Once Again, It’s Morphin’ Time
This week, Power Rangers hit the big screen updated and re-imagined for modern audiences.
25 years ago, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers was a surprise hit, earning over one billion dollars in 1995 alone from television rights and merchandising.
The show began as footage from a Japanese show called Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger, which was steeped in Japanese mythology. It featured dinosaur robots and heroes who wore sleek diamond -patterned costumes. The show had to be completely re-imagined to focus on five students studying at a California High School, who dealt with typical problems like homework, peer pressure, and football games. When an alien called Zordon enlists them to fight an alien witch called Rita Repulsa, he arms them with alien technology, and they transform into colourful superheroes, who saved the world, again and again. At my count, 839 times—at least once in every episode.
In 1996, the show became the centre of a national debate over the state of children’s television, and Vice President Al Gore called it “sociopathic.” The debate did nothing to diminish the popularity of the show.
Years later, Power Rangers became a nostalgia goldmine. After the show’s 20th anniversary in 2013, new Mighty Morphin merchandise was developed, including metal die-cast toys shot glasses and yoga pants.
Now, Power Rangers has returned as a feature length movie in an attempt to reboot the franchise. It’s an origin story, with five new high school students living in Angel Grove. Zordon is now pixels in a wall, voiced by Bryan Cranston, and the evil alien witch is now portrayed by Elizabeth Banks.
Of course, there will be new toys and comics. I’m looking forward to Power Rangers: Aftershock, a new graphic novel written by Ryan Parrot, and illustrated by Lucas Werneck, which is a sequel to the movie.