To watch the engaging “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie” is to realize all over again how very undemanding juvenile audiences are.
Kids ages 5 to 10 don’t necessarily need well-drawn characters, smooth plotting and an uplifting message to enjoy a film - and they don’t get ‘em here. If you give kids slick heroes, a decent variety of evildoers and lots of non-disturbing fight scenes, they will happily accept any old piece of junk.
“Power Rangers” is good junk. In case you haven’t caught the Fox TV show on which the movie is based, the six teenage Rangers (four boys and two girls) are “a superhuman fighting force” mentored by a godlike wise man called Zordon. They battle various quasi-human scoundrels.
This outing’s main fiend is a demonic “morphological being,” Ivan Ooze (Paul Freeman), whose chin sprouts a pair of braided horns. Purple-faced Ooze has been imprisoned in a huge buried egg for 6,000 years. Inadvertently freed by a construction crew, he bursts forth with a comic flourish, spouting oaths against humanity.
When the Rangers show up and tell Ivan to scram, he ignores them. “We’re the Power Rangers,” one announces, and Ooze’s mocking reply is the movie’s best line: “Well, where’s my autograph book?”
The movie bolts along at a breakneck pace, from an opening sky diving scene to the climactic battle.
The Rangers repeatedly flaunt their trademark skill, a stylized karate form that blends synchronized kicking, aerial spins and somersaults and vertical leaps.
Director Bryan Spicer managed to film these battles in a way that won’t intimidate children over 5. Victims do expire, but the camera never lingers on them.
xxxx “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie” Location: Lincoln Heights, Newport and Showboat cinemas. Credits: Directed by Bryan Spicer, starring Jason David Frank, Amy Jo Johnson, Steve Cardenas, Karan Ashley, Johnny Yong Bosch, David Yost, Paul Freeman Running time: 1:30 Rating: PG