Power Rangers: Once upon a time, a repetition

Power Rangers, one of Saban Entertainment’s most famous franchises, offers a new (or not so new) retelling of their universe in the long-running single of the same name that premiered on March 24, 2017.

The film, as expected in today’s standards, has a darker mood than the famous television series that made its debut in Rede Globo in 1995. However, Power Rangers can effectively balance comedy scenes and dramatic scenes, not trying to take themselves as seriously as many movies of the same genre, such as Transformers. In fact, one of the funniest scenes is when one of the gigantic monsters of Power Rangers kicks and destroys a car very similar to the Bumblebee car, a character in the long-running alien robot, clearly playing or challenging the competing movie. What most impresses, however, is how the genre has managed to keep itself without much change over time.

Stories of gigantic monsters gained popularity in Japan in the 1950s, after the country was invaded by American superheroes as Superman and, consequently, attempted to find its own characters. One of the first was the Godzilla, a giant dinosaur that appears after bomb tests disrupted its habitat.

Years later, especially during the 1970s, many similar stories were developed around a group of young people who became heroes and fought with giant monsters to save mankind. The crude style, for lack of budget, was always part of this type of production.

In Brazil, the fever of this genre, called Tokusatsu, began in the 80s with the debut of Changeman in the old Network Manchete. The structure of each episode of Changeman is repetitive and also holds to this day. The show always started with a monster that terrorized society. To contain the problem, special heroes magically changed their clothes and each wore a different color. After defeating the monster, it became giant, and it was at this time that the heroes piloted an equally giant robot that would finally destroy the enemy after causing destruction in the city. This type of story is part of many series that came later, like Flashman, and also Power Rangers.

Repetition has become not only a formula to be followed, but to be expected by the public, so that many fight scenes recorded in the past were used even by different serials without the audience noticing. However, the Power Rangers series, which was a partnership between the Japanese company Toei, already famous for other heroes, and Saban, managed to innovate by inserting its story into a more student-like and relaxed atmosphere, something that is still used in the new film.

The success of a repetition formula comes as no surprise. Even children’s tales such as Little Red Riding Hood or Snow White are repeated many times because of children’s desire to hear them more than once. Power Rangers is no different. Like children’s tales, his success, which will never be critical, depends on the expected formula with a little different twist. In the movie, this different twist is the use of less-than-expected special effects, somewhat more complex characters with family problems, and recognition of himself as a “B” movie through funny scenes that appeal to children and adolescents.

(article translated from the original version in portuguese, by Google Translate)

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