Tuesday, April 11, 2017
Power Rangers (Spoiler) Adoption Movie Review
Millions of years ago, the group of Power Rangers who were tasked with protecting life on earth were betrayed by one of their own; now, millions of years later, the traitorous Rita has been revived and intends to destroy life on earth. Zordon, the former leader of the Power Rangers, sets about training five teenagers to become the new Power Rangers. They have received super powers, but have to learn to work together to fully control those powers and thwart Rita’s evil plans.
SPOILERS AHEAD THE REST OF THE WAY
The Adoption Connection
There is no mention of adoption in the film. One teen is caring for his ailing mother; she appears to recover when she inspired by the Power Rangers, even though she doesn’t know that her son is one of them. Another Power Ranger has a strained relationship with her parents; it’s implied that it might be because of her uncertain sexuality and her friends. A third Ranger’s relationship with his father has been strained because of his own immature behavior. A fourth Ranger’s father has recently died.
The Power Rangers are a diverse group, and the film tries (perhaps to the point of feeling a bit contrived) to connect with some of the issues that are big topics with regard to today’s teens. One Power Ranger cares for an ailing mother, another has a strained relationship with her parents because of her uncertain sexuality; a third is on the Autism spectrum. Another feels bad because she forwarded a sexual picture of a friend which has hurt that friend’s reputation. The lead Power Ranger has frustrated his father by squandering a promising football career with bad choices. Some teens watching this film might find a superhero that they can relate to.
The film shows a model of friendships forming among people who might not typically hang out with each other. Their powers are activated when they care for each other, and they accomplish the most good when they work in tandem. They are able to care about each other when they shed their facades and share the true stories of what they’re working through in life and what they’re afraid of.
Two of Zordon’s rules for the Power Rangers are admirable – they must never use their powers for personal gain, and they must never escalate a fight unless it is needed. They’re also required to never reveal their identities, which is a shame; it’d be neat if they could tell their families what they’re doing.
One character helps another honestly and fairly view something that she’s ashamed of, saying, “You’ve done an awful thing, but that doesn’t make you an awful person…. Be the person you want to be.” That’s surprisingly solid life advice for a movie about teenagers in dinosaur cars fighting a 65 million year old villain named Rita.
The film is crass at times; in an unnecessary and prolonged conversation, it’s revealed that a teenager who thought he was milking a cow was actually doing something… else… to a bull.
The heroes do some pretty antisocial things. One is placed on house arrest, but another Ranger helps him trick his ankle bracelet.
There are two big, loud car crashes that could startle some viewers.
The Autistic character is bullied at school; a bully attempts to break his wrist.
Rita breaks into the bedroom of one teen.
Rita kills one of the Rangers; Zordon gives up the chance to revive himself in order to revive the slain teen. The teen who is killed is the one who is on the Autism spectrum; I can imagine the scene being hard for some viewers.
Power Rangers offers one excellent piece of insight that could be helpful to kids or teens who struggle with shame: just because you’ve done something bad doesn’t mean you’re a bad person. These could be helpful words. I also like the multifaceted diversity of the heroes. On the other hand, the heroes are often irresponsible and occasionally criminal. The film has the giant robot violence you’d expect, but also includes the temporary murder of a teen on the Autism spectrum and two violent car crashes; I could see it being a troubling movie for younger kids. The film is rated PG-13, and I’ll match my recommendation pretty closely to the rating; it should be OK for most kids 12 and up.
Questions for Discussion
Is Jason right when he tells Kim, “You’ve done an awful thing, but that doesn’t make you an awful person?”
What helped the Power Rangers be friends, even in spite of their differences?
If you could have one of the Dino Cars, which one would you take?
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