Tag Archives: power rangers

Failed Critics Podcast: Go Go Podcast Rangers

It’s morphin’ time for your podcast hosts with attitude on this week’s Failed Critics Podcast! Leading the pack is Steve Norman, with the power of Tyrannosaurus! Next is Andrew Brooker, with the power of the Mastodon! And finally it’s Owen Hughes, with the power of the crappy flying one that no kid really ever wanted to play with!

Yes, one of this week’s main review features is the brand new Power Rangers movie. The team also get a Life as they chat about the latest sci-fi/horror aping picture to hit the big screen. Having seen (and, luckily for us, reviewing) the first three Alien movies straight afterwards which outshine the newcomer, opinion is split on whether or not Life is worth the bother.

Elsewhere on the episode, Steve and Owen almost come to blows (again) about Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (again), following a discussion around The Passion of the Christ that rather fittingly was almost as biblical in length. We still cram in one last review for pregnancy-horror Antibirth, out on VOD right now!

Join us again next week for our take on the Ghost in the Shell adaptation!

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Power Rangers

Most people my age or younger will remember at least one iteration of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers live-action television series, which first aired in the UK in 1994. Most people my age or younger will remember their iteration of the five colourful superheroes with a degree of fondness.

Some people my age will have revisited the show since then on a nostalgia trip and been thoroughly devastated at how bloody awful it actually is.

Big robot dinosaurs combining into one ginormous suit of armour and proceeding to smash giant space monsters to smithereens; what’s not to love if you’re seven years old? And, I guess, what is there still to love if you’re now 30 years old?

That was one of the questions that fell to writer John Gatins (Real Steel, Kong: Skull Island) and director Dean Israelite (Project Almanac) to answer. Another was how do you make a single unifying movie, based on a series that keeps reinventing itself for multiple generations of kids, that would appeal to all of these audiences?

Their answer rather unsurprisingly largely consisted of not bothering to pander to any particular one of these pre-existing crowds and instead create their own story. Thankfully.

Jason the jock (Dacre Montgomery), rebellious Kimberly (Naomi Scott), Billy (RJ Cyler) the genius who is “on the spectrum”, Zack (Ludi Lin) the crazy one, and the loner Trini (Becky G.) – the only cast member who was actually a teenager during production, at 19 years old – must put their differences to one side and bond as a cohesive unit if they are to unlock their true potential as guardians of the Earth’s lifeforce (or something) against the evil Rita Repulsa (Elizabeth Banks).

For a large portion of Lionsgate / Temple Hill Entertainment’s big budget adaptation, the Power Rangers exist solely as their teenage misfit counterparts, who band together through circumstance after stumbling upon glowing coins that grant them superhuman strength. It’s a good 70 minutes in before we see the Red, Pink, Black, Yellow and Blue suits of armour, let alone any action, fights, zoids or monsters.

Rather than a tale of teenagers with attitude, this is more akin to a story about teenagers with boring, mundane, typical teen angst. Not quite social outcasts, just regular Breakfast Club high school kids with normal lives – except for the whole acquisition of super powers and an ancient evil force intent on their destruction, of course.

The problem here is that the creators wanted to have their cake and eat it. They wanted a Power Rangers film with minimal Power Rangers-ing. The course direction is similar to Israelite’s debut feature, Project Almanac, as a group of kids discover a power greater than themselves and deal with the consequences. In isolation, we should be grateful for a film of this calibre deciding to spend some time building backstory for these otherwise ordinary kids; yet it feels like an age before we even get a glimpse of a shiny metallic suit, or spinning high-jump over the heads of some henchmen, putty patroller, fodder types. I’m not requesting Transformers levels of constant inane explosions, but something would’ve been better than nothing.

It’s also disappointing considering the amount of time spent bulking up their backstories, that they remain extraordinarily bland. Billy is the strongest personality in the ensemble, but has only two interesting features: He’s defined by his relationship to the Chris Pine Kirk rip-off, Jason Lee Scott (not to be confused with actor Jason Scott Lee, according to Wikipedia) and his Hollywood-autism. That is to say, he’s good with numbers and doesn’t get humour when it’s convenient for the script to crack a few jokes. He’s rarely the butt of a joke, but most of the humour is derived from his lack of social awareness.

It’s not exactly new for Power Rangers to bang the diversity drum, albeit in a slightly less abrasive fashion than yesteryear. In 2017, the African American character wears a blue uniform, as opposed to automatically being the Black Power Ranger. The Chinese character dons the Black mantle as opposed to uncomfortably being labelled a Yellow Power Ranger, which is reserved for the hispanic Trini whose sexuality is somewhat ambiguous. Causing some level of upset elsewhere is the fact that Kimberly is still the Pink Power Ranger and, more controversially, now has boobs.

Yes, both of the female character’s costumes have boob… pockets? I’m not sure what the correct term is, but they have space for boobs in their costumes’ chest plates. The notion of the sexualisation of teen girls was something that caused a brief outcry from some quarters when the first images were revealed, but it’s turned out to be little more than a damp squib. These aren’t non-binary Power Rangers, nor are they sex-things to be lusted over. The characters have genders; their costumes denote their gender. There’s not much more to it and (to use a slightly inappropriate term given how this paragraph has gone so far) it’s not worth getting your knickers in a twist over.

As well as the five young heroes, their home town of Angel Grove would have benefited from a touch more personality. The small slice of Americana would have leant the final catastrophic battle more weight if you were even slightly bummed out to see a place you cared about being destroyed. Alas, it was indistinguishable from whichever other town in whichever other modern CGI-laden action movie you can think of.

The bad guys will be bad guys; and whilst it was enjoyable to see Elizabeth Banks ham it up to High Heaven as Rita Repulsa, she was very comfortably nestled in Villain 101 territory. The decision to make Goldar a voiceless CGI globule was also depressing. A quipping sidekick to Rita’s sinister villainy would not have gone amiss.

On the subject of quipping, when Zordon’s (Bryan Cranston) android assistant, Alpha (Bill Hader), could be heard, he barely raised a smile, let alone a chuckle or laugh. But at least we’re spared the agony of an irritating, bumbling, goofy clown that irritates more than entertains. He’s just… there.

An action movie of this calibre doesn’t necessarily have to be wholly original in concept to be entertaining, but it definitely needs character and personality. This would be hard enough to achieve in any ordinary 12A, 120 minute, bog-standard origin story; never mind one that is supposed to have five main characters.

Ultimately, that’s all that Power Rangers could be. A broad mishmash of Fantastic Four (minus the body-horror) levels of character development and self-awareness, with MCU at its most vanilla. It’s an inoffensive popcorn movie struggling to be relevant.

Although you’ll forgive me if I don’t accuse it of ruining my childhood – a rewatch of the original 5-part Green with Evil arc already did that by itself. I mean, who thought it would be a good idea to give Zack his own flying car?

Failed Critics Podcast: The Guys on the Pod

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All aboard!

Every week Owen Hughes rides the Failed Critics steam train from host Steve Norman’s caravan park in Swanage all the way to guest Andrew Brooker’s residence in Milton Keynes, stopping at the exact same point along the way to peer through the windows of the FC HQ in Oxford.

Unfortunately there are no affairs or murders for him to observe and fantasise about, only a depressed version of himself wondering why the bloody hell he sits through these uninspiring movies that 2016 keeps on churning out. Specifically the latest to cross the team’s path, The Girl on the Train, starring Emily Blunt.

This week’s journey also pulls in at the games and tech podcast Super Pixels Radio stop. Failed Critics debutant Elliot Beverley chats with Owen about the animated stop-motion family movie, Kubo and the Two Strings.

We also have the buffet cart stocked with the latest trailers from the New York Comic Convention. It’s got all of your favourites only slightly overpriced, including Power Rangers, John Wick 2, Iron Fist, and the new Resident Evil and War of the Planet of the Apes teasers.

In What We’ve Been Watching, Brooker leaves the quiet carriage to shout about the Ghostbusters extended edition, while Steve shimmies out of the bog after feeling less than Supersonic to review the new Oasis documentary, as well as revisiting The Martian for the first time since its cinema release.

Join us again next week for a triple bill of film franchises that should’ve ended before reaching a trilogy.

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Failed Critics Podcast: Minimal Effort

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Somebody hit the emergency switch at FC HQ earlier today. Only, what they didn’t realise, was that rather than stopping the machinery from whirring so that they could untangle their hair from the press, it instead sent all of the guests that we keep on stasis in their cryochambers shooting straight out of the vents and into a large pile of limbs, flesh and scrawled-on notepads near the FC skip.

Bugger.

Whilst we sort that mess out, the only two left undamaged were hosts Steve Norman and Owen Hughes who present this week’s podcast without the aid of any guests whatsoever. A first for Failed Critics!

Actually, all that stuff about cryochambers and a FC HQ is a load of bollocks. We just decided that for an experiment, given that we’re in the post-Civil War lull, that Owen and Steve should try presenting the show on their own. Does it work? Well, it’s not for us to say, but we still manage to squeeze over 100 minutes out of the pair of them. They look at the solo-Black Widow movie rumours, the Power Rangers reboot costume controversy, and gloss over last night’s BAFTA TV results.

Fresh from defeat last week, Owen explains why booby-prize Spice World is bad, but not the worst film he’s seen as a result of losing the quiz. Steve reviews new release Bad Neighbours 2 in our What We’ve Been Watching section, whilst Owen also reviews 2016’s indie thriller Hush.

Returning for the first time in a long while on this week’s episode is a triple bill. In honour of Steve and Owen going it alone, they each choose three films with minimal casts. There’s a beguiling mix of old and new, big and small budget; it’s fair to say there’s a wide range of films discussed on the show! Not only that, but your questions sent in to us on Twitter were answered. Everything from picking Bond songs that aren’t Bond songs, to what type of caravan is best for a bit o’ rockin’. Well… I say “answered”.

Join us again next week as we most definitely will be having guests back on the show. Please let us know if you think the little experiment worked, or if it was a failure!

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The Week in Film – 15 August 2014: 26 Years Buried in the Deepest Darkest Jungle

The second entry into our weekly round up of all the weeks film news worth knowing about, as per Steve’s wont. Fury and sadness abound.

by Steve Norman (@StevePN86)

robin williamsRobin Williams: A Tribute

Only a short time ago we learnt of the sad and tragic death of Robin Williams. We have already paid tribute to him on our podcast but such a fine actor is worthy of being paid homage to in writing as well.

If you are, like me, in your mid to late 20’s you will have first come across the fast paced and quick witted actor in family films Jumanji, Mrs Doubtfire, Hook and as the voice of the Genie in Disney’s Aladdin.

A great comedian capable of improvising at the drop of the hat his roles brought joy and laughter to millions.

But he could act as well. He won an Oscar for his role in Good Will Hunting and put in stellar performances in the likes of Dead Poets Society, World’s Greatest Dad, Good Morning, Vietnam and Insomnia.

Williams was a versatile actor who could play a number of roles across a range of genres and was genuinely up there among the best in his craft.

On Failed Critics we made the decision not to discuss the reasons behind a person’s death a long time ago as frankly it is none of our business. However my thoughts and the thoughts of everyone associated with the website go out to Robin Williams’ family friends and anyone close to him.

Batman vs. Superman vs. Captain America

The big news coming out of the world of comic book movies this week is that Warner Bros. have bottled going head to head with Captain America 3 and moved forward the release date of Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice.

You cannot blame them really. Marvel are having a roaring success with their comic book movies with pretty much everything they touch turning to gold, Guardians of the Galaxy the newest in a long stream of examples.

Perhaps though the biggest mistake is moving it to come out before Caps next outing. Come the release of the first Avengers third instalment everyone will have stopped talking about Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent. If they had released it after CA3 it may well have had the same effect.power rangers

It’s Morphin Time

2016 will not only see Batman, Superman and Captain America return to the screen but the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers as well.

If it is at the same level as the Transformers and Teenage Mutant Ninja (or Hero, depending which side of the pond you hail from) Turtles movies then it will be yet another part of my childhood ruined.

Fury to Close London Film Festival

No not Nick Fury, although I would forgive you for thinking that after all the comic book chat.

The David Ayers/Brad Pitt World War 2 film will bring the curtain down on the October festival in the UK capital.

It looks more Band of Brothers/Saving Private Ryan than Pitt’s last venture in to Nazi occupied Europe in Inglorious Basterds. Also starring Michael Pena and Shia the Beef it looks set to be a cracker.

However the film did draw criticism for filming scenes with people in full Nazi garb on Remembrance Day last year.

Next week, Steve will return to give us another round up of the latest in film news.