• by Wes Singleton

Power Rangers, C-

Rated PG-13, 124 minutes

To the delight of kids and the disbelief of everyone else, particularly parents who must take said children to see it, comes the ultra silly, uber cheesy new "Power Rangers" from Saban, whose executives must be seeing $$$ in their eyes after the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot. All I have to say, is thank goodness for Elizabeth Banks of "Pitch Perfect" and "The Hunger Games," whose scene chomping in a sleek green suit is the only reason to see it.

Five ordinary teens (Dacre Montgomery - Red Ranger, Naomi Scott - Pink Ranger, RJ Cyler - Blue Ranger, Becky G - Yellow Ranger, Ludi Lin - Black Ranger) must become something extraordinary when they learn that their small town of Angel Grove - and the world - is on the verge of being obliterated by an alien threat named Rita (Banks), former Ranger gone rogue. Chosen by destiny, our heroes quickly discover they are the only ones who can save the planet. But to do so, they will have to overcome their real-life issues and before it's too late, band together as the Power Rangers.

Directed by Dean Isrealite ("Project Almanac") with a script by John Gatins ("Flight"), the energetically stupid "Power Rangers" may remind many Gen Xers and Millennials of their childhood, and not necessarily in a good way. Thankfully, Power Rangers came a little after my time, so I have little compare it to except to say that children's entertainment has changed considerably over the years to deliver bigger, brighter and more colorful.

That said, on some levels, this "Power Rangers" is a bit of a bore, with what feels like a ton of unnecessary backstory: it's the first 30-45 minutes of the movie, during which younger kids will become restless and wonder when the young gang will change into their suits and start kicking some tail. Instead, we're treated to lots of mumbo jumbo about some deadly crystal that'll be used to destroy the Earth.

All of it's a bit yawn-inducing until Banks' Rita shows up and struts around, forcing this bland gang to be on their guard. Without Banks, the movie would be a total waste, even with the likes of Oscar-nominee Bryan Cranston, who had to be paid lots of money to voice Zordon, the original Red Ranger, and "Saturday Night Live's" Bill Hader as the voice of Alpha 5, Zordon's morphing robot assistant.

There's some decent action scenes here and there amidst all the silliness, a nice touch that this expensive Lionsgate production did was to give it a bit of a contemporary spin on the Rangers, likely for political correctness, but among the Rangers is a bilingual, an autistic and representation from the LBGTQ community. Too bad behind the suits the script doesn't give them much of a personality or much spunk.

Unsurprisingly, the ending leaves it open for more of these (and a nod to the original and good Green Ranger, whose MIA here), but I hope they develop some smarter storylines and characters. The kids will enjoy it the most, so parents, even if you're familiar with the "Power Rangers," it's best to drop them off and pick them up if you can.

#powerrtangers #bryancranston #elizabethbanks