Power Rangers Movie Review

So, I went to see Power Rangers on Thursday night.

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So, how was it?  Let me say something real quick first.

The first Power Rangers movie was Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie, which came out in 1995 when the show as in its second season.  (The show is currently in its 24th season.)  I love MMPR:TM.  I loved it then (it’s actually what got me into Power Rangers), and I love it now.  I actually like the armor of MMPR:TM better than the armor of this movie, even though I’ll admit this movie’s Power Ranger armor is pretty sweet.  (My objection is solely the helmets – they don’t look enough like their animals.)  But, my point is this – MMPR:TM was a movie for the fans.

Power Rangers is a movie for anybody who likes superheroes.

I say that seriously.  Yes, it has a little cheese, but not like what you would expect when you hear Power Rangers.  I genuinely believe that if you like superhero films, you’ll like Power Rangers.

I’m not going to go too much into the depth of the plot in this review, but there are a few things I want to talk about.  There will be spoilers ahead, so bail out now if you don’t want to be spoiled.

Firstly, I have always been a fan of the Blue Ranger.  Billy was the Ranger that spoke to me from the original Power Rangers.  This is original Billy, played by David Yost.

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The new Billy Cranston is played by RJ Cyler.

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I could care less that the new Billy is black.  No one who is a Power Rangers fan cares about the race of the actors.  Power Rangers is known for its diversity.

I will admit that I was a little nervous about RJ Cyler playing Billy, though.  I felt he would be a better Jason or Zack, for this reason.  In today’s world of celebrity social media, we often get to see actors in their daily lives, and it feels at times that we get to know them.  RJ Cyler felt too cool to play Billy.  Billy is a nerd; Billy is a geek.  He’s a good guy, but he’s a little bit off.  I had never seen RJ Cyler act in anything, so I was skeptical that he could bring the nerdiness of Billy to the character in the same way that David Yost did.

Well, I am happy to say this.  RJ Cyler IS Billy.  His Billy is a little different than Yost’s Billy, but I feel confident in saying that Billy is the character that is the most similar from the show to the movie.

RJ Cyler is, in my admittedly biased opinion as a fan of the Blue Ranger, the best Ranger actor in this film.  Billy is the heart of this film, and RJ Cyler did an amazing job bringing him to life.

There has also been some chatter online about Power Rangers introducing an LGBT character and a character on the spectrum.  Some people feel like this is lip service that Power Rangers is paying.  I disagree.  Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, kiddie show that it was, was all about diversity.  No matter what you looked like as a kid, at some point, there was a Power Ranger that looked like you.

Well, Billy Cranston was our character on the spectrum, and I’ll readily admit that I am not an expert on autism.  But with Billy, it fit.  Perfectly.  It didn’t feel tacked on; it didn’t feel forced in.  It felt like his character, and I know a lot of that is thanks to Cyler’s acting ability.  I’ll get to the LGBT issue in just a moment.

Billy was the heart of the team.  In this new movie, the Rangers can’t morph until they have learned to work as a team.  Billy is the first to morph, accidentally at that, when he stops Zack and Jason from fighting.  In his attempt to protect friendships, he has become part of the team.  His friendship with Jason, forged early in the film, is amazing.  I know of no other way to say it, as silly as this sounds, but it warmed my heart to see Billy so protective of his friendship, relationship, and trust with Jason.

Now, on to Trini.  One thing to note – Trini was Trini Kwan in the original series, played by the late Thuy Trang.

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In the series, Trini was responsible, level headed, and basically a model citizen.  Oh, and she was also heterosexual.

The new Trini (last name omitted, for… reasons) is played by Becky G.  So yeah, it wouldn’t make sense for a Latina to have a Vietnamese last name, I suppose.  (For what it’s worth, I think they could have solved this by having her be adopted, but it’s not a big deal.)  It’s just that Trini’s lack of a last name definitely stood out when the other four Rangers all had their original last names.  Granted, Cranston wasn’t used in the show ever, but it’s still canonical, and I’m getting off track now.  Back to Trini.

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This Trini is reckless, a bit of a wild child, and literally nothing like the old Trini.  That’s okay; this version of Power Rangers is clearly supposed to be different.  A lot of the characters (mostly Zack and Trini) are wildly different from the originals.

And she may be bisexual or lesbian.  The director has said that was his intention, and it’s a pretty mellow example, but hey, it’s a start, right?  While the Rangers are trying to bond as friends, sitting around a campfire, Trini mentions she’s having problems, Zack asks if it is boyfriend problems, and then follows up with, “Girlfriend problems?”  And she alludes with her answer that she isn’t who her parents want her to be.  Again, it’s not like Trini was crushing on Kimberly (something I am actually grateful did not happen), but if you wanted to perceive her as gay or straight, the film is not that clear.  Maybe things will be different in a future film.

Zack is a wildly different Zack.  I actually feel like Zack got the shortest end of the character development stick in this film.  Jason and Kimberly (save for a little bit of actual teenage attitude) are not that wildly different from the original Jason and Kimberly.  Zack is such a different character, he and the original Zack Taylor share only a name.  I didn’t feel a ton of connection with Zack’s character, although he does have a conversation with the gang about his relationship with his dying mother, which was definitely not in the show, and that gave him some real development.

Alpha Five was very different from the show Alpha Five, but he was fun.  Bill Hader did a great job with him.

Bryan Cranston as Zordon… Man, that was #notmyZordon at first, but he grew on me.  Zordon on the show was a wise, kindly, father figure.  This Zordon was straight up a jerk.  He was looking at the bigger picture, of course, in trying to save the world, but he also was using the Rangers for his own needs so that he could come back to life.  Don’t worry; Zordon doesn’t stay a jerk, but he sure started out as one.

What on Earth can I possibly say about Elizabeth Banks as Rita Repulsa?  She was amazing.  She was scary.  She was just fun.  And creepy.  And again, I go back to scary.  This movie is rated PG-13 for a reason, and while some of it is the Rangers swearing a little (nothing worse than PG), I think most of it is Rita.  She straight up kills people.  Jason attends the funeral for one of her victims at one point.  She attacks Trini in her room at night in a scene that I can see being little kid nightmare fuel.

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There were some Easter Eggs for fans.

First of all, the original Power Ranger score from the 1995 movie is used to great effect when the Zords come out as a team for the first time.  I got goosebumps.  I wanted to stand up and cheer.  Seriously, as a fanboy, it was perfect.

There is a reference to two Power Rangers series, Lightspeed Rescue and Dino Thunder, when Jason’s dad mentions being between Mariner’s Bay and Reefside while driving.

The original Tommy and Kimberly have a cameo at the end.  They’re two in the crowd taking photos of the MegaZord with their cameras after the big fight.  I would have liked to see all of the original gang, including Karan Ashley (who played Aisha, Trini’s replacement) as the fill-in for Thuy Trang.  But alas, they didn’t ask me.  Or pretty much anyone else in the fandom who would have said the same thing. 

Trini delivered the final impact with the MegaZord that defeated Rita.  In MMPR:TM, Yellow Ranger Aisha delivered the final… ugh, knee to the groin with the MegaZord that defeated Ivan Ooze.

So, what did I not like?

I wish the Rangers helmets were more like the original.  I’m not sure that I liked that the Rangers’ helmets were open-faced during the Zord Battles.  I didn’t like that the MastodonZord did not look like a Mastodon.  It looked like if a machine gun, a spider, and a tank had a weird baby.  The other Zords were fine; just that one.  I didn’t like that there wasn’t a shared cockpit for the MegaZord.  I think that one may be my biggest dislike of all.  The whole movie is about teamwork; let us see them working as a team in the same cockpit rather than communicating via radio.

What did I like?  Everything else.

Oh, and one more nice little Easter Egg, when Trini morphs for the first time, she is wearing a shirt with the year 1973 on it, the year that Thuy Trang was born.  Coincidence?  I really don’t think it is.

There’s a mid-credits scene, but no ending credits scene.  The mid-credits scene is a nice teaser for the second film.

I really hope this does well enough to earn a second film.  Saban has said he has a planned six film arc.  Yes, please.

Weight Watchers at WKU, Weeks 1-3

One of the great job perks at WKU, my place of employment, is that we are given free access to Weight Watchers.  WKU offers three 12-week series of WW a year, one for spring, summer, and fall semesters, and so long as we attend at least 9 of 12 meetings, we pay nothing.  It’s a pretty sweet deal, and I am taking advantage of it.

I’ll be honest; I’ve done WW at WKU before and just piddled my way through, up and down and not really making much progress.

However, I have started again this spring, and for whatever reason, this time, it is sticking.

I weighed in at my absolute highest weight ever on January 30th at 434.0 pounds

January 30, 2017 – 434.0

But then… I stuck the program, I got a nice journal to track in, and… I’m losing weight!  And while it is a little tough, it’s not impossibly difficult.

February 6, 2017 – 424.8 (loss of 9.2 pounds)

February 13, 2017 – 421.2 (loss of 3.6 in one week, total of 12.8 pounds)

I obviously do not expect to have a loss like that again this week, but I’d be beyond thrilled to lose two pounds a week.  And I feel good about it.

I’m exercising, although I’m admittedly going very light.  It’s funny; I can look back at how much more physically fit and active I used to be, but I just lost it.  Rather than bemoan that fact, I’m starting super slow.  I do about 20 minutes on the treadmill every night.  It feels almost embarrassing to admit that, especially when I used to be able to do so much more, but that’s where I’m at.  I’m slowly upping my speed, and I’m about to increase my duration as well.

I’m still on my quest to become a Power Ranger.

I’d encourage you to follow me on Instagram, as I’m a much more frequent Instagrammer than blogger, but I will try to stop in here every few weeks and track my progress toward becoming a Power Ranger.

They’re Here! The new Ranger suits!

So, if you have Power Ranger stuff on your newsfeed, this just kinda exploded all over the place this morning.  The new movie suits, for the new reboot movie coming out next year, have finally been released!

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I am… torn.

First of all, I like (most) of the actual suit itself.  I liked the original movie armor over the t.v. show spandex, and this is a big move in the right direction.  I was really afraid we would get spandex in this new movie, so right off the bat, I am super pleased!

I’m pleased the Pink Ranger doesn’t have a skirt.

I’m not pleased that she and the Yellow Ranger have a heel on their boot, but it’s not a Batgirl-esque heel, so I can deal.

I wish there was a belt, but again… I can deal.

I like the chrome highlights.  I think these suits look powerful, and I can’t wait to see them in action.

There is one thing that, at the moment, I do not like.

The helmets.  The Red Ranger and Pink Ranger are the only two helmets where I can “see” the dinosaur that makes them up.  And frankly, they all look too similar.

Still, I’m thrilled to see this sneak peek, and I’m okay with them changing things up.  This is a reboot, after all, not a remake, so things do need to be a bit different.

I just want to see dinosaurs on those helmets!

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The First Team and Video #0

This is The Ranger Project, and that means I need to talk some about the Power Rangers.  Every Sunday, I’m going to do a post about the Power Rangers.  When I can, I’ll also include videos.

So, today’s post is about the very first team, team numero uno, the five who started it all.

If you don’t know anything about the Power Rangers, it is about a group of ordinary teenagers who are given access to a universe of power.  This power manifests itself by turning these teens into the Power Rangers.  Our first group, the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, become Rangers by using Power Coins.

Basically, five ordinary teens and they turn into a spandex-wearing (for now) group of superheroes instantly by morphing.

I think this instantaneous morphing process is part of the appeal for me.  They don’t put on costumes.  They weren’t born on distant planets.  They didn’t train really hard.  They immediately become a superhero team by holding their power morphers up and calling the name of the dinosaur that their power is based on.

What I wouldn’t give for weight loss to work the same way.

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They have weapons; they have innate knowledge of how to fight and operate their equipment.  They have gigantic Zords, which can combine to make the powerful MegaZord.

There is a new movie coming out in 2017.  It’s a reboot, so we get our first five teens ago, albeit with some ethnic switching around (to avoid the black Black Ranger and Asian Yellow Ranger).  I am beyond excited about this movie and I cannot wait to see it!

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From left to right, this new group is Billy, Kimberly, Zack, Trini, and Jason.  Not gonna lie; just seeing this photo gets me excited for the film!  Oh, and Elizabeth Banks is going to play the new Rita Repulsa.  How freaking awesome is that?

I’m working my way through the first season by watching one episode a day while I walk on the treadmill.  Hopefully, starting next weekend, I’ll have my first video where I describe what I’m finding and experiencing again as I watch these old episodes (in some cases, for the first time in years).

But for today, just enjoy this video of me describing what The Ranger Project is going to be all about.

 

Our Very First Blog Post, Again

Are you watching Fuller House?  Do you get the reference?

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I do this, periodically.  Eventually, it’ll stick.  Maybe this time.  Definitely this time.

Time to dust the blog off.  Do it again.

Lose weight.  Recommit to a healthier life.  Follow through.

I read something yesterday that really stuck with me.

The reason 95% of diets fail is because 95% of people can’t stand even a little bit of discomfort.

So… here we are.  I’m at my almost-highest ever, and I HAVE to lose this weight.

I’m promising myself one thing: For the next month, no matter what happens… I am blogging every day.  I’m not saying I’ll blog every day for forever, but I’m at least doing it until the end of March.

Why the Ranger Project?  If you’re one of the very few reading this, then you probably know, but if not… I want to cosplay as this guy, and I refuse to do it fat.

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Put up or shut up.  I get it.

I’m eating well.  I’m tracking calories using the FoodMover by Richard Simmons.  I’ll explain about that in the future, but it’s basically just a way to count calories without writing down everything I eat.

And mine, of course, is customized with Garbage Pail Kids stickers.

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This is going to be a random blog.  I’m probably not going to do a great job of building a brand, unless that brand is dorkiness with nostalgia.  And hey, maybe it is.

I’m probably also not going to be well-liked by everyone.  Because one thing that I will definitely address periodically is my extreme irritation and what I see as a horrific danger of the body positivity (a.k.a. fat acceptance) movement.  Tomorrow, my blog post is going to be about what I DO like about body positivity, because there are a few things.  (Not many, but a few.)

I’m typically going to do my weigh-in posts on Friday, but since this is technically the first, I have to start here.

February 29, 2016

Weight: 419.0

Change from Highest: –11.0 pounds

I will get to my goal weight.  I promise.

See you tomorrow!

Oh, and Happy Leap Day!

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The Ranger Project

Welcome to The Ranger Project!

I’ve started and stopped, resurrected and forgotten, and just let this blog sit here and collect dust more times than I can count.

Or maybe eight times.  I can count to eight.

Either way, I wanted to put up this first post because I am going to try again.  Now that my school work is over (other than that pesky dissertation – more on that in a moment), I feel I can devote a few minutes a day to keeping this blog alive.

This blog is going to document a lot of things about my life.  You’ll learn a lot about me and my family and some of the things we want to accomplish.  I’ll be honest – the theme of this blog may be a bit different at times, so I completely understand if this isn’t your cup of tea.  On the other hand, if you like random things, this might be right up your alley!

RainTree Productions

This one refers specifically to my family life.  We have a fairly inactive YouTube Channel called RainTree Productions, so named because I have both Cherokee and Shawnee blood in my family tree and one of my closest Indian relatives had the last name Raintree.  We just thought it had a nice ring for our videos.

I’ll periodically post videos about our lives, what we do, what we like, our plans, et cetera. 

Disney

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In the last year and a half, we have become huge Disney fanatics.  It happened when we took our son to Walt Disney World in May 2014 and he had a very literal and exciting language bump.  Our son is pretty much on track now, but he does have a bit of an articulation issue with his speech, and we discovered that every time he goes to Disney, he seems to have a bit of a speech explosion when he returns.  (It could potentially be not connected at all, but we cannot deny that we all have a great time at Disney World.)

We just got back a few days ago.  Seriously.  We love the place.

I’m not saying every vacation we ever take will be at Disney World, but we do want to get our debt paid off we can join the Disney Vacation Club and go once a year.

We have plans to do our kitchen in a Disney theme.  I’ll probably post about Disney once a month or so, just to keep the magic alive.

Disney is one of those things that people either love or hate.  Perhaps not surprisingly, I’ve found that a lot of people who hate Disney haven’t even gone.

All I can say is this – Walt Disney World truly is a magical place for my family, and I see us going many, many times for the rest of our lives.

Debt

Speaking of Disney and wanting to join the Disney Vacation Club, we have a fair amount of debt.  Nothing crippling, but more than I’d like, for sure.  Tina and I both have healthy student loan debt and we want to see this gone.  I’ll periodically post about how we’re living as frugal as we can (90% of the time, anyway – we do still go to Disney sometimes) to get this debt paid down quicker.

People like Dave Ramsey and Suze Orman say that we should live like paupers to get our debt paid off.  I’m not entirely sure that’s smart.  I’d rather take a little longer to pay off our debt and actually enjoy my life.

Still, that doesn’t mean I’m not a big fan of avoiding needless expenses.  We don’t really eat out.  (We do get pizza every Monday night, but that’s because a local pizza parlor has a special with half-off pizza once a week.  We can get a thin crust cheese pizza for $5.29 that feeds all of us.  That seems like a decent deal, and it also has the added benefit of keeping us on track with avoiding eating out.)  I try to stretch the grocery budget as best I can.  We’re frugal, not tight.  Oh, and I’ve also found some painless ways to make a little money on the side, too, which I’ll talk about from time to time.

Cooking

We love food!  I love to cook, and I’m going to share my recipes and my interpretations of recipes on occasion.  We also have an Instant Pot which we love.  Granted, it is now the HOT kitchen appliance of the moment, but if you’ve ever used one, you’ll understand why.  It really is a great appliance.  One of my first recipes is going to be for my super-easy roast beef in the Instant Pot.

Weight Loss

I’m fat.  I’ve been fat for a long time.  I’ll write a longer blog post in the coming days about my weight loss efforts, but I’m going to weigh-in every Friday in 2016, starting with New Year’s Day.  I weigh over 400 pounds right now (around 415, last I checked), and I’m tired of being fat and unhealthy.

While I do plan for this blog to be a positive place, I may occasionally rail on the disturbing trend that now exists for some people to glorify obesity and promote bad health.  There are people out there (with audiences, sadly) who claim that it is impossible to lose weight (it’s not), that medical research says obesity is healthier than being normal weight (it’s laughably not), and that if we just eat ‘til we’re full our weight will settle where it’s supposed to (yet some who have made this claim have packed on the pounds since finding Health at Every Size).

So again, most of my weight loss talk will be about myself, but when studies come out that some of the elite trained researchers out there wildly misinterpret to suit their own needs, I’ll probably have to talk about it here.

The Ranger Project

So, why is this blog named what it is named?  Because I want to be a Power Ranger!

Seriously.  I want to lose weight so that I can get a movie suit and cosplay as the Blue Ranger.

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And I’m not doing it fat.

I hope you’ll stick with me.  I think this might be an interesting journey.

Happy Halloween, Fit Girls, and a New (sort of) YouTube Channel

I know Saturdays are where blog posts go to die, but given that very few people currently subscribe to my feed, I’m not too worried about that.

In any event, Happy Halloween!

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We are going as Dr. Sherman, Darla, and Nemo from Finding Nemo this year.  We always try to do a family costume (at least until said point when Henry starts dictating what he wears.)

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We’ve also recently started a YouTube Channel.  It’s at the same location as my old YouTube channel (http://www.youtube.com/jeremyray45), but we’re going to rebrand a bit.  We’re calling the whole thing RainTree Productions.  I have a surprising amount of Native American blood for somebody who is so shockingly white, and Raintree is the last name of one of my Cherokee ancestors on my mother’s side of the family.  We also plan to have subchannels, including one called The Ranger Project, where I do a video series describing our weight loss efforts.  Every Monday, we hope to post a video to that channel.

Last night, we made a video of our pumpkin carving efforts.  We also plan to do some general day-in-the-life type videos, both to share a window into our lives AND to have more videos of us to enjoy in the future.

And of weight loss efforts, it’s actually going great!  Tina started a diet called Fit Girls, and I’m doing a slightly modified (i.e. – more calories for my increased size) version.  Our first weigh-in is on Monday, but I fully expect to see at least a six pound loss this week.  Exercise is also going well.  I have some far-off, way-off, so-far-off-we-may-have-flying-cars plans to do an IronMan, but I’ll talk about that more in the future.  All I have to say right now is this – the idea of actually possibly finishing an IronMan is very motivational to me as I do my extremely low-level treadmill workouts right now.  (And I also expect to be at goal weight when I do this Ironman, so it truly is a way down the road.)

Okay, more to come.  Stick with us!  We’ve truly turned this into a family effort and I’m feeling exciting about everything the future holds!