Monday, March 27, 2023

MMPR: Once And Always Trailer Impressions

In case you missed the trailer, here it is again. I'll reserve thoughts for after the break, which may contain some spoilers if you're trying to go into this as clean as possible.

So the trailer opens with what presume is a flashback with all six Mighty Morphins fighting a bunch of putties and a robot version of Rita Repulsa, who is voiced by original Rita voice actress Barbara Goodson and not some lame stand-in. Robo-Rita fires a burst at Billy and it's implied that Trini takes the blow and dies.

Trini's kid - played by newcomer Charlie Hersh - wants revenge, but old Rangers Zack and Billy tell her to let them handle it... because that always works well. And then there's mention of a time travel plot where Robo Rita wants to go back to the beginning and such. And then we get action bits that includes a fight in what looks to be a recreation of the old juice bar - except it looks smaller than before.

Anyway, that's the general summation.

First impressions going in, Once And Always looks like it's aiming a little higher in maturity. The word "kill" is actually used rather than "destroy" and the fact that one of the Rangers is killed off (mostly to get around the fact that Thuy Trang - who played Trini way back when - passed away in 2001) seems like this is going to be less juvenile than before. I appreciate this approach, as it shows that there is a way to produce a more mature Power Rangers story without falling into the trappings of grim and gritty grimdark edgelord bullshit that feels more juvenile than most kids shows these days.

I like the look of the new Command Center; you've got the exterior location, which looks like a redressed version . And the internal command center is an updated take on the old Command Center. Similar layout, but less cheap. It's nowhere near as fully-realized as the 1995 movie version of the set, but it's a good set regardless.

Our active Rangers for this adventure are Rocky (Steve Cardenas), Kat (Catherine Sutherland), Billy (David Yost), and our main man Zack (Walter Jones). Karan Ashley and Johnny Yong Bosch also make appearances, but don't seem to be doing the action bits here. Also, they're wearing uniforms of some kind, implying that they work for some agency. Behind the scenes photos reveal that they're part of something called SPA, which I'm assuming is a spin-off of SPD, the police division that served as the basis of Power Rangers SPD. Now that I think about it, SPD took place in 2025 and should be an active thing by this point. Maybe that gets a mention somewhere along the way.

Actually, I'd be interested in seeing how they're going to get around some missing folks. Certainly curious to see how they're going to explain Katherine with the old Dino morpher since she never had that one - she had the later Ninja coin.

Actually, there's quite a few canonical things that need explaining. How does Rita have a robot body? Last time I checked, she was the Mystic Mother in Mystic Force.. unless this is her evil influence that somehow escaped her former physical form and has been floating around space and time like a specter of some kind. That would actually be a neat angle, but I guess we'll have to see how Robo-Rita became a thing.

Actually... okay, stop that. That's three times you started a thought with "actually" for fuck's sake!

Once And Again feels like a primer for things to come. I don't mean in the sense that this could be a backdoor pilot for a later series down the road, but this feels like Hasbro's first attempt at producing a Power Rangers program without relying on repurposed Super Sentai footage. The fight scenes look new, the Rangers suits look about as good as you can get and seem to have minor updates on the diamond patterns on the gloves and boots, and they even recreated the Dino Zords in CG... and it looks kinda awful, if I'm being honest. Sometimes, there are things you can do with physical man in suits that you can't recreate with cheap CG and this is cheap CG.

Also, the putty suits look like they were made by some rather frugal cosplayers.

For what it's worth, I'm looking forward to this one. I have a feeling that Once And Always could be a nice little reunion project with tempered expectations. Is there disappointment that this isn't a full-blown reunion? Sure, but they seemed to have made the most with what they have and from watching this trailer, I have a feeling that this is going to turn out fine. Now whether that happens to be the case come April is another story, but for now, I'm somewhat hopeful.

But more than that, this is the first test for Hasbro. Because if this special turns out to be good, then things might be looking up for their upcoming Cosmic Fury. But that's then. This is now. Let's get past this and worry about that later.

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Once And Always premieres April 19th exclusively on Netflix.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Keep it real and keep it clean.