I think everyone was a bit shocked when Lionsgate announced they were resurrecting the Power Rangers movie franchise. Even more so, when Roberto Orci got involved as the project's godfather. Orci has been long since hated and championed for his contributions to the world of cinema. He's partly responsible for The Transformers franchise existing, and boils the blood of beloved film blogger Devin of BadAssDigest. Roberto co-wrote Amazing Spider-Man 2, and his promotion to director on Star Trek 3 has driven fans to panic about the direction the franchise is going. That said, Orci's priority with Trek leaves the creative vision open for Power Rangers according to.
A script is in the works from screenwriting duo Ashley Miller and Zack Stentz, best known for helping to pen X-Men Fist Class and Marvel's Thor. It also has a release date set for July 22nd, 2016. At this point the project is without a creative team, a director and actors to make-up the cast. I have some suggestions on how to make this reboot worth making, and how to ensure it's a badass one.
I have my oown theories on how to move forward without Orci, and steps Lionsgate can do to ensure this franchise is worth rebooting.
I went to Twitter and suggested a director for Power Rangers, who could actually become the next James Gunn. He's got a super stylized vision, like Gunn and similar dark humor. That would be Nova Scotia's Jason Eisener best known for his Canadian grindhouse homage Hobo With A Shotgun. Originally, he won a contest to have his original fake trailer for Hobo to play in front of Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez's Grindhouse (Planet Terror and Death Proof) in certain markets. There was so much interest in the project afterwards, it actually got made.
He's also been apart of the V/H/S horror franchise and directed a couple music videos. Jason for a time was lobbying to direct a reboot of the kids monster movie The Monster Squad (original had a script written Shane Black), but that doesn't to be happening anytime soon.
Jason doesn't scream PG-13 action franchise, but I think that's kind of the point. We're seeing a very interesting trend lately with James Gunn directing a Marvel movie, and digital effects director Tim Miller (mostly known for making game cinematics/trailers) helming Fox's Deadpool. Odd choices for directors that could really pay-off in the end. The coolest part is that Jason agreed with my original suggestion, and tweeted back "sign me up!".
@_ChristopherM sign me the hell up!
— Jason Eisener (@jasoneisener) September 20, 2014
TONE AND ART DEPARTMENT
The original series is actually an American version of Kyōryū Sentai Zyuranger, the 16th installment of the Super Sentai Series (started back in 1975) from Japan. The studio ended-up splicing-in existing footage from the original series, then reshot the rest with Western actors. I'm actually curious if they'll be bringing back villains and characters from the American series or coming-up with all new stuff. I'd love to see those Japanese root explored a bit further, and maybe even it becomes a location in the film.
I grew-up on the show and I felt the look was cheesy and dated, but still the action and design was impressive for what it was. What I'd like to see is a complete overhaul of it's look and tone. Yes, it's for kids but the series originally got into trouble for targeting a younger audience, even though violence is a staple of the show. Maybe, the new film should be pushing the limits of a PG-13 rating. Similar to what Lionsgate has done with their hugely popular Hunger Games franchise.
When it comes to it's look I'd love the world to be a mix of Pacific Rim and Dredd. It seems like the setting of this Power Rangers world would be futuristic. Playing-up on the science-fiction aspect, since they are fighting aliens with karate, laser guns, tech-weapons and giant robots. I think artist Dave Rapoza (his artwork is used at the top) could really help give the franchise a hardened look, similar to what Marvel Studios has been doing with their in-house artists like Andy Park, Ryan Meinerding and Charlie Wen. Rapoza is best known for recreating characters from the 80s and 90s, and shockingly hasn't been snapped-up by Hollywood. Below are some of his redesigns for the Red and Pink rangers. I think if put into this art into a final piece, these could be killer on screen. It should be also noted that Dave's creature design work is fantastic as well, and could make the villains/aliens look a bit more real-world than recent alien designs we've been seeing in movies.
Moving past our visionary, I think we can all agree that music tends to be an important part of a film. Even though Tron Legacy was a hugely visual film (nothing much else was there), the only thing people actually remember and talk about is it's amazing score by Daft Punk. Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross' work with David Fincher on The Social Network, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and Gone Girl have made those films even more atmospheric. I'm hoping that we see a similar move when it comes to putting together the music of Power Rangers.
Jason previously worked with Australian electro-thrash duo Power Glove on Hobo, and have come into their own scoring the wildly popular Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon. Playing-up the connection to the 8-bit culture would be nice a way to call-back to the video games the show spawned. I really dug the Dredd soundtrack for this reason, it was hard pumping but recalled the electronic/synth beats that would most likely populate a futuristic landscape.
In no particular order I'd love to see these actors considered for the main lineup, who actually have a bit of an action background. They include, Anton Yelchin (Like Crazy, Terminator Salvation, Fright Night, Star Trek 1-3), Michael Angarano (Forbidden Kingdom, Knick, Haywire, Red State, English Teacher) , Justin Chon (Revenge of The Green Dragons, 21 And Over, Twilight), Haliee Steinfeld (True Grit, Ender's Game, Barely Lethal, Pitch Perfect 2), Dayo Okeniyi (Hunger Games, Terminator: Gensys, Runner Runner, Spectacular Now) and Rila Fukushima (Arrow, The Wolverine, Long Goodbye).
So, Lionsgate the ball is in your court and we hope you make the right choices here. They could just slap together a rushed project, or actually spend the effort creatively to give audiences a visually stunning and fun experience.