Saturday, 5 August 2017

Retro Review: Power Rangers 'Day of the Dumpster'

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers 
Season One 
Episode One - 'Day of the Dumpster'

Plot Summary: On another planet within our solar system a pair of astronauts discover a strange metal object, similar to a dumpster. When the astronauts accidentally open the object they're knocked to the ground as strange magical energies are released from within.

The evil aliens Goldar, Finster, Squat, and Baboo are freed from their prison, shortly followed by their leader, the evil space sorceress Rita Repulsa. The astronauts are chased away by Rita's magic before she announces her plan to conquer Earth after her 10,000 year imprisonment.

In the city of Angel Grove five teenagers are hanging out at their local youth centre, Jason, Zack, Trini, Kimberly, and Billy. When Rita launches her attack on Angel Grove from her new palace on the moon the youth centre is hit by an earthquake. Before the five teens can make their way to safety they're swept up in beam of light and teleported away.

They find themselves within the Command Centre of Zordon, an ancient intergalactic warrior trapped in a time warp, and his robotic assistant Alpha-5. Zordon reveals to the teens the existence of Rita, and her plans to conquer the Earth. He tells the group that they have been chosen to become the planets defenders, the Power Rangers.

Zordon gives them their power morphers, devices that will allow them to access enhanced powers and abilities. Unfortunately, the group aren't convinced by Zord and leave the command centre.

Whilst making their way through the desert to Angel Grove the group are attacked by the Putties, Rita's footsoldiers. Despite trying their best to defeat the Putties they're soon overwhelmed and use their power mophers to transform themselves into the Power Rangers for the first time.

After mophing the Rangers are able to overcome the Putties thanks to their enhanced speed, strength, and armoured costumes. Their victory is short lived as they're teleported back to Angel Grove where Rita's lieutenant Goldar is attacking the city with more Putties.

The Rangers defeat the Putties and are about to fight Goldar when Rita uses her magic to make him grow to gigantic proportions. The Rangers summon their Zords to help them fight the now gigantic foe, five robotic vehicles based upon a Tyrannosaurus, a Pterodactyl, a Triceratops, a Sabretooth Tiger, and a Mastodon.

The powerful Zords combine together to form the mighty Mega-Zord, allowing the Rangers to overpower Goldar. Goldar flees the battlefield before the Rangers are able to destroy him. With Angel Grove safe the Rangers return to the Command Centre, where they accept their mission to protect the Earth as the Power Rangers.

Analysis: Power Rangers is definitely a strange show at the beginning of its life, with much of that being evident even here in the first of over 150 episodes. Much of this comes from the mashing together of Japanese and American footage, and whilst in the future this does work a lot better, it's really obvious in this pilot episode where these two meet. The plot suffers as a result of this, and will do for much of the first season, yet still strangely works to provide an effective first episode.

The first episode manages to set up the basics of the characters in its short runtime. It shows us that Jason is the brave leader of the group, that Zach is the joker, Kimberly is the typical 90's valley-girl, Trini is the caring heart of the group, and Billy is the nerdy outcast.

Whilst the characters do go on to have growth and develop as time goes on 'Day of the Dumpster' establishes a strong foundation for them all.

It also establishes Goldar as the intimidating right hand to Rita that will go on to torment the Rangers for years to come. Yes, he runs away at the end of the fight (which he will do a lot), but he's easily the most intimidating of Rita's forces.

Yes, the dialogue is cheesy, the combination of footage shoddy at times and the leaps in logic and plot are all over the place, but there's a massive sense of fun to the show that makes it easy to look past these flaws and see them as something that adds to the charm of the show.

'Day of the Dumpster' is a good introduction to the show, one that sets up a strong foundation for a franchise that is still going strong over two decades later.

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