Power Marketing

Yesterday the teaser trailer for 2017’s Power Rangers dropped. Take a look:

Now I am a lifelong Power Rangers fan. I think it’s pretty cool that I am the same age as the franchise. I went to the Power Rangers convention, Power Morphicon. But what I am always hard pressed to find online is anybody writing intelligently about a franchise centered around multicolored teen superheroes fighting monsters with giant robots for half hours at a time.

Oh right. The premise is probably why.

But there’s been something bothering me about the early marketing campaign for Power Rangers that I really want to talk about. The trailer carries many influences on its sleeve; The Breakfast Club and Chronicle for example. I also see shades of last year’s Fantastic Four and Spider-Man. But you know what franchise’s tone I can’t find here? Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.

Remember Mighty Morphin?

It’s all on Netflix in its zany 90s weirdness.

Okay, that scene might be a little too ridiculous for the movie. But what I am saying is that it’s strange for this series to be actively running away from its roots. It isn’t like Power Rangers is trying to appeal to a newer and younger fanbase, because Power Rangers is still on TV. It’s in its 23rd season, which means are still growing up on the same kind of show and it’s still ridiculous.

Power Rangers is an incredibly kinetic series. The characters are always moving, either in action or emotion, but the movie has instead made the baffling decision to release the most static character posters I’ve ever seen.

I can see why they would want to start the campaign by introducing us to our new rangers as all of the actors are relative unknowns. Hell, the original characters from the show were essentially cardboard cutouts so this a chance to redefine them as well. But I don’t know about you but I’m not gleaning anything from these posters. If I didn’t already know what movie I am looking at I would be pretty lost there too. They continued that theme with their next teaser poster.

Hah! Jason doesn’t even get to stand on the car.

Again, the only thing telling you this is a power rangers movie is the hashtag at the bottom of the poster. The teaser trailer referred to this franchise as a “worldwide phenomenon”, So where are the recognizable elements of the franchise? Where are the suits? Where are the giant robots, the zords?

Oh wait, here they are.

And although they only give a fraction of a view of the giant dinosaur themed color coded robots, these are probably the most effective posters the movie has put out. You look at them and you know, yup those are the power rangers. It even says GO GO as a tag line, a call back to the most 90s theme song of all time. These posters can even allow you to gleam a bit of the rangers’ personalities in the ways they relax on their zords, although once again they could do to be a bit more in motion. That being said, after Pacific Rim and Godzilla giant monsters and robots are in vogue right now. Why hide that this movie will have them?

So with all of this rattling in my head, I find myself wondering who they are aiming at with the above teaser trailer. I have talked to a bunch of people who found it appealing. They are all normal socially capable people who have long since moved on from this franchise. It’s only the weird adult fans like myself who are taking umbrage with this. All of this draws me to the most terrifying conclusion of all;

They aren’t making this movie for me.

It’s a fair move to make. Frankly, I was always going to see this movie. So are all of the other grown Power Rangers fans. If this movie wants to hit big it has to draw the attention of those that grew out of the franchise. It’s turned a story of the most good and popular kids in school balancing class and work with saving the world from monsters into a story about a group of outsiders learning to trust in each other, and through that lens trust in themselves, to save the world from an alien (read: mysterious) threat. Or at least that’s what the marketing is saying right now. I wish the movie the best of luck. I’ll be keeping a close eye on it.

– JP

PS, while I find the pacific northwest beautiful I do worry that making Angle Grove a small town instead of a city will take away from the scale of the zord fights.