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Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers review + Haruhi first impressions

I watched the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers movie. About a decade ago my dad commented that he enjoyed it more than the Super Mario Bros. movie, and while I wouldn’t say I was livid with rage (my brother probably was!), I was quite shocked. I mean, how could a kiddy thing like Power Rangers top the misunderstood epic that was Super Mario Bros.? That film was a friggin’ monolith to me, nothing could top it. Covering it for Random Action Hour a few months ago did give me a serious wake up call about how screwy it is.

The movie was five shades of fun. Like Batman & Robin, it’s stupidly enjoyable because it just doesn’t take itself seriously. I’d dare say it takes itself a little more serious than that movie, what with the lack of pun barrages, Arnold Schwarzenegger making ice jokes and no ridiculously camp female villain slinking around for half the screen time, but it’s still pretty silly. I love cartoons, but I love it even more when they’re given the chance to be made as a film, and Power Rangers practically is a live-action cartoon. Paul Freeman truly hams it up as Ivan Ooze, and come on, the simple fact that ridiculous characters like Alpha and Rita actually made it into a feature film just makes me laugh.

I couldn’t help but notice how boring the Rangers are, though. I can barely remember the TV show and I’m sure they were never really in conflict much, but they all come across as pretty flat – the only characters who really do anything are the white and pink rangers, and everyone else is essentially filler. They don’t bicker, they don’t argue, there’s never much conversation between them at all that isn’t fighting taunts or typical action phrases. I never saw the second season of the TV show, so the new red, yellow and black rangers were completely foreign to me, and the fact they barely do a damn thing always bugged me when I was younger. It’s probably kind of sad when you’re much more interested in the villain simply because they have a valid personality. I’m under the impression Johnny Yong Bosch is meant to be the comic relief, but what does he do that solidifies him as that role?

Also, Ivan Ooze reminded me how much I love cartoon villains. They don’t dance around the subject of good and evil or play on the concept of morality and justice, they just say “I’m the king of evil!” and start zapping lightning everywhere. My fiction tends to have characters who never necessarily file as “evil;” moral compasses that the “heroes” don’t agree with or things like that, but I always struggle to simply define someone as a bad guy. I’m clearly unaware just how fun and hilarious it is to have evil characters be evil just for the sake of it. Screw moral complexity, black and white worldviews is where it’s at.

So, yeah, I’m writing up Cadillacs & Dinosaurs for Random Action Hour! I had planned to do a One-Off of it a couple of years ago (savvy directory browsers probably caught a glimpse of the first two paragraphs of Pursuit, but IT IS GONE NOW) but that didn’t pan out, and I got around to watching the whole series recently. Back when it was broadcast on television my only experience with it was a mere three episodes, and quite frankly, the show didn’t leave me with much of an impression. I’d dare say I actually didn’t like the show back then – the episodes I watched were reasonably crummy, and because our cartoons don’t have commercial breaks I never understood the random widescreen nonsense (though even watching it now it still seems a little unnecessary), plus there was probably an insufficient amount of dinosaur action for my immature liking back then.

Now, I’d dare say I really enjoyed it. The decent episodes are pretty good for episodic cartoon fare, and the animation is absolutely fabulous at its peak (Departure is clearly the best looking episode of the series). There are some definite ups and downs, though, and it seems David Wise was at the helm of most of the lacklustre episodes – his Transformers and Ninja Turtles work isn’t bad, but I feel his rather by-the-numbers stories and dialogue didn’t quite roll with the Cadillacs universe. Also, I couldn’t help but feel that Hannah was written like a bratty kid a lot of the time rather than an explorer slash diplomat, though given how she’s the only recurring heroic female in the show that also had a toyline aimed at kids, I guess it’s only unfortunately natural. X-Men at least had some decent female characters, at least when Storm wasn’t having impromptu angst or Rogue being mind-screwed.

It was fun watching the series in full, especially all the fantastic episodes I missed, and I hope the coverage does it justice. Excuse any potential sloppiness – I haven’t written a proper full series for RAH in a while! I forgot how useful backlogs are.

I also watched the first two episodes of The Melancholy of Harumi Suzumumu. If there’s one thing I knew about the series beforehand, it’s that talking about it is complicated as hell and I’m probably not watching it in the “intended” order, but it’s among a big pile of anime I downloaded ages ago and I might as well watch it before clearing it off. Given how episode 00 is basically nonsense fluff (without the right context, I assume) and 01 just sets up the premise, I can hardly make decent commentary. I’m looking forward to watching Mad Bull 34, though! Manga Entertainment dubs are the best.

One Comment

  1. MightyKombat wrote:

    I heard the second season went doolally with a time loop thingy and that the first 8 episodes are almost EXACTLY the same.

    Saturday, May 8, 2010 at 2:14 pm | Permalink