I recently went to see the 2017 Power Rangers movie, and I had an awesome time with it. The Power Rangers have always been a huge deal to 90’s kids, but my only real attachment to the series is the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie game on the Super Nintendo. Having said that, it’s odd how much I knew was going on in the film, given my limited knowledge of Power Rangers. They are so ingrained in 90’s pop culture, that I was extremely familiar with all of the tropes and terms that are associated with the series.
My primary thought during my time with Power Rangers (again, as somewhat of an outsider to the series) was, “man, this movie really gets it.” Basically, I felt like the movie captured what I personally considered to be the essence of the Power Rangers, but with a modern twist, so much so that I actually got pretty excited when they played the classic theme song.
The movie can be very 90’s at times. There’s plenty of cheese, cheeky one-liners, campy humor and fight scenes that feel like modern renditions of the Power Rangers’s classic fight scenes. It knows it’s a silly concept, and has fun with it. It’s very self aware, but never so much so that it detracts from the quality of the story.
For all of the laughs and humor that Power Rangers 2017 aims to provide, it also takes the time to lay the groundwork for an engaging story (as well as the eventual sequels). I really grew to love this new cast of teenagers, and I’m actually genuinely excited for the next installment.
My overall feelings of Power Rangers 2017 are very reminiscent of the ones I have for Michael Bay’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles films, and to a lesser extent, Transformers. These movies have their haters, plenty of them in fact, but I’ll always defend the TMNT films as legitimate homages to the franchise. Unlike Power Rangers, I did grow up loving the Turtles and their various incarnations, and I consider myself to be pretty familiar with their story and personalities.
The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have always been silly, and they’ve always been an incredibly 90’s franchise. The 2014 TMNT movie has a fairly decent story, but great characters, action and humor (especially the elevator scene). In a similar vein to Power Rangers 2017, the Turtles felt much like how I remembered them being.
The overarching theme between the modern versions of the Power Rangers and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is their embrace of their 90’s and late 80’s heritage. The 90’s are often looked at as a pretty divisive time. Some people cringe at the extremely in your face, and rebellious nature of the 90’s, while many other absolutely love it, big pants, neon colors and all.
As far as the Turtles and the Power Rangers are concerned, many of the complaints that their classic versions receive come from them being style over substance. They’re super charming, and have memorable moments and characters in spades, but many people argue that they didn’t have any real appeal if you weren’t in the target demographic (this is why these shows are negatively referred to as glorified commercials).
This is something I’ve wanted Sonic the Hedgehog to embrace for a couple of years now, but I couldn’t really put it into words until I saw Power Rangers 2017. For some time now, I’ve been saying that I want Sonic games to become like Pixar movies, similar to modern Ratchet & Clank games. In short, this means fun and high energy stories, likeable characters, and engaging stories, and to be fair, the series has been trying to do this at least since 1998’s Sonic Adventure.
Ever since then, the story in Sonic games have become increasingly important, and while many of them have had various levels of quality, I do think there are some genuinely good ones in there. I love the stories of Sonic Unleashed and Sonic Colors, and as weird as this is gonna sound, I really feel that Sonic & The Black Knight has the best written story of any Sonic game. But I guess I forgot that Sonic the Hedgehog is a 90’s property, and maybe even Sega themselves did too.
Sonic the Hedgehog is the embodiment of what defined the 90’s. He’s got plenty of attitude, lives by his own set of rules, and mocks anything slow or boring (even the famous Italian plumber himself). Somewhere along the lines however, Sonic started to get away from this. He lost a bit of his attitude, and became more of a standard hero character.
The past couple of years have seen Sega and Sonic going back to the ideas that made the hedgehog famous in the first place (especially the Twitter account). 2010 saw the entire voice cast of the series being replaced, save for Mike Pollock’s Dr. Eggman. And ever since then, Sonic has been much closer to his older, 90’s self. He’s got tons of snark and attitude, and dialogue from games like Sonic Colors wouldn’t feel at all out of place in Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog.
As awesome as Sonic Colors is, the game’s that followed represent the inverse of what I said about the modern versions of Power Rangers and TMNT. Sonic Generations, Sonic Lost World and the entirety of Sonic Boom are all jokes and no substance. To be completely fair, this works in the case of Sonic Boom, as this was its entire premise, and there have been some legitimate deep references that only hardcore fans would pick up on, as well as plenty of jabs at the history of the series.
But in the case of the main series, the constant onslaught of jokes has started to fall flat. Moving forward, I would love for Sonic to follow the trend set by Power Rangers 2017. I’ll say it again, that movie has a really good story, tons of humor and unabashedly embraces the 90’s. Sonic stories have embraced the 90’s as well, they just need to work on the substance factor.
I don’t wanna be the guy that asks for deeper stories in my Sonic games, but if they are going to be there, I at least want them to be well written. In summation, my ideal Sonic story would be something that has the tone and plot of Sonic Unleashed or Sonic & The Black Knight, but the self aware humor of modern Power Rangers, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, or even other Sonic games like Colors and Lost World.