By Katlynn Rossignol
The original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers are back to defend the world from evil in “Power Rangers: Once & Always”. When the ranger’s nemesis, Rita Repulsa, destroys Yellow Ranger Trini, it’s up to Billy and Zack to lead the Ranger team. Minh Kwan, Trini’s distraught teenage daughter must learn what it means to be a true hero in order to help her adopted family and save the world.
This special is a treat for long-time fans of the Power Ranger franchise. David Yost and Walter Jones reprise their iconic roles as Billy Cranston and Zack Taylor, the original Blue and Black Rangers. Alongside them are Steve Cardenas, Catherine Sutherland, Karan Ashley, and Johnny Yong Bosch returning as the second generation Red, Pink, Yellow, and Black Power Rangers. The cameos continue with the return of original English-dub voice actors Barbara Goodson, voicing Rita Repulsa, and Richard Steven Horvitz, voicing Alpha-9. The cast does a great job harnessing the chaotic fun of the Power Ranger franchise and incorporating Charlie Kersh as Trini’s daughter, Minh Kwan.
After her mother’s death, Minh Kwan is bitter and attempts to use the power of the Yellow Ranger to enact revenge. This is her main arc and the overall theme of the film, as she must learn that being a true hero means being selfless and putting others’ needs before your own. Meanwhile, Zach and Billy call for help from fellow Rangers Kat and Rocky to rescue their captured friends and stop Rita Repulsa.
The producers of this film were tasked with finding a way of including the full Ranger team without all of their actors able to return. For characters to continue without their actors present, Rita Repulsa’s evil plan involves capturing Power Rangers while they’re still suited up. This allows for stunt doubles to act as the captured Rangers whenever they’re needed on screen.
There is also a touching tribute within the credits, dedicating the movie to Thuy Trang and Jason David Frank, who were the original Yellow and Green Rangers and passed away before the movie’s release.
The film is clearly made to emulate the structure and style of the original “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers” which ran from 1993 to 1996. Classic effects, such as the megazord formation and constant explosions were all recreated shot-for-shot with minor graphical updates. This brings “Power Rangers: Once & Always” a nostalgic charm, but also diminishes the quality of some of its technical aspects. The acting and editing are of television-level quality, making it reminiscent of direct-to-TV-specials, rather than a movie budget production. The TV-special impression is cemented by the film’s meager 55 minutes of runtime, being 40 minutes shorter than the first Power Ranger movie from 1995.
Filled with references to ‘Power Rangers’ sets and stories, I genuinely enjoyed this movie. “Power Rangers: Once & Always” is a playful and fun film that reunites the original cast and continues the story for new fans to discover. Fans who grew up watching “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers” can appreciate the cameos and faithfulness to the show’s atmosphere, while new fans can admire the family-friendly action and zany characters.
I recommend “Power Rangers: Once & Always” to fans of wacky action, kid’s shows and the “Power Rangers” franchise.
“Power Rangers: Once & Always” is now streaming on Netflix.
Katlynn Rossignol is a freshman Communications Major and A&E writer for Cedars. She loves 2D animation, superhero movies and the color pink.
Images courtesy of Netflix