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Awfully Good: Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie

03.22.2017

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie (1995)

Director: Bryan Spicer
Stars: Jason David Frank, Amy Jo Johnson, Paul Freeman

The Power Rangers ironically must locate more power in order defeat their greatest foe, Apocalypse Ivan Ooze.

Confession: This was my first time watching MIGHTY MORPHIN POWER RANGERS: THE MOVIE. I've seen the show before, but I was maybe two years too old for Power Rangers fandom growing up. So count my zord surprised when this flick actually turned out to be pretty enjoyable.

Give credit where credit is due—this movie wears its goofy heart on its sleeve. Everyone seems to be in on the joke (especially Ivan Ooze actor Paul Freeman) and some of the teenage actors look like they're in a daze, disbelieving of the fact that they're actually in a real motion picture. Most importantly the film is overall pretty entertaining, embracing just enough of the weirdness to amuse even non-die hard fans. I mean, there's an owl-lady in a bikini who blows glitter on the Power Rangers to release their intrinsic animal spirits, one of which turns out to be a frog. That's something anyone from any walk of life can enjoy.


The team found it a little strange when Zordon only "upgraded" the female Ranger suits.

The movie is also pretty faithful to the show, like a few slightly better-looking episodes strung together. From the cheap effects to the questionable dubbing, this isn't an adaptation that diverges from the source material at all. And thankfully there's no origin story or unnecessary setup, just a pre-credits crawl that quickly explains who the Power Rangers are and what they do. It also mentions how their real identities are a "closely guarded secret." Then the movie opens with them skydiving and rollerblading together in public wearing outfits with the same color and design as their Power Ranger suits. Way to keep it guarded closely!


The original title for Nirvana's greatest hit was a little less subtle.

It may be named after the heroes, but most of the reason this movie works is because of the villain. Ivan Ooze is such a strange, inexplicable character that you can't help but watch him intently. He's a galaxy-enslaving, purple Freddy Krueger who hates the smell of teenagers and has been asleep for 6,000 years after a failed attempt at taking over the universe. (And he still makes constant pop culture references even though he's been in an egg for multiple millennia.) His powers are also nonsensical. He can call up henchmen made of slime to do his bidding, though he only does this once and seems to forget about it. He plays a magic flute that somehow causes destruction. He sells his ooze via infomercial as a way to mind control parents. And at one point he hocks a loogie and his phlegm turns in to flock of nightmare pigeons that fly through outer space to attack the Rangers.


If you were to do drugs during this movie, it would probably not end well.

As for the plot, it really seems like they made most of this movie up as they went along, considering there's no rhyme, reason or narrative flow to any of it. Instead you're just left with an ADHD stream of random events: Now there's an extreme sports montage! Now there's ANOTHER extreme sports montage! Now the Power Rangers are on an alien planet with a lady wearing space lingerie! Now a fat man is dancing! Now the rangers are fighting a giant dinosaur skeleton, presumably because JURASSIC PARK was popular at the time this was being written!


Grimace Goo proved to be McDonalds' least popular Happy Meal toy.

The action and fights, which aren't directly lifted from Japanese source material unlike the original show, are entertainingly bad—full of constant terrible puns and wacky sound effects. (I swear I heard fart noises any time one of Ivan Ooze's minions got punched.) All the ludicrous weapons, physics-defying fight moves, and obvious stunt doubles are consistently hilarious. At one point two Rangers kick a bad guy in the head and he actually has 2D animated cartoon eyes bug out of his skull. And I think it's safe to say that "Are you Ready" by Devo, which features the repeated lines "action boy now, action girl now" is the weirdest choices for a fight scene song ever.


It's Peter Berg Jr.!

The finale, where Ivan Ooze inhabits the body of his giant mechanical monster and fights the Power Rangers in their Megazord form, boasts some of the worst CGI ever in a theatrical release. It bounces back and forth between giant creature battle and a horrifying subplot where children have to try and stop all their parents from committing suicide. (No exaggeration; they literally have to push them back from jumping off the edge of a cliff.) Eventually the Power Rangers take the fight to outer space, where our heroes use a completely ridiculous deus ex machina against Ooze. The villain is about to defeat them when the Yellow Ranger says "Desperate times call for desperate measures!" and then pushes a button that says FOR EMERGENCY USE ONLY, which triggers their giant robot to knee Ivan Ooze's giant robot in the balls and cause him to get destroyed by a passing comet.


Forget X-MEN APOCALYPSE. Did no one notice that Ridley Scott ripped this off for PROMETHEUS?

This brings up so many questions… Do Megazords have testicles? Who thought up a nut-kick button and installed it on their ship? And, for the love of God, why aren't you pressing that button all the time? I would watch a dozen POWER RANGER sequels if they all ended with giant robots assaulting each other's private parts. (Someone call Michael Bay!)

Ivan Ooze's greatest lines and other winners.

A collection of the most ridiculous action moments and fight scenes.

Even the bad guys in this movie joke about how hot Amy Jo Johnson is.


It's Morphin time! Buy this movie here!

Take a shot or drink every time:
  • Ivan Ooze makes a pop culture reference he shouldn't know about
  • Someone flips or spins unnecessarily during a fight scene
  • You hear a fart noise during a fight scene
  • Some weird mystical stuff happens
  • Alpha says "Ai-yi-yi-yi-yi!"
Double shot if:
  • It's Morphin Time!

Thanks to Ben, Alexand Sean for suggesting this week's movie!

Seen a movie that should be featured on this column? Shoot Jason an email or follow him on Twitter and give him an excuse to drink.

Extra Tidbit: Law and Order star Mariska Hargitay originally filmed scenes as Dulcea, the Power Rangers' bikini-clad guide on the alien planet. You can see proof here.
Source: JoBlo.com

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