Thursday, April 6, 2017

Double Review: 'Beauty and the Beast' / 'Power Rangers' (2017) Movie Review

In which we begrudgingly feed the Hollywood Industrial Complex Nostalgia Machine by taking a look at two totally unnecessary reboots revolving around beloved '90s pop cultural brands.

By: Jimbo X

Since our two movies of the week are predicated on an insincere faux-nostalgia for the 1990s, I reckon I needed to give all you Millennial and Gen Z whippersnappers who thought the decade was nothing but Nirvana and Super Nintendo and Cartoon Network and Tamagotchki  a goddamned reality check. Sager souls than me have already written about the misguided romanticizaion of the decade, so I'm not going to regurgitate the same old stuff about the Rwandan Genocide and the U.S. posting its all-time highest annual homicide numbers or having to pay $20 for CDs. Instead, I'm going to briefly trudge through nine things about the 1990s all you nostalgia obsessed dweebs who weren't even conceived until 9/11 ought to know about the REAL '90s, not the idealized '90s.

No. 1 - Sega was the shit.

The Nintendo dick sucking gaming media and furry nerd forum industrial complex has convinced Gen Z kids that it was all Ninny throughout the 1990s, when in reality, Nintendo played second console banana throughout the decade. The Genesis outsold the SNES in the U.S., and then the PlayStation outsold the N64 worldwide. And to be frank, all of these games that retro-assholes keep celebrating like they were gifts from God himself - A Link to the Past and Super Metroid and any of those Final Fantasy games that didn't have the number 7 affixed to it somewhere - were nowhere near as popular as games like Street Fighter II, Mortal Kombat and the E.A. assortment of sports games. But since the shameless stewards of video gaming media jack off to Princess Peach every night, they've tirelessly tried to rewrite '90s gaming history and make it look like Sega didn't do shit and all their hardware was inferior and none of their games were as good as what you were getting on Nintendo's platforms. Of course, this is all a bunch of bullshit, with the Genesis library clearly a better (and more diverse) gaming line-up than the SNES. In fact, literally the only area where the Super Nintendo beat the Genesis in terms of software were RPGS, and since there are so many role playing geeks and aspiring school shooters over-represented in contemporary video gaming media, they've tried to retroactively act like people gave a fuck about Chrono Trigger and Earthbound when in reality, those games sold like shit and if you told the kids at the lunch table you liked them they would've called you a fag and went back to discussing the finer points of NBA Jam. Even now, you keep hearing from all of these Nintendo cock polishers about how lame the Game Gear and Sega CD were, when one objective look at their software libraries lets you know they were actually pretty fucking great. And of course, all those alleged "video game journalists" who want to give it to Yoshi up his big green butthole every night almost always refer to the Saturn as a "disaster," when it's prolly the most hardcore dedicated gaming console ever. You kids can keep your pansy ass Ocarina of Time and GoldenEye and Diddy Kong Racing - meanwhile, me and the rest of the gamers with pubic hair will be testing our mettle against REAL games, like Radiant Silvergun, Dragon Force and Shining Force III. So basically, I guess you could sum all this up by saying when it comes to 1990s gaming, Nintendo's actual popularity and quality is greatly overstated, while Sega's actual popularity and quality is greatly understated. And if you owned any Sega hardware, you were almost certainly a happier electronic consumer than those who were strictly Nintendo households. 

No. 2 - Arcades were fucking awesome.

Every year I do a write-up about the Southern Fried Gameroom Expo in Atlanta, and I am always taken aback by the magical aura of the arcade. Kids nowadays don't even know what arcades are, and they sure as hell don't know how important they were to video game culture in the '90s. Yeah, it was fun playing your portables and home consoles, but if you wanted to see the real hardcore shit, you had to sack up your tokens and hit up the local mall and/or pizzeria and/or bowling alley and get your goddamn coin-op on. I really can't describe that wonderful synesthesia of the arcade; the blinking lights, the amalgamation of dozens and dozens of arcade and pinball machine buzzers and bells, the smell of the cardboard tickets sputtering out of the skeeball machine. It was like you left planet Earth and literally got sucked inside some kind of futuristic virtual utopia, and even now, it's prolly about as close as I've ever gotten to a legit out of body experience. The games just didn't look better at the arcade, they felt more visceral. Playing Super Street Fighter II at the arcade felt so much deeper than on the SNES or Genesis, and that's not even counting up the novelty games like Title Fight and Lucky & Wild that were literally impossible to port to a home console. I loved the arcade so much that I demanded my allowance come in the form of quarters, and I literally marked my calendar counting down that great bimonthly visit to the good arcade two towns over. Kids in this cultural climate will never, ever know that kind of joy, and that makes my heart very, very heavy

No. 3 - Video stores were the best place on fuckin' Earth.

Before Netflix and Redbox - actually, before the advent of DVDs and the Internet, too - we had these things called "video stores." They were these places you could go to "rent" video cassette tapes; for an often nominal fee, you were permitted to take said video home with you for several days, and you could watch it over and over again as many times as you wanted. But hold on, that's not all. These places also let you "rent" console video games, too, and at a lot of stores, their video game selections were nearly as massive and diverse as their line-up of proper movies. The video store was pretty much the ultimate multimedia experience of the pre-Internet age. Here, you could waltz on in and take a gander at thousands upon thousands of pieces of media, running the gamut from just-released Hollywood flicks to hyper-obscure straight-to-video horror films to old pro 'rasslin tapes to deer hunting tutorial videos to Faces of Death. Oh, and a lot of them had a lot of pornos, too, but since they were kept under lock and key in a top secret room kids didn't know about, that was never really a big issue. As with the arcades, kids who grew up with the Internet always a thing will never appreciate the greatness of such tangible media emporiums, and the simple thrill of wandering the aisles and finding completely and totally random things and begging your mom to pick it up for you and going home and realizing the movie was nothing like what the box art depicted but you didn't give a shit because you saw about three or four other weird ass movies you can check out next week. From the giant cardboard promotional cutouts (one of the stores we went to had a gigantic Chucky one that scared the horse shit out of me) to that little aquatic plastic cylinder game you always squandered quarters on to the malfunctioning WWF Superstars machine next to checkout counter, these places were just total sensory delight and virtually temples of pop culture ephemera. Even in 1999, the highlight of my week was picking up two random movies from the horror section and a six pack of off-brand Dr. Pepper at the mini-mart next door and just grooving on it. And like Mr. T, I plumb pity the fool who never experienced such happiness

No. 4 - Going to Pizza Hut was a goddamn experience.

Today, Pizza Hut is just another fast food chain, but back in the day, it was fuckin' spectacular. No, this just wasn't a place to get pizza, it was a place squander quarters on random arcade games (our local one had Hang-On and Arch Rivals), the jukebox (which blasted music all over the restaurant, which effectively became a game of finding the most obnoxious song on the machine and spamming it like a motherfucker for the LOLZ) and pick up all sorts of random tie-in goods, ranging from X-Men mini-comics to Eureka's Castle hand puppets. Pretty much anytime a kid in the 1990s had a birthday party and their parents weren't too poor, they wanted to book that shit at Pizza Hut. I mean, you really got a comprehensive experience here, and when they wheeled out the pepperoni pie, it legitimately felt like a big deal. Granted, I suppose in hindsight the food wasn't that good, but compared to the soupy tomato paste bullshit the moms and pops in town were passing off as pizza, the menu at the Hut was like getting breast fed manna. I suppose a lot of other '90s kids have similarly fuzzy memories of Chuck E. Cheese and Showtime Pizza, but since we didn't have either of those anywhere near our backwoods country asses, Pizza Hut was fucking IT when it came to special event eating. Even now, I get a little misty-eyed whenever I encounter a title-pawn that clearly was a Hut in a past life ... oh, the memories of what once was

No. 5 - Road maps were the leading cause of the breakdown of the nuclear family.

I don't think there is a fundamental component of modern existence as underappreciated as GPS - and yes, that includes the Internet as a whole. Today, if you want to go somewhere you've never been before, you just punch the address into your machine, hit "go, you motherfucker" and then a robot voice tells you every road you need to turn on to get there. Next to faking a disability and collecting a SSDI check every week, it's pretty much the easiest thing in the world. Well, before those things were around, if you wanted to get somewhere you had to use a literal paper road map, and it was the worst fucking thing that's ever happened to humanity. Remember, we didn't even have Google Maps, so even finding a dude's house one mile down the road was often perplexing-to-impossible. So how well do you think that little setup boded for that summer road trip to Orlando each year? Well, it inevitably led to the same marital dysfunctions year-in, year out, with  your daddy coming this close to socking your mama in the jaw for missing the exit to Tallahassee and accidentally diverting your country asses on a 40-mile detour into Alabama. In hindsight, I honestly have no idea how we managed to make it anywhere with those damn things, and there isn't a day that goes by that I don't thank my lucky stars for Siri coming into existence. 

No. 6 - You were disconnected from everything, and it felt fantastic.

No social media. No smart phones - hell, for that matter, no cell phones, either. Need to needle somebody real quick? Well, you couldn't send 'em an email, and calling 'em long distance would've cost a million bajillion dollars. Basically, unless someone lived in the same area code as you, getting in touch with them was about as difficult as contacting some motherfucker in China somewhere. I mean, if you really had to get a hold of somebody pronto, I suppose you coulda' sent 'em a FAX, but even that took a good thirty minutes and required at least $45 dollars worth of ink. If you were really privileged you mighta' had a beeper, but all that did was let you know some phone number tried to call your other phone number that was all the way across town. While nowadays we can use the power of the Web to ping literally anybody in the world in virtual real-time, back in the day it was preposterously easy to go off the grid and practically impossible for anybody to keep tabs on you unless they had a time share in one of your shrubs out front. Yeah, the great interconnected Internet world has its pros, I suppose, but me? I reckon I'll take the kinda' existence that both respects and acknowledges my privacy, thank ya' very much.

No. 7 - You actually had to pay for media.

Thanks to the wonders of high speed Internet, you really don't have to pay for entertainment anymore. As long as you know the right sites to go to and the right URLs to click, you can watch current Hollywood movies still playing in theaters on your desktop RIGHT NOW. Want to hear a song, any song, ever recorded? Just pick up your phone, go to YouTube and there it is. Why go to the book store when you can get the whole thing in PDF form? Hell, you can even watch LIVE MMA and out of market NFL games on your tablet and play practically every console video game before the Dreamcast without even using an emulator anymore. Back in the day, partaking of any of these activities would've cost hundreds, hell, maybe even thousands of dollars a month. But today, they're 100 percent free of charge to all of us, and we don't even have to pay an ISP because our next door neighbor has a really strong signal and doesn't password protect his Wi-Fi ... that dumbass. 

No. 8 - There was no Internet, but you were somehow able to live anyway.

Humanity can no longer survive without the Internet. If Google went away tomorrow, civilization would fall into immediate chaos, and by noon, half the population would prolly be dead. We couldn't conduct any kind of business at work, we wouldn't even know what was going on with our own personal finances, we couldn't find out what's happening in the world and without somebody on the Internet telling us how pretty and smart we are every five minutes, we'd prolly all commit ritual suicide in a week. Yet somehow, without all of these "necessities" of modernity - Gmail and Twitter and Facebook and iPhones and YouTube and so on and so forth - civilization miraculously continued throughout the 1990s, and - for the most part - pretty harmoniously, too. Today, we've convinced ourselves that it's impossible to do anything up to and including wiping our own ass if the WiFi ain't working, but what do you know, we somehow managed to not only survive, but actually kinda thrive in a world were literally the only good thing the Internet was useful for was asking for titty pics in an AOL chat room for a whole guldang decade. Take away all these Gen Z motherfuckers' iPhones and in two hours, they'll turn into a bunch of feral retards. Meanwhile, we didn't even have the Internet for 10 years, and to give you an idea of how terrible it was, everybody who lived through it is now on the Internet today, telling everybody how much fuckin' better things were then than they are now

No. 9 - Dunkaroos were the best fucking thing ever.

They were edible kangaroo cookies you could dip in vanilla OR chocolate frosting, and the shit had rainbow sprinkles in it. I ate them with the reverence a good Catholic would've ingested the Eucharist, because even then I knew something so great was not long for this world. I mean, you can still buy them in Canada, but as the great statesman Steven Austin (R-Texas) once remarked, "fuck Canada." Take whatever stupid junk food ephemera you have for lame shit like Ecto-Coolers and Surge and shove 'em straight up your monkey asses - this is what the TRUEST essence of the 1990s tasted like, and unless you were around to experience it first hand, you'll never truly grasp the zeitgeist of the decade.

Just where do young girls learn to be so materialistic anyway?
Anyhoo, speaking of things that were a whole lot better 25 years ago, our first flick of the week, Beauty and the Beast, tries realllll hard to recapture the magic of the 1991 Disney classic. Alas, the suits at The House of Mouse appear to have forgotten a couple of things over the last two decades, like the fact that singing and dancing candelabras works a whole lot better as animated fodder intended for the bedwetter set than it does as live action nostalgia bait for overweight Millennial singles who get sloshed watching The Bachelor every Monday night.

I can't really say this is a scene-by-scene re-do of the 1991 cartoon, because they add a lot of shit in. For example, we get an entire subplot wedged in there about what happened to Belle's mom before she died, and there's a new scene where Gaston, being the no-good son-of-a-bitch he is, actually ties Belle's daddy to a tree so wolves can eat him. Granted, I'm not the target audience for this kind of stuff (indeed, I never actually watched the cartoon when I was a kid, prolly because I was too busy rewatching Predator and Suburban Commando), but my GF was pretty much weaned on Disney fluff and she can more or less quote the movie line for line and she kept nudging me in the shoulder and whispering "that's not how they said it in the original!" and "nope, they changed the last couple of lines of that song" and "OK, she wasn't a character in the first movie" and "in the original, there were more talking teacups." Meanwhile, I spent at least half the movie thinking to myself if they set Beauty and the Beast in a contemporary setting, would we have sentient Roombas and Keurig machines instead of talking clocks and feather dusters? Furthermore, I can't be the only person out there who's wondered whether or not Beast shits indoors or outdoors, and especially whether or not the toilet talks and sings, too. So basically, it's the perfect date movie; it'll keep your girlfriend occupied and sentimental for about two hours while you can just let your mind wander and dwell on what exactly Beast's dong resembles and how you'd use his magic spying mirror to gamble on pro football outcomes.

Of course, it's pretty hard to go into a movie like this one and NOT try to root around and dig out some kind of hidden agenda. Indeed, clickbait fakenewz hivemind pop cultural circle jerk sites are already praising it as furtive paeans to feminist empowerment and miscegenation, while other, equally shitty wastes of bandwidth are criticizing it for not being anti-misogyny enough. And since the film is directed by Bill Condon - a flaming homosexual that did everything he could to make the Mormon heterosexuality of Twilight come off as the most boring shit in the known universe - quite a few people have accused the flick of pushing the gayness on children (with the media powers that are, naturally, being upset the film doesn't shove the pro-homosexuality message hard enough.) You can tell the suits at Disney are buying hard into the diversity-uber-alles marketing Tao on this one, with damn near half the cast played by African-Americans (how 17th century France magically became a racial mixing pot, however, is never explained.) And the titular Beast's ill nature has been toned down considerably - most certainly an attempt to shake off those long-running theses that the original cartoon was abusive relationship apologia. But in that, the Disney execs lost sight of why so many girls loved the original cartoon: simply put, it looked pretty, it had a female antagonist they could relate to and for elementary school children, the idea of talking furniture is really, really fucking palatable. The movie's endured for so long because it gives little girls an overly romantic, hyper-unrealistic expectation of what housewife life is like. It's not a film about love, it's a film about routine and becoming the steward of your own domicile; I mean, what is Beauty and the Beast but the ultimate "let's play house" story, anyway?

And that's where this live action remake falls flat. It tries to make its simple, simple story about homemaking into something larger and more self-important and, sigh, socially cognizant. The original cartoon pretty much championed materialism like a motherfucker, while this movie champions ... well, come to think of it, absolutely nothing. It doesn't even really explore the whole "don't judge a book by its cover" dynamic that was pretty much the impossible-to-miss moral of the original fairy tale. It plays out like a movie that knows it's a remake that can't measure up to the original, so it just tries to tickle your nostalgia bone as many times as it can to make the audience forget it's paying $14.25 to watch the same goddamn thing they watched 457 times as elementary schoolers. Or, to put it a different way: yeah, it's pretty much the exact same thing as every other remake, reboot and relaunch Hollywood's shat out over the last 15 or so years. 

You know the drill by now. Belle is some bookworm broad who looks down on all her peasant villager neighbors because they don't like poetry, too (indeed, the class antagonism is strong with this one, with all of the bourgeoisie elites coming off as kind and goodhearted while all the dirt poor proles are depicted as brutish and backwards and generally uncivilized) but everybody in town still wants to fuck her, especially ultra-macho-man Gaston, whose best buddy Lefou is clearly gay for him. Then her daddy decides to travel to the Arctic wastelands that's inexplicably in the middle of the French countryside to get her one stinkin' rose and he decides to take refuge from a thunderstorm inside Beast's castle and he captures him and throws him in a jail cell for trespassing and then his horse runs back to town and takes Belle to the castle and they do a prisoner swap and the talking pianos and wardrobes kinda sorta manipulate her into falling in love with Beast so they'll turn back into humans. They do all the usual song and dance numbers and Belle finds Beast's library and THAT's when you can tell she first warms up to the idea of taking some bear-lion-monster dong for the team, but then Belle's dad returns to town and tells everybody his daughter's been taken hostage by a water buffalo with a British accent and they're about to take him to a loony bin so Belle uses the Beast's N.S.A. spying mirror to run back to town and show everybody he isn't crazy and the townsfolk see the Beast and freak out and grab torches and decide to invade the castle and then it's a wild peasant-on-sentient-furniture-donnybrook with a concurrent Gaston vs. Beast battle to the death. Interestingly, they decided to have Gaston shoot the Beast this time around, which I suppose could be taken as some sort of anti-gun statement, but by that point if you're thinking of anything besides how long until the credits roll so you can take a much-needed piss, you're way too invested in the movie as a grown-ass adult than anybody with federal tax liability ever should be.

So basically, what we're dealing with here is the most expensive episode of Once Upon A Time ever filmed. It's too juvenile to work as adult-tinged entertainment but too glutted with needless "mature themes" (hooray for the new watching-your-own-mother-die subplot!) to work as proper nostalgia bait. It ain't good, but it ain't necessarily bad. Like a fart that doesn't stink, it's just kinda' there, and also like those rare loud-but-innocuous butt whistles, you just have to scratch your chin and wonder what's the point again?

We've got two dead bodies. Multiple wolf attacks. One castle siege. One gypsy curse. Multiple song and dance numbers. Gratuitous repressed homosexuality subplot. Gratuitous interracial romance subplot. Gratuitous but ultimately self-defeating female lib subplot. Multiple gunshots to the back. Ceramic plate Fu. Bubonic Plague Fu. Reverse classism Fu. And, of course, the thing more or less responsible for the movie even existing in the first place - 'we're totally out of new ideas, so how about another nostalgic cashgrab, Mr. Iger?' Fu. 

Starring Emma Watson as the much flatter-chested, more class conscious Belle; Dan Stevens as the voice of the eponymous Beast that gives new meaning to the term "animal husbandry" and looks like a bisexual surfer in human form; Luke Evans as Gaston, who thinks murdering Belle's daddy is the best way to get her into the sack; Josh Gad as Gaston's secretly homosexual right-hand man LeFou, who at one point does an entire song and dance number using the Olaf voice and doesn't expect anyone in the audience to notice; Kevin Kline as Belle's daddy, who comes this close to getting shipped out to a lunatic asylum right after he nearly has his intestines ripped out by a herd of wild dogs; and Ewan McGregor, Ian McKellan and Emma Thompson all playing bourgeoisie elites transformed into random household goods, who are in high spirits after being turned back into humans despite the fact they're all prolly about to have their heads lopped off in the French Revolution.

Directed by Bill Condon - the man who made the last two Twilight movies suck on purpose as some sort of abstruse pro-LGBT protest - and written by these two blokes named Stephen Chbosky and Evan Spiliotopoulos, who think a scene where a talking dresser with a morbidly obese black woman's voice transforms a bunch of impoverished foot soldiers into crossdressers is the kind of thing nobody would think had any kind of anti-heteronormativity subtext whatsoever.

I give it two stars out of four. It's not as bad as it could've been, but it's still about as superfluous as a fourth nipple. And since it's making beaucoup dollars at the box office, rest assured we're going to be getting about 24 more live action cartoon adoptions over the next three or four years, when all we really want is fucking Heavyweights II.

Even in 1995 this would've been a shitty toy.

As underwhelming as Beauty and the Beast may have been, however, it's Casa-goddamn-Blanca compared to the all new Power Rangers reboot. This may very well be the most bamboozlingly bad kids-targeted action romp since The Last Airbender, and maybe even Dragonball: Evolution. It's annoyingly loud and frustratingly dark (literally) and filled with all sorts of woefully inappropriate subplots about slut-shaming and homosexual experimentation (indeed, the not so squeaky clean Power Rangers in this movie even drop the words "shit" and "bitch" from time to time) and there's a ton of forced messages about the importance of embracing multicultural differences but, no, none of that makes this one of the worst big budget re-dos in recent memory. What absolutely KILLS this movie is its teeth-grindingly slow pace. This thing is almost two hours long, but it feels more like two weeks. No joke, if they cut out the needless group-bonding montages and tracking shots of subterranean spaceship interiors and the pointless arguments with mom and dad and Zordon's painfully meandering monologues, this entire movie could've been over and done with in 45 minutes.

The film begins in the Cenozoic era, with the Red Rangers's great-to-the-800th-powered-grandfather holding an alien woman's beef jerky hand and telling her he's sorry over and over again. Then Zordon, in human form (even though he looks more like one of them guys without noses in Prometheus than a person) buries some power crystals in the dirt and Rita tries to steal them and he says "nope, fuck that shit" and summons a meteor to fall out of the sky to kill her and practically every other living thing on Earth. Well, flash forward about 65 million years later and these two kids try to steal a cow for a prank and end up wrecking a car in a police chase. The ringleader of the operation, Jason, loses his position on the football team and has to wear an ankle monitor and take classes with the special ed students down in the boiler room of the local high school, which in this movie, looks way more like The Class of Nuke 'Em High than Saved By The Bell. There, we meet the auxiliary cast, which includes this one autistic kid who looks like a normal sized Gary Coleman and this one Kim Kardashian wannabe who gets called a skank in the bathroom and cuts half her hair off because somebody sent her a poop emoji.

So one day after school, Jason goes to to see Billy, the autistic black kid, and he helps him hack his ankle monitor but only if he agrees to go with him to a rock quarry to test some kind of science project. So they get there and they run into Kimberly (the Kim K. wannabe from earlier) and they talk about all kinds of pointless, stupid shit for about 15 minutes and then night falls and you can't see fucking anything onscreen anymore. Then this Asian kid named Zach shows up outta nowhere practicing Kung Fu kicks while listening to death metal and then Billy's science project explodes and the kids find a whole bunch of multi-colored gems (get it?) and they each take one and then a bunch of bulldozers start chasing them and they try to speed away in a van but it gets smashed by a train and then a whole buncha' fishermen dig out Rita's 65-million-year-old mummified ass and for some reason, the kids just sorta' wake up in their own bedrooms and slowly realize they're stronger than the Incredible Hulk now. Take note parents and Comet Ping Pong patrons: this sequence also includes a scene where Jason shows off his impressive, hairless pubic muscles

After the kids go to school and all the junk food in the cafeteria starts exploding for no reason they go back to the quarry and find this Middle Eastern girl running around and jumping over mountains like Superman and then they realize they can all do that, too, and then there's this great scene where Billy almost falls off a cliff and all the other kids just kinda look at each other like "oh shit, we just killed a black retard" but he pops right back up and says "golly gee, guys, take a gander at this underwater cave I just discovered!"And triumphant music plays as the kids go spelunking for 20 minutes, which I think is supposed to be some sort of metaphor for the wonder and whimsy of adolescent sexual exploration, and then they run into Alpha 5, that annoying ass Short Circuit-wannabe motherfucker robot whose head looks like two flashlights duck-taped to a George Foreman grill. So he gives them the walking tour of Zordon's underground spaceship and he shows up in Max Headroom form as this disembodied computer screen head and we're all supposed to be impressed he's being played by the dad from Malcolm in the Middle but nobody can really understand what he's saying so nobody really gives a shit one way or another. 

Then the kids start having nightmares about Rita (who looks just like Angela from the Night of the Demons movies) breathing her zombie breath in their faces and making a volcano pop up out of the ground and melting everybody in town. Then all the kids have arguments with their parents and we learn Trini, the Middle Eastern broad, is prolly gay simply because she says she's having "girlfriend problems" (which, the media, naturally, is acting like it's some kind of monumental blow for LGBT rights) and her parents think she's on dope so they make her take a piss test. Then Rita kills a homeless man while he listens to Social Distortion and pulls all his fake teeth out (yep, just like the eponymous Leprechaun, she has a penchant for green and loooves gooold) then there's this long karate training montage where all the Rangers throw shitty head kicks at rock monsters that look like coral reef crossbred with herpes simplex 2 and then Alpha 5 shows them the woolly mammoth transformer (err, Zord) and of course, they let the Asian kid take it for a spin and because Asians can't drive worth a toot, he almost kills everybody. Hooray for breaking down those racial stereotypes, guys!

Then the Red Ranger and the Black Ranger - even though we're an hour into the movie and nobody has actually put on a Ranger costume yet - get into a fight and Billy breaks up the argument and Zordon says some bullshit about the importance of team unity and then Rita goes to a jewelry store and eats a necklace and no sells a cop's shotgun blast and blows the whole goddamn thing up then the Rangers go out camping to bond some more than Rita attacks Trini in bed and throws her around the room and Jason gives the most boring monologue ever and Rita whups all the Rangers' asses in a dark alley and she fucking kills Billy and then the Rangers haul his carcass back to Zordon and because friendship is magic, he manages to bring him back to life. Then we get this nearly 15-minute lecture from Zordon while the shittiest cover of "Stand By Me" you've ever heard loops in the background and at the 90 fucking minute mark, the kids FINALLY get to put on the iconic Power Rangers suits (complete with a bizarre homage to The Right Stuff) and, somehow, they look even gayer than they did back in 1995. 

And if you're expecting the last half hour "apocalypse porn" grand finale to save this movie, hoo boy, are you bound to be disappointed. As soon as the kids don the Daft Punk costumes, they hop into their shitty CGI transformer robots to fight a whole bunch of even shittier looking CGI rock monsters then they go full Voltron to fight this 200-foot-tall gold golem while Rita takes a breather at Krispy Kreme. The final mech battle is so bad, it literally looks like something extrapolated from a SyFy original movie (although I did chuckle when the Rangers literally slapped Rita to the moon.) And, of course, you KNOW there had to be a sequel hook, which in this case, takes the form of a Ferris Bueller inspired reference to a certain other Power Ranger from the old Fox Kids program - oh, like you folks want tact; the fucking Green Ranger shows up in a post-credit sequence. THERE, I SAID IT.

Starring Bryan Cranston as the giant screensaver that entrusts the fate of the entire universe in the hands of a bunch of remedial math students; Elizabeth Banks as the pasty-faced, gold chain eating psycho-bitch villainess; Bill Hader as the voice of the metrosexual robot servant who describes teenagers as being "between infants and full maturity"; Dacre Montgomery as the disgraced quarterback turned cow stealer turned Power Rangers ringleader; Naomi Scott as the depressed dark haired chick who later becomes an ace neon pink pterodactyl pilot; RJ Cyler as the world's first super-autist, who asks Zordon if he's supposed to be more Spider-Man or more Iron Man; Ludi Lan as the Asian ranger who plays chess with his mama and can't operate a stick mech; and Becky G. as the LGBT Ranger, who plays an apparent Muslim character despite the fact her birth name is Rebecca Marie Gomez.

Directed by Dean Israelite and based on a script credited to no less than five different people, so you really don't know who to blame for turning the Power Rangers from goofy, wholesome camp stock characters into a bunch of neurotics filled with more angst than the entire cast of The Breakfast Club and St. Elmo's Fire combined. 

We've got three dead bodies. No breasts. Two car chases, with one head-on train collision. 100 dead rock monsters. Phone crushing. One psychically possessed lunch room. Teeth roll. Exploding Kay Jewelers. Multiple mech battles. Gratuitous campfire bonding. Gratuitous monologues on teamwork. Gratuitous Krispy Kreme product placement. Kung Fu. Meditation Fu. And the thing thing more or less responsible for the movie existing in the first place, multicultural acceptance Fu.

This might just be the most misguided kids' show adaptation since Masters of the Universe or The Garbage Pail Kids Movie, and the first two hour movie in cinema history that only has about 50 minutes of real movie in it. I give it one star out of four - Jimbo says you'd have more fun watching the Power Rangers talk about the Oklahoma City Bombing with John Walsh than sit through this laborious turd.


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