Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie (1995)
|Year Of Production||1995|
|Running Time||91:43 (Case: 22)|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL (54:21)||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||Bryan Spicer|
Twentieth Century Fox
Johnny Yong Bosch
Jason David Frank
Amy Jo Johnson
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.78:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
English for the Hearing Impaired
German for the Hearing Impaired
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||Yes, return of the regular villains|
The Power Rangers is not my favourite TV show — I think I've seen a total of five or six episodes, spread over several series, and those mostly out of curiosity. I see Power Rangers as something like anime, but done using real people, and really tacky special effects. Sometimes I wonder if the effects are deliberately kept tacky as part of the show's style; kind of like the effects in the old Batman TV show (the one with Adam West and Burt Ward). And sometimes I suspect that the effects are that tacky because the show's designers have no taste. Nah, that's not very charitable — let's stick with the "it's a style thing" theory.
When I saw there was a Power Rangers movie coming out on DVD my curiosity flared once again. Would a bigger budget mean better special effects? Or would it mean a larger scale of tacky ones? I had to find out. So here we are: finding out!
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie (or Power Rangers, to its friends) begins with an explanation of the origin of the Rangers, their adviser/mentor Zordon, and his assistant Alpha 5. Mention is made of Angel Grove (the town they live in). And the next thing you know, we're in an aircraft. A parachute jump aircraft. We meet two people who are not Power Rangers: they are Bulk (Paul Schrier) and Skull (Jason Narvy) — take a bow, guys — these are our comic relief, and not a particular pretty sight. Fortunately, we also meet our heroes. To make it easy for us to tell them apart, each has a designated colour, and always wears some piece of clothing of that colour. To keep them straight, I've made a neat little table:
|yellow||Aisha||Karen Ashley||sabre-toothed tiger|
|black||Adam||Johnny Yong Bosch||mastodon|
|white||Tommy||Jason David Frank||white tiger|
|pink||Kimberley||Amy Jo Johnson||pterodactyl|
As you'd expect, each of our heroes is an expert skydiver (roller-blader, martial artist, and all-round healthy young American teenager...). Their parachutes are coloured (can you guess who has what colour?). They all land exactly on target. Skull and Bulk do not (of course) — they land on a construction site. And gosh, the construction site just uncovered an ominous-looking manhole cover (OK, it is much larger, but it's a man-hole cover). Being that this is Angel Grove, the construction team don't hesitate to raise the manhole cover, revealing the most ominous-looking egg you've seen in a while (unless you watched Godzilla last night).
Cut to the normal crowd of Power Ranger villains. I suspect that the production team wanted closure in this movie, but they couldn't wipe out the standard package of villains, so what they decided was that the standard crew would awaken a new villain for the Rangers to battle in this movie. Smart move. So we learn that the gang is planning to wake up the contents of the egg, who will proceed to take over the world, starting (as usual) with Angel Grove.
Things don't go as planned, however. One moment our heroes are battling a bunch of generic monsters summoned by our new bad guy, Ivan Ooze (a brilliantly scenery-chewing performance by Paul Freeman), and the next thing you know, their power suits vanish (no, they aren't left naked — this film is intended for children! They are left in their regular clothes). Ivan Ooze has managed to destroy their power source. The Rangers must locate a new power source, and fast, before Ooze takes over the world (starting with Angel Grove). The only place in the universe with a suitable power source is the planet Phaedos, but no one has ever returned from there...
There's quite a bit of plot in this movie, and a lot happens. We get to see an interesting variation on the Power Ranger suits (loose, not tight), which is part of a sequence I don't want to spoil for you. We get to meet Dulcea (Gabrielle Fitzpatrick), a pretty lady whose combat costume is basically a green bikini. But all the standard Power Ranger stuff is here, too: plenty of shouting of invocation words, heaps of unnecessary flips, lots of martial arts, and some really corny lines during the combat sequences. In short, everything you expect from the Power Rangers. The best part, though, is that the special effects are several notches better than the TV series. Oh, some of the mass-produced monsters are still pretty dreadful (the Tengu Warriors look something like the flying monkeys from the Wizard of Oz, only not so convincing), but things improve a lot as the film progresses — some of the CGI work is really quite impressive.
Interestingly, this film was shot in Australia — there are thank-yous in the closing credits to New South Wales, Queensland, and the Northern Territory. The Sydney Harbour Bridge gets a cameo during the rollerblading sequence, and Sydney's monorail makes an appearance. There's one sequence where we see a car pull up and the only occupant alights from the left front seat (as one would if driving an American car), but we can see quite clearly that there's no steering wheel on that side.
I do have to have one quibble, though. I wish they saying "morphing" rather than "morphin" — "morphin" is an alternative spelling of "morphine", and I'm sure that they don't want to suggest that the Power Rangers are drug addicts.
This is one movie made from a TV show that is a lot more than an extended episode of the show, and yet manages to stay true to the feeling of the show. Quite an impressive effort. If you like the TV series, I think you'll really like the movie.
The DVD is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, and is 16x9 enhanced. The original aspect ratio was 1.85:1, so that's close.
The picture is very good indeed. It is fairly sharp and quite clear with excellent shadow detail and no low level noise.
Colour is rich and vivid, as you'd hope for in something as colourful as this. There are no colour-related artefacts.
There no noticeable film artefacts, but there are one or two shots that show quite a bit of grain: 85:44 is probably the worst.
There is less aliasing than I'd expect, but no moire, and no MPEG artefacts.
Subtitles are offered in six languages, including English. The English (and the German) subtitle streams are for the hearing impaired. The English subtitles are fairly accurate to the dialogue, well-timed, and easy enough to read.
The disc is single sided and RSDL-formatted. The layer change is located at 54:21. It is placed just before a scene change and is visible, but not particularly annoying.
There are soundtracks in five languages including English. The English soundtrack is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 and is the soundtrack I listened to.
The dialogue is clear and readily understood. There are more than a few sync lapses, particular on some of the villains — it looks like they dubbed in some different dialogue after the fact.
The score is nothing special, but it is perfectly reasonable — Graeme Revell has done a perfectly workmanlike job. There are contemporary songs during some of the sequences, and they include some interesting choices.
The soundtrack includes some good use of the surround speakers; it is not continuous, but there when needed. The subwoofer gets plenty to do, with ominous sounds and explosions.
|Surround Channel Use|
The menu is static and silent.
A standard trailer — nothing unusual here, but unfortunately this is our only extra.
The Region 1 release came out over a year before our Region 4 release. The Region 1 package is a double-bill, with Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie. Unfortunately, it sounds like both movies are on the same disc, which means that they have probably have been compressed more than is desirable so that they will fit onto the one disc.
The Region 1 release is missing:
The Region 4 release is missing:
The R4 video quality is probably better, judging by reports — that's understandable, given that the R4 can use both layers for one movie, as opposed to having two movies in the same space.
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie is a creative extension of the TV series into a movie, on a very good DVD.
The video quality is very good.
The audio quality is very good.
The extra is minimal.
|DVD||Pioneer DV-S733A, using Component output|
|Display||Sony VPH-G70 CRT Projector, QuadScan Elite scaler (Tripler), ScreenTechnics 110. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Front Left, Centre, Right: Krix Euphonix; Rears: Krix KDX-M; Subwoofer: Krix Seismix 5|