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'Power Rangers' 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review: Go go teenage drama

July 6, 2017Ben Mk





FEATURE: 
A staple of Saturday morning kids' programming throughout the 1990s, the Power Rangers have a long and storied history as colorful as the costumes they wear. Now, more than two decades later, the power coin has been passed to Project Almanac director Dean Israelite and Real Steel screenwriter John Gatins, whose vision of the Power Rangers mythos is undeniably darker in tone than that which Millennials may have grown up on.


This time around, our five teenagers-turned-superheroes — Jason, Kimberly, Billy, Zack and Trini — are played by Freddie Prinze Jr. lookalike Dacre Montgomery, Naomi Scott (a dead ringer for Amy Jo Johnson, who also makes a cameo), RJ Cyler, Ludi Lin and singer/actress Becky G., with support from Bryan Cranston as Zordon, the giant, floating head who also happens to be the original Red Ranger, Bill Hader as the voice of Alpha 5, the robot comic relief, and Elizabeth Banks, chewing the scenery as a reimagined version of Rita Repulsa, the Rangers' iconic foe.

As for the plot, it's more or less your standard origin story narrative. Using the film's brief prologue to set up the age-old conflict between Zordon and Rita and explain how the power coins ended up on Earth, its primary focus lies with the trials and tribulations of its five main protagonists, who must each overcome their own issues and angst-ridden insecurities before they can finally morph into their Power Rangers armor to take on Rita, who's embarked on a killing spree through Angel Grove as she searches for a powerful, ancient artifact called the Zeo Crystal.

When Power Rangers does finally make good on the promise of its title, however, it goes all in. From a reprise of the classic theme song, to Iron Man-inspired updates of the Rangers' uniforms, to an appearance by Megazord and a showdown with Goldar — plus a tongue-in-cheek nod to Michael Bay's Transformers films and some glaring product placement for Krispy Kreme thrown in for good measure — the movie packs a ton of fun fan service into its final act. The only shame is that viewers will have to wade through 90 minutes of exposition to get there.

AUDIO & VISUALS: 
Power Rangers boasts an HDR-enhanced color palette that brings an impressive degree of vibrancy and dimensionality to the red, yellow, blue and pink of the Rangers' suits, while the razor-sharp 4K UHD transfer highlights the small details in every scene, from the hallways of Angel Grove High to futuristic design of Zordon's spaceship. However, it's the disc's Dolby Atmos sound mix that proves to be the real stunner, giving surround channels a workout with the sounds of car chases, explosions and rock slides, not to mention the cacophony of chaos cooked up for the Rangers' climactic confrontation with Rita, Goldar and her army of Putty warriors.


EXTRAS: 
Entertainment One's two-disc Ultra HD Blu-ray combo pack includes an iTunes digital copy of the film, a Blu-ray copy and the following 4K/Blu-ray extras:

  • Audio Commentary with Director Dean Israelite and Writer John Gatins - The pair talk about the score, reimagining the show's mythology for the big screen, the actors' performances, the visual and the practical effects, the production design, the fan response to the film, and more.
  • The Power of the Present (2:20:12) - An extensive, nine-part making-of documentary that touches on the cast and their chemistry together, the design and functional qualities of the costumes, the actors' physical training, filming in Vancouver, the visual effects, the score and the sound design, and more ("Rangers Then to Now," "Building the Team," "Beyond the Rangers," "Suiting Up," "Rangers, Welcome to Training," "Rangers in the Wild," "It's Morphin' Time," "Power Ballad: Music and Sound" and "This is Your Destiny").
  • Deleted/Alternate/Extended Scenes (33:39) - Eighteen scenes ("Sc 12 Kimberly Dropped at School," "Sc 19 Jason & Dad Fight in Kitchen," "Sc 24 Swing the Shell," "Sc 27-28 Stole a Cow & Invaded Police/Longer Spectrum," "Sc 33 Where to Drill Cop," "Sc 60 Were You Serious About Running Away?," "Sc 65 Who Stole the Van?," "Sc 70 Kim Doesn't Know Trini's Name," "Sc 73-75 Creepy Cave Walk," "Sc 76 Good Talk/In the Bucky Ball," "Sc 86 I'm Sam Scott, This is My Boat," "Sc 100 Crazy How Someone Stole the Van," "Sc 100 Let's Go Train," "Sc 108 Tommy - Kimberly Cameo," "Sc 110 You Don't Need a Locker," "Sc 121-123 Rita Licks Trini," "Sc 125 The Kiss" and "Sc 178 Kid Touches Megazord").
  • Outtakes (3:41) - Silliness from the set.
  • Theatrical Trailer (with Audio Commentary by Dean Israelite) (2:21) - The director talks about the set design, the visual effects, the performances and the costume design showcased in the trailer.


Power Rangers is available from Entertainment One as of June 27th, 2017. The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray features English Dolby Atmos, English Dolby Digital 2.0 Audio Optimized for Late Night Listening, French Dolby Digital 5.1 and English Dolby Digital 2.0 Descriptive Audio tracks. The film is presented with English SDH and French SDH subtitles. The total runtime is 2 Hrs. 4 Mins.






* Reviewer's note: Portions of this Blu-ray review were adapted from my original review of the theatrical release, published on March 24th, 2017.



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