The party never stops. Five more Power Ranger seasons and 55 hours of
high-tech laser-blasting throwdowns.
Power Rangers S.P.D. (2005)
The Plot—It's the
futurish future (give or take a couple of decades) and humans and aliens are
living together. To manage any malevolent fallout by evil alien interlopers, the
Power Ranger Academy churns out SPD (Space Patrol Delta) teams, police-like
squads of Morphin' heroes tasked with deploying their emergency vehicle Zords
and random assortment of lasers and swords and Palm Pilots in defense of Earth.
Led by the Red Ranger, a benevolent criminal turned crime-fighter and a Ranger
from the far-flung future named Sam, our heroes wage big-ass battles against
The Take—Good times. The SPD setting is fun.
Future tech, crazy aliens, boffo set designs and a sensei with a
cougar-head—this is straight Ranger dopeness. The two-part ending in
particular deliver the goods, with all manner of TV-quality special effects and
pyrotechnics combining in a full-on alien assault on Earth. If the Rangers are
your bag, S.P.D. features everything you probably like about it.
Power Rangers Mystic Force (2006)
are strange things going on in the forests of Briarwood—talk of magic and
witches and other assorted supernatural tomfoolery. When a group of teens
venture into the woods to explore they meet a sorceress called Udonna who
politely informs them that they are the next generation of Power Rangers. They
call upon their powers using elements of nature like fire, wind, water and wind.
Their opponent: Morticon, who's got a dope name but doesn't differ much from any
other Ranger heavy. Still, with an army of cannon fodder at his disposal and the
usual weaponry, he's a force to be reckoned with and our heroes will have to
call upon all manner of magic mojo to bring the pain.
Take—This one is a reach. Where S.P.D. was futuristic and
scifi-heavy, Mystic Force aims to capture the Hobbit crowd, deploying
magic spell books and costumed goblin men in the service of the fight against
evil. It's a…different look for sure. The fantasy stuff is corny and for a
Power Rangers show to be even cheesier than normal is quite an achievement.
Everything else is the same, though (big Zords, explosions, incoherent bad guys,
Power Rangers Operation Overdrive (2007)
Plot—World-famous adventurer Andrew Hartford stumbled on the discovery
of a lifetime: the Corona Aurora, a magical crown that is imbued with mystical
powers and promises wealth and power for anyone lucky enough to claim it.
Unfortunately, there is one small, negative side effect: it will summon demonic
hordes to kill and enslave the Earth's population. Thankfully, Hartford is
willing to leverage his endless wealth to recruit and arm the next wave of Power
Rangers, led by this robot son. Wait, huh?!
right—his robot son. Not only does this Rangers installment deliver the
requisite chop-socky and robot thrills, but also tackles existential crises.
Fortunately for humankind, robot or not, the son is up to the task of leading
the Rangers into battle. All the ingredients are present, but the twist of
having the Rangers being bankrolled by a billionaire is semi-interesting and the
ending is fun.
Power Rangers Jungle Fury (2008)
kids semi-skilled in kung fu find their ultimate destiny in, where else, a pizza
party. That's where they get clued in on the plans of the malevolent, ancient
Dai Shi, an evil spirit intent on reclaiming the Earth as his personal urinal.
Our heroes adopt animal totems and transform into jungle-themed Power Rangers
(furious jungle-themed Rangers, that is) and bring the usual artillery.
The Take—Credit to the brain trust for keeping things mixed
up. Two seasons ago it was sci-fi and robots last season it was Batman-lite and
this go-round brings us crazy animal warriors. The motif hangs tough throughout,
with this batch of Rangers employing all manner of creature hijinks (including
the dopiest helmets yet). As usual, a couple of bonus Rangers joins the squad to
juice up the narrative along the way; the payoff, however, offers a nice dollop
of redemption, which should play well with the kids.
Power Rangers R.P.M. (2009)
The Plot—And now for
something completely different. In whatever timeline we're in now, Earth has
been overrun by an evil computer virus named Venjix that has turned the planet
into a post-apocalyptic wasteland. The remnants of humanity have holed up in the
sanctuary city of Corinth. With his army of robot grunts and giant
monstrosities, Venjix wages an all-out assault to purge the planet from all
carbon-based bipedals, with only the RPM detachment of the Power
Rangers—and a mysterious Mad Max wannabe with circuitry in his
pancreas—to stem the tide.
The Take—Keeping the theme
going, R.P.M. is a total departure. The villain is a computer virus, the
cannon fodder are automatons and the Rangers bounce around in ATVs. I know I
sound like a broken record, but, again, all the beats remain the same. The new
setting and "mythology" adds juice and I'm a sucker for any kind of
post-apocalyptic story, no matter how many of the heroes traipse around in
pastel spandex. I'd wager this is one of the more ambitious Rangers series, with
the grim futuristic setting and some of the gonzo special effects (the finale is
• "Props"—A look at the brains and
skills behind the creation of the crazy plastic props used throughout the
• "Rangers on Set"—Location, production design
and assorted wacky sets utilized in the different seasons.
• "Ranger Tales"—75 minutes worth of retrospectives from the
cast of RPM, SPD and Jungle Fury.
• "Collect 'Em
All"—The requisite fan segment and this one delivers major-league
geekiness, with collectors showing off their ridiculous toy collections
• "The SPD Rangers Want You"—Vintage promos from each SPD
Ranger • "Special Messages from the Mystic Force
Rangers"—Special messages from the Mystic Force Rangers.
• "Ranger Secrets"—More throwback Mystic Force bonuses, with
the Rangers answering a series of fake questions.
Force: Forces of Nature!"—A three minute promo.
• "Operation Overdrive Files"—Recycled featurettes from the OO
• "Original Promos"—Pretty much what it
Once again, a humongous helping of Power Rangers action, totaling
five seasons and 55 whopping hours. This is my third adventure through these
Shout! Factory bundles of Rangers lore and though I am battling a crushing
headache and have seen more slow-motion leaping away from pyrotechnics than I
thought I ever would in my life, I've come to a conclusion: These guys know what
they are doing and obviously had fun doing it. Compartmentalizing these seasons
into stand-alone stories is a great idea. Again, the playbooks don't change
(Teenagers! Swords! Martial arts! Robots!) and the villains and Zords and
weapons ultimately become interchangeable, but having new settings and plots and
protagonists, I would think, gives the writers enough creative juice to keep
Shout! Factory keeps it going with their high-end releases: Decent tech
specs (standard def 1.33:1 Full Frame, Dolby 2.0 Stereo), sturdy packaging, and
a fully loaded bonus disc.
Look, when you get right down to it a Power Rangers season is a Power
Rangers season, but invariably everyone involved goes for it, slathering on the
visceral over-stimulation and pumping out progressively nightmarish costume
design. I've got no problem with that.