Release Date(s)2017 (June 27, 2017)
- Film/Program Grade: C+
- Video Grade: A+
- Audio Grade: A+
- Extras Grade: B+
Long ago, in the Cenozoic era, a team of Power Rangers, led by the Red Ranger (Bryan Cranston), are attempting to protect life on Earth when they’re betrayed by one of their own, the Green Ranger, aka Rita Repulsa (Elizabeth Banks). She plans to steal the Power Coins, which are the source of the Rangers’ power, and use them to conquer the Universe. The Red Ranger defeats Rita, but only at the cost of his own life, and all trace of the Coins and the Rangers are buried. 65 million years later, in the present day, a group of high schoolers in what is now Angel Grove, California, find the buried Power Coins, which lead them to the former Rangers’ buried spaceship. Soon, the kids learn that they’re destined to become the new Power Rangers and not a moment too soon. It seems that Rita’s body has been found at the bottom of the ocean and now she’s come back to life, determined to complete her original plan. So these misfit teens must quickly learn the ways of the Rangers, and each other, in order to unite against Rita and save the Earth.
I’ll be honest right up front here: I was not a fan of the original Mighty Morphing Power Rangers TV series from the 1990s, upon which this film is based, nor the original Japanese Super Sentai TV franchise from the 1970s and 80s. That’s not a comment on the quality of either; they were campy kids shows, to be sure, but if you were a kid at the time I can certainly understand their appeal. But at the time Power Rangers fandom was at its height here in the States, I was already in college, so it just wasn’t on my radar screen. All that said… again, I can see the appeal of this film. The writing and direction aren’t likely to win any awards here, but this is a cute superhero-style actioner, good-natured popcorn fun for the young-at-heart. If you were a fan of those original series, or you’re the right young age to be captivated by this story anew, it’s probably a gas to see the franchise adapted for the big screen with state-of-the-art visual effects. Saban’s live action Power Rangers is a perfectly fine way to spend a Saturday afternoon with your kids, either at the cineplex or at home.
Power Rangers was shot digitally using RED Epic Dragon cameras in Redcode RAW format at between 4 and 6K. The film was finished as a 4K Digital Intermediate and High Dynamic Range color grades for both HDR10 and Dolby Vision were completed for this Ultra HD release. Lionsgate’s disc presents the film in full native 4K (2160p) at the 2.39:1 theatrical aspect ratio. It looks phenomenal. This is clearly a reference-quality 4K presentation. The contrast is incredible, with deep, dark blacks, an extraordinary range of surface textures, shimmering reflectivity, and bright but detailed highlights. The colors are rich and luminous in HDR10, which is the standard HDR option, but if your player and display support Dolby Vision it will default to that automatically. Dolby Vision gives you just that little bit more pop, a bit more nuance in subtle color shadings, a hair more visual oomph. It’s not a dramatic difference, but, as has long been the case with the difference between DTS and Dolby Digital, there will be those who prefer and appreciate it. And this is certainly the title to highlight HDR, what with all the bold coloring apparent in the Power Rangers’ individual armor and “Dinozord” vehicles.
The default audio is English Dolby Atmos, which is compatible with 7.1 Dolby True HD systems, along with regular 5.1 Dolby Digital in Spanish and French, an English 2.0 Dolby Digital mix optimized for late night viewing, and English Descriptive Audio. Subtitles include English SDH and Spanish. The Atmos mix is also reference-quality, with incredible sonic range, smooth and immersive staging, lively panning and surround play, superb clarity and detail, and muscular and aggressive low end. The overhead channels are surprisingly active, more so than in almost any other object-based mix I’ve heard yet. This is true not just for explosive battle sounds, but little atmospheric cues too. Whatever else you may think of the film, this is an amazing A/V presentation.
I continue to love the fact that Lionsgate actually bothers to author their 4K discs with extras, which here include (all in HD):
- Audio Commentary (with director Dean Israelite and writer Jon Gatins)
- The Power of the Present documentary (9 parts – 140:09 in all)
- Deleted, Alternate, and Extended Scenes (18 total – 33:43 in all)
- Outtakes (3:42)
- Theatrical Trailer (with optional director commentary – 2:19)
All of these features are present (along with the film in HD) on the Blu-ray Disc included in this package. Note that you also get a Digital HD copy code on a paper insert. Easily the highlight of these special features is the terrific feature-length documentary on the making of the film, which was produced and directed by our old friend Cliff Stephenson. Not only does it cover the production process in impressive detail, it pays attention to the origins and purpose of the story; how and why the original Power Rangers TV series inspired a generation of kids, and what the filmmakers wanted to tap into for their big screen adaptation. Virtually every key member of the cast and crew gets time to share their input and experiences. Bottom line: If you like this film at all, you’ll love this documentary. Hell, even if you don’t care for the film, this doc is still worth your time.
Power Rangers has a very specific audience, but that audience should really enjoy this film. For anyone else, your mileage will vary. But even if you’re not a fan of Power Rangers, there is no doubt whatsoever that this is a reference-worthy 4K Ultra HD presentation. If all you want is 4K eye-candy that really shows off your home theater system, especially if you’ve upgraded to Dolby Atmos sound and a Dolby Vision-ready display, here’s your disc.
- Bill Hunt