of course they don't have last names. They're the White One and his five rainbow buddies.

This is where you're going to notice something this movie will soon shove right into your face for a solid 100 minutes. Tommy Karate Oliver is front and center and don't you ever forget it. 

Speaking of the great white hope, Tommy and his ridiculous snowboard land last. Oh, and I'm afraid I have to retract my previous statement, because one character does get their last name used. You might know him, his name is Tommy Oliver. Naturally he also lands dead center in the target, and the announcer informs us that Tommy has broken a citywide record BECAUSE OF COURSE HE DID

Fred erupts in cheers for Tommy, and only Tommy. It's comical how little of a shit this movie seems to give about everyone else when Tommy is around. The guy is treated like some kind of karate messiah by everyone around him. It's even better how much more Fred prefers Tommy over his own loser father. Possibly because Tommy offers Fred a spot on the Ranger Teen Skydiving Squad™, but that pussy loser Fred Sr. wants his son to wait a while before he goes jumping out of airplanes. No wonder Mrs. Fred didn't stick around, this guy is BORESVILLE. Not allowing your child to participate in dangerous and age-inappropriate activities? Take the bottle out of his mouth, dorksaurus.

Fred Sr. congratulates Tommy as his accent ferociously slips. Because this movie was filmed in Australia and didn't feel the need to ship over a boatload of characters actors to play the parts. Fred thanks Tommy for making sure that old observatory didn't get demolished or whatever that Z-plot is, because now they'll all be able to watch Ryan's Comet when it arrives in a few days. Kids in the 90's liked three things: Surge, wearing their caps backwards, and astronomy. We're two for three, and we're only five minutes in.

Back up in the sky, Bulk and Skull are messing their flightsuits over this jump. They comically fall out of the air, but this movie doesn't give a shit about those two losers and immediately cuts to the Ranger Teens rollerblading.

I don't know if I've ever seen a more hilariously stupid transition.

The Ranger Teens were last seen in flight suits discussing comets, then we cut to Bulk and Skull for 20 seconds, and BOOM. Rollerblades! (They all have helmets, knee-pads, and protective wear. SAFETY IS RADICAL KIDS!) Imagine if you're an audience member that doesn’t know who these six characters are. You're going to be watching this fucking thing and not have a clue what's going on. You know they're the Power Rangers, but is there a reason they're doing a bunch of xtreme 90's nonsense? Why is the blue one using big words? Does the black one actually say anything? Is the white one some kind of Hong Kong Phooey karate dog? Is it too late to get tickets to Pocahontas?

While the Rangers skate, presumably for fun and not for the money, Bulk and Skull complete their descent from the plane. Not near a cheering crowd full of beautiful women, but in a rundown industrial site where some kiwi in construction gear named Dave chews them out. Then comes my first legitimate chuckle of the movie when Bulk and Skull lie about being from a building inspection society. The premise of this gag is pretty flimsy, but there was one line that got a smirk out of me. One of the other construction workers calls for Australian William Sadler to come check something out, and Skull responds in the most condescending tone, "Yeah Dave, you better go check that out."

This is followed by my second chuckle of the movie when Skull asks Bulk if he's hungry, and Bulk confidently responds, "Always." 

You two belong on the big screen. Kick those Ranger dweebs back onto the boob tube.

So what does Dave need to check out? Nothing too suspicious. Just a little something these guys found during their dig.

Who the fuck flushed that thing?

The construction crew inexplicably find this giant dragon claw holding a purple Faberge egg to be "incredible" and ponder what the hell it is. Well I'm not well-versed in the art of construction, but it appears to be a ridiculous-looking prop for use in a children's film based on a television series about intergalactic golems getting murdered by teenagers in spandex who level their lives in servitude of a space god whose corporeal form is a giant head that barks kill orders at them while his robot servant taps buttons at his behest, lest he be shut off forever. One of the dock workers attempt to touch the egg, but he's immediately electrocuted and sent flying. Typical union leech looking for an excuse to get workman's comp. Take a 30 and get back to work liberal.

The other construction workers ask the man who was just blasted with purple lightning if he's alright. He doesn't respond, the dock workers look concerned, we presume this man to shuffle loose his mortal coil, and then we cut back to the Ranger Teens rollerblading. This movie hasn't been on for 10 friggin' minutes and already we've had the threat of death interrupted by our heroes shredding down the streets of Brisbane twice.

The Ranger Teens' exciting blading excursion is soon interrupted when Alpha 5 contacts them. He tells the only living beings he's allowed to be in contact with that they need to get to the Australian branch of the Command Center, pronto! The Rangers show up into a movie-quality Command Center set, only to meet up with Zordon who inf-GAH. FUCK ALMIGHTY

MMPR Movie Zordon
RANGERS, YOUR POWER COINS HAVE OPENED THE LAMENT CONFIGURATION, OPENING YOU TO AN ETERNITY OF PAIN AND PLEASURE INDIVISIBLE

Holy shit Zordon, what happened to you?! Did this movie role go to your head and you started inhaling Vicodin? He looks like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man fucked Casper the Friendly Ghost. Why couldn't he have looked like a shitty holographic Pokémon card? This super realistic Zordon face is going to be planted firmly inside my nightmares.

Horror-Face Zordon informs his child slaves that there's some bad stuff going down on Earth. Kim asks what's going on, and this is apparently his cue to release the mother of all exposition dumps. If you look carefully, you can see a copy of this movie's VHS box in front of Zordon as he reads the back of it. A billion years ago some goober named Ivan Ooze got locked up by a bunch of nerds while he was trying to unleash his Ectomorphicon Titans on the world. He was once sealed underground, but now he's been uncovered by a bunch of day laborers.

You want to know what kids watching this movie are going to glean from all this? Absolutely nothing. I don't know nothing bout no Ectomorphicons. I want to see Goldar getting punched in his stupid face. Why couldn't this movie use that title crawl at the beginning to dump some of this nonsense? I don't need some Rocky Horror Zordon Show barfing up a bunch of made-up words 10 minutes into this thing. Pace yourself Power Rangers: The Movie!

As day turns to night, a pair of security guards sit by and keep an eye on the egg that was just dug up. Unfortunately for them, they're about to receive a visit from some uninvited guests. One guest who's so uninvited, I don't even know who the fuck he is.

Did Rita change ethnicity for a third time?

When did Squatt eat Baboo?

Okay, let's start with the positives. I think it's cool that our villains got slightly-better looking costumes for the movie. Lord Zedd reminds me a little bit of the Shredder, which is pretty nice.  The negative? That armored pig who's never existed before and will never be referred to again. His name's Mordant, and I'm pretty sure he's only in this movie because the studio didn't want to shell out money to create a costume for two henchmonsters, so they combined them into one. That or they couldn't find someone outside of Japan willing to replicate a creature as despicable as Squatt "Can't Be Within 500 Feet of a Middle School" Squatterson.

The security guards panic when they realize a group of cosplayers has come to murder them, but Zedd soothes their nerves. He blasts the pair with energy from his Z-Staff, making the security guards fall asleep. Wow, what a despicable villain. He used his otherworldly intergalactic sorcery to make some doughy Aussies take a nap.

Then fatass Mordant says some wry quip about how he could do that, but he chooses not to. Get the fuck out of here Piggy, you don't even exist.

Lord Zedd ganders upon the unearthed egg and declares that his 2000-year wait has finally come to an end. Zedd zaps the egg with a bolt of energy from his staff, and the giant purple knick-knack splits open to reveal a grody tub of violet-colored goop. Rita accurately summarizes the situation by asking Zedd why he spent two millennia seeking out a "tub of snot."

Congrats Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie. Another joke that made me smile. No wonder Season 2 sucked so badly, you sent the good writer to work on this movie.

However, this is no ordinary tub of snot. This is the man of the hour (and a half), the baddie from Cincinnati. The devious villain that even Zordon is shaking in his fish tank over. A creature with powers that transcend all comprehension and rationality. A being so venomous and vile that even his very existence is considered a crime. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you: IVAN FUCKING OOZE!

90's CGI.Gif

After Ivan finishes yawning, he performs the most ridiculously over the top neck crack in the world. The foley department punctuate this by adding in the most asinine bone-crunching sound effect the world has ever heard. It sounds like a tree trunk getting caught in a wind turbine. This seems like a useless detail, but I don't think this movie could set up Ivan in a more perfect way. You'll see what I mean as we get more into him later.

Ivan proudly proclaims that the ooze is back, as Zedd and Rita's truncated Moon Crew cheer and applaud him. Lord Zedd declares himself as the enemy of all that is good and decent, and inquires if Ivan Ooze recalls the name "Zordon of Eltar." This utterance of the Z word is enough to cause Ivan to growl and scream as he fires purple lightning from his fingers into the sky, prompting Mordant to remark "I think he's heard of 'em." Hyuk hyuk hyuk. Who even are you? What are you doing in this movie? What is happening?

Ivan promises to not only murder Zordon, but to decimate his entire legacy. He's going to murder his children, his children's children, his android gimps, and any children he's happened to enslave. Zedd, confident that Belloq in purple facepaint can take care of this, escorts his crew back to the Moon where they can continue to be ineffectual, shitty villains.

Sorry, I shouldn't gloss over that. The guy who plays Ivan Ooze, Paul Freeman, was also the villain Belloq in Raiders of the Lost Ark. So if you're wondering why Ivan looks so familiar, it's because you saw his face get lit on fire before his body exploded and melted a bunch of Nazis. A climax that is sure to be replicated in a film of this caliber. 

The Ranger Teens teleport to the construction site and locate Ivan's unsealed egg. The teens are startled when one of the guards shows up and asks them "WHATTA YOU KIDS DOIN' EAH?" Because second takes cost money. Kimberly expertly deflects suspicion by asking the guard if he's seen a morphological being around anywhere. Instead of telling Kimberly to stop making up words, the guard asks what the creature looked like. He then gives the Rangers a taste of what we in the biz call "The Large Marge," when he inquires if the being looked something like THIS! Oh no! It turns out the security guard was actually Ivan Ooze in disguise! Why? Because movies need to be a certain length of time before you can legally release them in theaters.

Ooze introduces himself as king shit of the cosmos, but Rocky tries talking smack. Ooze doesn't even flinch, because he's dealt with 10,000 years worth of jabronis, and one more isn't going to faze him. The Ranger Teens continue by referring to Ivan as "Mr. Raisinhead" and "Boogerbrain" and whatever other PG-rated insults would get the kids excited back in the 90's.

Kim informs Ivan that he doesn't know who he's dealing with, and Ooze responds with a pitch-perfectly condescending "Really?" It's luxurious. He even puts his hands on his hips and tilts his head as he says it.


This moment could very well be my favorite in the whole movie.

That's the kind of reaction you would give when a stupid little kid tries telling you that he's going to grow up to be a Power Ranger, but then their mom says no you're not. Then you grow up to be a 20-something with a chip on your shoulder and write snarky blogs about movies based on TV shows nobody cares about anymore.

When the Power Rangers introduce themselves, Ooze lands another flawless zinger. "WOO! Where's my autograph book?!" Ivan notes that Zordon is still parading a bunch of teenagers around in spandex to do his work for him. That's when you know you're low on the pecking order Zordon. Some dude drenched in purple jizzum is talking shit about how you do your business.

Ooze is one to talk though, because he has a group of kids to do his dirty work as well. Meet the Oozemen!

Nice of Ivan to design them with padding on their chests so no stuntmen get hurt.

Ivan deviously cackles as he declares this world will soon belong to him. Just before he teleports away, Ooze exclaims "Welcome to my nightmare!" Saban Inc. all carefully wipe the sweat from their brows as they hope Robert Englund doesn't have any kids that drag him to this movie.

While Ooze has vanished to parts unknown, the Oozemen gurgle and growl, ready for a fight. Rocky assists anyone in the audience who might be blind when he exclaims, "He's gone!" Thanks a million Rockster. Glad we've got an asset like you on the team.

Kim panics and asks what they can do against these California Raisin-looking ass motherfuckers, and Tommy tells his team that he's got an idea. His idea is go down to a lower level of the quarry while he fights the entire Oozemen team by himself. The Ranger Teens agree, because they have no pull in this franchise, and escape from their pursuers via spinkick. I want all of you that are reading this right now to know I exaggerated zero of the things mentioned in this paragraph. 

After the first (and last) HOOT-SEET-OOYAH that the big screen would ever hear, Tommy and his cohorts leap to the bottom of the quarry where there's more room to battle the Oozemen. The Oozemen come after them, and the Rangers prepare for the biggest, baddest, cheapest brawl the big screen's ever seen! Tommy grabs a nearby shovel and exclaims, "Welcome to MY nightmare." A line that is so hilariously poorly timed that I'm almost certain it was a Jason David Frank improv.

"HEY GUYS! YOU KNOW WHEN THE PURPLE MAN SAID NIGHTMARE? WHAT IF I DO IT TOOSEEYAH FWSH FWSH. I CAN DO A COOL KICK TOO!"

"Wow what a great idea Jason! Keep 'em coming buddy!"

"Yeah and maybe in this scene my character could say som-"

"BOSCH IF YOU OPEN YOUR GODDAMN MOUTH ONE MORE TIME WE'RE REPLACING YOU WITH THAT PIG PUPPET!"

The battle kicks into high gear as Devo's "Are You Ready" plays in the background. I don't know exactly why, but the fact that fucking Devo is on this soundtrack absolutely kills me. I keep flashing to the image of a frustrated Ron Wasserman drunkenly wandering into a phone booth. He dials up Mark Mothersbaugh and threatens to beat him to death for having the stones to step into his musical territory.

Tommy beats the piss out of roughly 34 Oozemen, while each of the other Rangers daintily battle one or two. Because Jason David Frank is signing the checks this series is cashing with a pen planted firmly between his asscheeks. Don’t you even think about forgetting it.

I'm of two minds during this fight scene. I actually enjoy it, because the Oozemen appear significantly more dangerous than any Putty ever did. The fight in the quarry looks really fluid and enjoyable, and the hits look like they're actually painful. The problem comes in when any of the Ranger Teens decide to open their goddamned mouths. This show is no stranger to terrible one-liners, but they must have been saving the worst ones for the big screen.

Aisha slams two Oozemen into each other and tells them "Kiss and make up!" Adam finds a bucket on the ground that he chucks at an Oozeman before saying, "You ever play kick the can?" I think the nadir of shit is when Billy punches one of the Oozemen in the gut, finds his hand to be covered in grape jelly, and retorts….well what he says is... I mean he…he says……ugh.

Go fuck yourself

But this fight still has some dumb shit to put you through. The terrible one-liners are bad enough, but my ears picked up something else on this viewing. During the battle with the Oozemen, almost every hit against them produces some ridiculous fart noise. I don't know if I blocked that out from my childhood memories to prevent myself from going crazy, or I got a bugged DVD. Either way, I feel like murdering someone. Preferably Billy after that goddamned ooze line.

After making another 45 flatulatory noises, the Oozemen gain the upper hand against our heroes. The Ranger Teens are backed into a corner and ponder what they could possibly do in such times of duress. Don't worry everyone, Tommy has another genius plan. He instructs the Rangers to morph! Because it's been twenty fucking minutes and my 6 year old ass hasn't seen one GD Power Ranger in Power Rangers The Movie.

Tommy, exactly where Saban wants him.

Now is when I have to drop all semblance of sarcasm and be completely real with you lovely readers. This scene with the Ranger Teens morphing? Fucking brilliant. It's relatively basic, but it gives you exactly what you want. You get the standard scene of the Rangers yelling out the name of their totem dinosaur, then an image of their Power Coin zooms into the screen with a loud roar sound effect. All of this is underscored by a beautiful and ridiculously-produced version of the Power Rangers theme song. The Rangers pose individually as the music swells and every kid in the audience gets ready to see some asses get kicked.

…Then as soon as the Rangers morph, they realize that the Oozemen escaped while they were posing.

Swing and a miss you dumbass movie.







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