Very few television shows were as iconic to an entire generation as the original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers TV series, produced by the prolific kid-friendly-pseudo-kung-fu-character-manufacturing-machine that is Saban Entertainment between the years 1993-1996. Of course, the original spawned no less than 17 subsequent spin-off series which ran for many years (with new projects still in discussion), as well as a couple of movies (which were basically just long versions of a standard TV episode, with more Zord screen time).
Despite the prolific success of the franchise as a whole, the original MMPR (Mighty Morphin Power Rangers) was by far the best – maybe it’s the effects of nostalgia, or maybe its the fact that it was simply more incredible than the rest. We got to see the 3-season series survive an entire cast shakeup midway through the second season (while virtually nobody noticed or even cared), we got to see the inception of the Green Ranger (who would later upgrade himself to the White Ranger, after a tortured internal battle between good and evil) and we also had, in one word, “Shogunzords”!
Don’t think 3 seasons is a respectable run for an allegedly popular show? Think again. The iconic and campy Batman series from the 60’s (starring Adam West and Burt Ward) ran for only 3 seasons, as did the original 60’s Star Trek series featuring William Shatner (and a lot of other great icons of the acting world)! Of course, I wouldn’t go so far as to put MMPR above these two gems, but I must stay it still holds a special place in my heart – the colorful costumes and sets, exciting fight sequences (hey, I was a kid – don’t judge) and larger-than-life robot battle machines kept me watching any time I could sneak an episode in without my friends seeing me.
However, now I am an adult and I enjoy adult things. Like any other reasonable adult, what I enjoy is seeing (among other things) are classic character icons of my comparatively innocent youth, re-imagined from the perspective of an adult fan, complete with all the truth and grit that comes from said perspective. An appropriate example, in the context of this very one-sided discussion, is to imagine what would happen to those original Rangers once they graduated high school, moved on with their lives and had to cope with the physical and emotional battle scars of their youth. For that matter, what would the battles have looked like in real life? I mean, the show pulled a lot of punches (quite literally, as the good guys didn’t even need to necessarily make contact with the baddies to send them flying dramatically across the screen) – laser blasts knocked people off their feet and although you might see random burn marks appears on the uniforms, rarely did you see any signs of blood as a result of the ostensibly violent confrontations. Come to think of it, why were they making kids fight for the safety of the planet when there are plenty of qualified adults (or military, for that matter) who could be handling the situation?? Granted, the show was a lot of fun, but the dark side of me wants to see a more realistic take on the series, or at least see what the aftermath would be in such a situation.
Enter an independent crew, which set out to find answers to these questions, and more – what they have imagined is dark, complex, exciting, violent and (to my surprise and delight) incredibly well executed on every level from scripting to acting to special effects. You will even recognize many of the stars who lend their talent to this particular pet project – hell, James Van Der Beek plays the “replacement” Red Ranger (after the shakeup during season 2) in this particular remake!
It is dark, violent, vulgar and it provides a unique and fun perspective on the whole Power Rangers universe – what else could you ask for?? On top of all that, the version I am linking to here is hosted on YouTube and is the watered down version of this short flick! I heard rumor there exists a version that is even darker and more graphic (hard to believe), but for reasons beyond my current understanding it was apparently pulled from the hosting server. As such, we are left with the following version for our collective viewing pleasure – watch it, enjoy it, then watch it again just because. Trust me, you won’t regret it.