Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Once & Always Review

TITLE: Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Once & Always
STARRING:
David Yost, Walter Emanuel Jones, Steve Cardenas, Catherine Sutherland, Charlie Kersh
WRITERS: 
Becca Barnes, Alwyn Dale
DIRECTOR: Charlie Haskell
PREMIERE DATE: 
April 19, 2023
SYNOPSIS: 
Tragedy strikes when Rita Repulsa returns in robot form.

New around here? Check out the Power Rangers review archive!

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Let’s, first and foremost, come at Once & Always with gratitude. We’ve had anniversary episodes featuring past Rangers before. Super Megaforce was even an entire season dedicated to the history of the Power Rangers franchise (albeit one that was ill-executed). But this is the first time we’ve gotten an extended anniversary special dedicated to the characters and lore of Power Rangers. The folks at Hasbro and Power Rangers were by no means obligated to give us something like this. But they cared enough about the show and the fans to give us something that’s never been done before. For that, they deserve our thanks and appreciation.

Let’s also be thankful for the actors and performers who not only agreed to return, but in most cases agreed to fly out to New Zealand (where the show is filmed) for an extended period of time. It’s been well documented that, despite quickly becoming the biggest kids show in the world, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers wasn’t always kind to its actors. Relatively minuscule pay mixed with grueling filming schedules (and in David Yost’s case, something far worse) meant the actors weren’t left with memories nearly as positive as those of us watching at home. But again, for the fans, they agreed to come back.

Nevertheless, conspicuous by their absence are Austin St. John (who played Jason, the original Red Ranger) and Amy Jo Johnson (Kimberly, the original Pink Ranger). I can only assume St. John would have been involved if not for the legal trouble he wound up in, which would have prevented him from traveling to New Zealand for filming. He did, after all, just come back for an episode a few years ago. I’ll reserve my judgment about his legal situation for after he has his day in court. But regardless, it sucks he’s not involved here. He was arguably the face of the show during its first season.

Johnson, unfortunately, got flack from some in the fanbase for not coming back. The accusation was that her decision came down to money. She eventually went on Twitter and addressed it. Again, it sucks that she’s not here. Johnson is as responsible for the show’s popularity as anyone else. She is, however, writing a Power Rangers comic book for BOOM! Studios this year. I’m very interested to see what she turns in.

Once & Always is dedicated to the memory of Thuy Trang and Jason David Frank. Trang played Trini, the original Yellow Ranger. She was tragically killed in a car crash in 2001. The episode is largely centered around her character, as we’ll dive into shortly. It’s beautiful that the show is paying tribute to her this way. It’s overdue, quite frankly. She was, by all accounts, a kind and gentle soul who was taken from us too soon.

Jason David Frank, who played Tommy Oliver on the show for a number of years and different incarnations, tragically took his own life last November. His is a loss that many fans, my self included, are still trying to process. Frank had apparently opted out of participating in this 30th anniversary special. But his presence is inevitably felt when you go back and look at the early years of Power Rangers. In truth, this special makes me miss him that much more.

The redux version of Ron Wasserman’s “Go Go Power Rangers” plays during the episode’s opening fight sequence. Wasserman, of course, did the music in the early days of MMPR, and composed the show’s iconic theme song. He doesn’t compose any more rock songs. But having him work on this special still brings it extremely valuable credibility. To say we’re lucky to have him back is an understatement.

Hearing characters use the word “kill” in a Power Rangers show takes some getting used to. “She killed mom,” etc. Historically, the show has always used words like “destroy” instead of kill.

We see Trini take a blast from Robo-Rita that was meant for Billy. As a result, she falls off a nearby cliff to her death. My initial impulse was to be turned off by this. We didn’t need to actually see Trini die, after all. But I’ve come around on it. She goes out like a hero, saving Billy, who she always had a special bond with on the show. This is as good a way as any to write the character off.

It sounds like they used archived dialogue from MMPR to lend voices to Trini, Kimberly, and Tommy in their morphed forms. A wise move. Mysteriously, the only one who doesn’t sound like himself is Jason.

Billy: “It’s always just been [Minh] and Trini. She doesn’t have anybody else.” I wondered how they were going to handle the question of Minh’s father. Fitting for a special aimed at adult Power Rangers fans, they went a slightly more mature route and made Trini a single mom. We can probably presume that Minh’s father didn’t want to be in the picture. What’s more, perhaps Trini’s family disowned her after she got pregnant out of wedlock. Thus, the idea that it’s always been just the two of them.

We quickly see that Zack took over raising Minh after Trini’s death. I love that. It adds a whole new dimension to Zack’s character. Minh even alludes to Zack being a former congressman! Well that’s a move I didn’t see coming. Apparently he’s been back from Aquitar for awhile now…

One year after Trini’s death, Robo-Rita returns with robotic versions of her old monsters the Minotaur and Snizzard. I’m a little curious as to why they went with those two monsters specifically. I can only assume they picked Snizzard because he was famously voiced by Bryan Cranston. But why the Minotaur? There are plenty of monsters more famous and synonymous with the show. Pudgy Pig, Eye Guy, and King Sphinx come to mind immediately.

Actually, had they not just used a version of Goldar in Beast Morphers, I’d have had them use robotic versions of Goldar and Rito Revolto.

It quickly becomes apparent that Once & Always isn’t here to impress us with dramatic acting chops. Which, at least to me, is fine. Power Rangers has had some really good actors. But it’s never been what I’d call an actor’s show. Plus, let’s remember that most of our stars haven’t done a lot of acting since their days on Power Rangers. The acting is a flaw in the special. But it doesn’t doom it.

Robo-Minotaur smashes a tombstone that says “Harvey Garvey.” That’s an Easter egg referring to the Rangers appearing on “The Harvey Garvey” show back in season two. Cute.

Robo-Rita refers to Billy by his last name, Cranston. It’s always been generally accepted by fans that Cranston is Billy’s last name. But to my knowledge, this is the first time the name has actually been used in the show.

We go to Cranston Tech, a building that’s clearly modeled after the old Command Center/Power Chamber. On a lower level, we see a large room designed similarly to the Rangers’ original home base. We also meet Alpha 9. Not Alpha 5, as the casting of Richard Horvitz, Alpha’s original voice actor, seemed to suggest. I suppose we can finally take this as confirmation that Alpha 5 has been destroyed. If they were ever going to bring him back, now was the time.

We learn that prior to Trini’s death, it was Billy (along with Alpha 8) who accidentally created Robo-Rita by reassembling her evil energy while attempting to bring back Zordon. They specifically use the phrase “Z-Wave” when referring to Zordon’s sacrifice. Like the Cranston name, I think this marks the first time that phrase has been used in an official capacity.

I like the idea of Billy trying to bring Zordon back. He, as much as anyone, had an emotional attachment to the character. And by standards, it makes enough sense as a way to bring Rita back.

Katherine’s first line in the episode is a reference to “JJ’s junior karate camp.” We know from Ninja Steel that Tommy has a son named JJ. Then later, Kat directly references Tommy as JJ’s father. Thus, we get official in-show confirmation that Tommy and Kat have a son together. We can probably assume they’re married, as Kat is wearing a wedding ring. (Though that might simply be a matter of Catherine Sutherland not taking her wedding ring off.)

As she’s taking her proxy Power Coin, Katherine says: “I don’t care how dangerous too much pink energy is.” That’s a reference to a famously silly line Zordon has in “Wild West Rangers, Part II.” Nice little fandom hat-tip there.

We don’t get a Bulk and Skull appearance in Once & Always. But we do get a blatant reference to them, complete with pictures, in the “Skullovitch & Bulkmeyer Bulk Food Co.” sign. A nice allusion to the show’s classic comedic duo. If we weren’t going to actually see Bulk and Skull in the special, they had to do something to at least acknowledge them.

The recreation of the old juice bar set is glorious. I’m sure it’s not a perfect one. But it’s good enough to get high marks from this MMPR buff. Amazing work.

In a neat little trivia note for fans, they clearly used Lightning Collection action figures to represent the captured Rangers in Robo-Rita’s machine. Based on what the special shows us, in addition to the three Mighty Morphin Rangers, she’s captured…

  • Tanya, the Yellow Ranger from Zeo.
  • The Phantom Ranger from Turbo.
  • Ashley and Carlos, the Yellow and Black Rangers from in Space.
  • Leo (Red) Damon (Green), and Kai (Blue) from Lost Galaxy.
  • Merrick, the Lunar Wolf Ranger from Wild Force.
  • Conner and Trent, the Red and White Rangers from Dino Thunder.
  • Ravi (Blue), Devon (Red), and Nate (Gold) from Beast Morphers.

Barbara Goodson returns as the voice of Rita Repulsa. As expected, she’s pitch-perfect. For my money, if they couldn’t get her, there was no point in even using the Rita Repulsa character. Goodson is that important, and that good.

Much like its acting chops, Once & Always clearly isn’t here to impress us with special effects. I refer specifically to how the Megazord and giant Snizzard look. I’d have preferred to see them use physical costumes. That’s how the show did it, after all. That being said, the CGI Dinozord unearthing sequence looked pretty amazing, as did the transformation into the Megazord. Clearly done with a lot of care, and definitely a step up from what we usually get on the show.

Adam and Aisha’s roles in this episode are fairly small. Apparently the characters are now part of a group called SPA, an offshoot of SPD. Apparently they oversee other Ranger teams throughout the galaxy…? It’s never made quite clear. But it’s still great to see Johnny Yong Bosch and Karan Ashley return to the franchise.

The use of old Trini footage just before Minh morphed into the Yellow Ranger for the first time was very effective. As was the use of the season two footage of Amy Jo singing to the team. Honestly? Both nearly brought a tear to my eye…

There are a few unanswered questions here, not the least of which being when the Rangers got their powers back and became an active team again. But all in all, Once & Always was exactly what I wanted it to be. The nostalgia hand was definitely played. But the characters were also advanced, and the use of Power Rangers lore was in full effect. Is it perfect? No. But neither is Power Rangers itself. Once & Always has a beautiful soul to it. More than anything, that’s what I came away thinking about.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Power Rangers Dino Fury, “Bad Vibes” Review

Garcia family, Power Rangers Dino Fury, Bad VibesSERIES: Power Rangers Dino Fury

EPISODE: S29:E19 – “Bad Vibes”
STARRING: Russell Curry, Hunter Deno, Kai Moya, Tessa Rao, Chance Perez, Jordan Fite
WRITERS: Becca Barnes, Alwyn Dale, Johnny Hartmann
DIRECTOR: Charlie Haskell
PREMIERE DATE: September 29, 2022

SYNOPSIS: Izzy and Javi are turned against the Rangers as part of an evil plan.

New around here? Check out the Power Rangers review archive!

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

I didn’t expect Wreckmate to stick around as long as he has. I suppose that’s why I haven’t appreciated him as much as I perhaps should have. Heck, he’s a pirate monster! What’s not to like? Also John Leigh, his voice actor, does a great job with the character.

Is “evil Javi” lowering his register in the scene with Void Queen? If so, why? Is he channeling his inner Darth Vader? I wonder if they told him to do that. What’s all the more odd is that he only does it in that scene.

So anybody who uses Dino Master Mode gets to wear the spiffy cape, huh? That’s kinda cool. It’s not just something for the Red or Gold Ranger.

Amelia makes a crack about Clawfare, this episode’s monster (shown below left), looking like a doctor in the white coat. Me? I kind of love the look.

Clawfare, Void King, Power Rangers Dino Fury, Bad Vibes

Izzy and Javi’s love for their parents breaks the evil spell. That’s kinda sweet. Not the spin you usually get for that kind of thing. Especially when you consider we never met any Ranger parents during certain seasons.

When the Garcia family all come together on stage to sing, watch J-Borg in the background. Victoria Abbott is hamming it up with some stiff, robotic arm waving.

But Void Queen is kind of…booby, isn’t she? It’s easy to gloss over when you consider it’s just a costume. But yeah, they’re out there.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Power Rangers Dino Fury, “Guilt Trip” Review

SERIES: Power Rangers Dino Fury

EPISODE: S29:E18 – “Guilt Trip”
STARRING: Russell Curry, Hunter Deno, Kai Moya, Tessa Rao, Chance Perez, Jordan Fite
WRITERS: Becca Barnes, Alwyn Dale, Maiya Thompson
DIRECTOR: Charlie Haskell
PREMIERE DATE: September 29, 2022

SYNOPSIS: Void Queen’s forces try and divide the Rangers’ attention across the globe.

New around here? Check out the Power Rangers review archive!

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Ollie and Amelia are looking to book a stay at the Stine Hotel, which is supposedly haunted. I can only assumed that’s named after famed kids horror author R.L. Stine.

I wonder how much mileage they got out of that gag with the “bird poop” on Ollie’s mom. You think the little kids laughed at that? Hmm…

It’s always nice to see the actors on different sets and in different environments, i.e. something other than the usual locations. Dinohenge, Buzzblast, etc. The set they came up with for Osaka, Japan, seems a little on-the-nose as far as the look of the little buildings, the paper lanterns, etc. But I suppose they have to get the point across to the little kids, right? I appreciated the lab set too.

Sugarhit, the monster in this episode, throws pies and tries to lure the Rangers into a trap using a giant meringue shell. That’s not quite as cheesy as the Rangers getting baked into a giant pizza back in Turbo. But it’s close.

Either way, this show is gloriously ridiculous.

Javi before a fight with Sugarhit: “Let’s pound this cake!” That…is not a line I would have used. Let’s just say that. Let’s just say the double entendres aren’t fit for a young audience.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Power Rangers Dino Fury, “Tiny Trouble” Review

Baby Pacha, Power Rangers Dino Fury, Tiny TroubleSERIES: Power Rangers Dino Fury
EPISODE:
S29:E4 – “Tiny Trouble”
STARRING:
Russell Curry, Hunter Deno, Kai Moya, Tessa Rao, Chance Perez, Jordan Fite
WRITERS:
Becca Barnes, Alwyn Dale, Maiya Thompson
DIRECTOR: Charlie Haskell
PREMIERE DATE:
March 3, 2022
SYNOPSIS:
The Rangers feud with Void Knight’s forces over a miniaturized zord.

New around here? Check out the Power Rangers review archive!

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

The balloon exercise Zayto had the team doing at the beginning of the episode was another nice look at the Rangers in training. It was creative and a good visual.

The Pacha zord wanders into the scene, and the Rangers learn it’s shrunk over millions of years. I don’t love the idea of a zord, even a tiny one, just wandering around the city waiting to be found. Isn’t that what Pokemon do? I’ve never been a Pokemon guy, so I don’t even have a clue.

Still, I almost wouldn’t mind Pacha staying small and acting like a pet for the Rangers. Why the heck not, right?

Hold on a minute, zords can reproduce? Like, that’s literally the line Ollie said. “Zords can reproduce.” Can we define “reproduce” for our purposes? How does that work exactly? I’m not even sure I buy it…

Blue Ranger Smash Battle Armor, Power Rangers Dino Fury, Tiny Trouble

I dig the Smash Battle Armor. It looks tailor-made to make toys out of. Almost like the Power Rangers equivalent to Hulk Hands. Doesn’t look like they make ’em, though. Seems like a missed opportunity.

I will say though, that once they got into the zord fight, they went a little too heavy on the boxing bit. I’m mainly talking about these two giants fighting in a boxing ring made up with power lines in the middle of the city. A little too much for my taste.

Santaura, our mysterious woman who’s been in stasis, finally wakes up at the end of the episode. Great closing shot with the eyes popping open, the contact lenses, etc. I was originally hoping they’d close the first season with a shot like that. But it’s every bit as effective here.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Power Rangers Dino Fury, “Missing Pieces” Review

Zayto, Ollie, Izzy, Power Rangers Dino Fury, Missing PiecesSERIES: Power Rangers Dino Fury
EPISODE:
S29:E3  – “Missing Pieces”
STARRING:
Russell Curry, Hunter Deno, Kai Moya, Tessa Rao, Chance Perez, Jordan Fite
WRITERS:
Becca Barnes, Alwyn Dale, Maiya Thompson, Guy Langford
DIRECTOR: Charlie Haskell
PREMIERE DATE:
March 3, 2022
SYNOPSIS: 
Slyther tampers with the Rangers’ memories. Meanwhile, the search for Rafkon continues.

New around here? Check out the Power Rangers review archive!

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

So the best thing they could come up with for Slyther’s memory-tampering amulet was a steering wheel? Aw c’mon, prop department…

The T-Rex Cosmic Megazord makes the Dino Fury team one of the more travel-capable teams we’ve ever had. Obviously it can open portals to the far reaches of space and different dimensions. But who knows what else it can do, or where else it can go? The possibilities are intriguing.

“No, my dignity!” was one of Slyther’s more amusing exclamations. He’s like the villainous equivalent to Izzy in that he always gets the best lines.

Void Knight, Power Rangers Dino Fury, Missing Pieces

Really cool to see Void Knight mix it up with the Rangers, albeit briefly. That’s not always something you see from a lead villain. Also, it puts him over as a formidable opponent.

It’s interesting to me how the monsters in Dino Fury, like Wreckmate and Occulo, stick around for awhile. They aren’t simply destroyed in their debut episode, monster-of-the-week style.

I found myself legitimately intrigued by the mystery of what happened to Rafkon. It’s not often an entire planet disappears, after all.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Power Rangers Dino Fury, “McScary Manor” Review

Amelia, Hunter Deno, Power Rangers Dino FurySERIES: Power Rangers Dino Fury
TITLE: S28:E11. “McScary Manor”
STARRING: Russell Curry, Hunter Deno, Kai Moya, Tessa Rao, Chance Perez
WRITERS: Becca Barnes, Alwyn Dale, Johnny Hartmann
DIRECTOR: Charlie Haskell
ORIGINAL AIR DATE: June 15, 2021
SYNOPSIS: Amelia goes hunting for ghosts, but finds Void Knight’s latest monster instead.

New around here? Check out the Power Rangers review archive!

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Amelia’s Pop-Pop: “I worked at Area 62 – saw all kinds of crazy stuff.” File that away. Something tells me that little detail will come back to haunt us…no pun intended.

“McScary Manor,” the episode’s title, sounds like a place you’d find Ronald McDonald around Halloween. Like in one of those commercials with the Hamburglar, Grimace, etc.

Amelia’s fascination with the ghosts and the paranormal has been a nice, consistent character trait. The characterization on Dino Fury has been pretty good, thus far. Everybody seems to have their ground to cover.

Nice little fight sequence with Tombtress and Amelia. Having Amelia’s hands restrained made for a nice twist.

Pink Ranger, Power Rangers Dino Fury

Javi: “I just love how good at posing we are!” Dino Fury is pretty good at self-referential humor. Not quite as good as R.P.M. was, but still pretty good.

When the Rangers are at BuzzBlast, Zayto is discreet when he tells the others there’s been no sign of Tombtress. I appreciate that, as it seems like one of the few times the Rangers have actually tried to protect their secret identities in this series…

Not only does Amelia live with Pop-Pop, but her parents were lost in some “pretty mysterious circumstances” when she was a baby. Yet another detail to file away.

I knew Tombtress sounded familiar. She’s voiced by Kira Josephson, who plays Jane.

Always keep an eye on those end credits. You never know whose name is going to pop up. Case in point: Jason Smith, who played the Red Ranger in Power Rangers Jungle Fury, voiced a monster earlier in the season.

This was a good episode, particularly for Amelia. Not only did we get some great character stuff, but she got to pilot the Megazord and lead the team in saving the day.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Power Rangers Dino Fury, “Phoning Home” Review

Slyther, Power Rangers Dino FurySERIES: Power Rangers Dino Fury
TITLE: S28:E10. “Phoning Home”
STARRING: Russell Curry, Hunter Deno, Kai Moya, Tessa Rao, Chance Perez
WRITERS: Becca Barnes, Alwyn Dale, Guy Langford, Maiya Thompson
DIRECTOR: Charlie Haskell
ORIGINAL AIR DATE: June 15, 2021
SYNOPSIS: Void Knight’s new general impersonates someone from Zayto’s home planet.

New around here? Check out the Power Rangers review archive!

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Void Knight: “Who cares about colors? We’re not Power Rangers!” That feels like something a non-PowerRangers fan must have said to one of the writers at some point.

Slyther, Void Knight’s new general, is really charming. His tendency to call his own moves during a fight is a fun quirk, and the vocal performance by Campbell Cooley is delightfully cheesy.

We see via flashback that dogs on Zayto’s homeworld also have those flesh-colored antennae. That should really count as animal abuse. Give the dog some dignity, will ya?

Amelia gets a communication from Zayto about training…right in front of the camera crew. Wish they’d cleared out the extras for that shot.

Nice to see the Rangers training. Small complaint: I wish they could have been in some sort of active wear, as opposed to their standard civilian garb.

Training, Power Rangers Dino Fury

There’s a nice little reference to Levi Weston, the Gold Ninja Steel Ranger, in this episode. Little details like that are awesome.

I didn’t know Solon could fight. Certainly not the most fluid movements I’ve ever seen. But still, that’s kinda cool.

Wait…the Rangers don’t know how to summon their zords without Solon’s help? I’m gonna let that slide because we’re still early in the series. But c’mon now, guys…

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Power Rangers Dino Fury, “Cut Off” Review

SERIES: Power Rangers Dino Fury
TITLE: S28:E9. “Cut Off”
STARRING: Russell Curry, Hunter Deno, Kai Moya, Tessa Rao, Chance Perez
WRITERS: Becca Barnes, Alwyn Dale, Guy Langford, Maiya Thompson
DIRECTOR: Charlie Haskell
ORIGINAL AIR DATE: June 15, 2021
SYNOPSIS: Ollie takes too much technology on a camping trip. Then, Void Knight cuts the Rangers off from their tech.

New around here? Check out the Power Rangers review archive!

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Episodes 9, 10, and 11 of Dino Fury are the first episodes of Power Rangers to premiere on Netflix, along with the eight episodes that had already aired on Nickelodeon. I’m curious as to why those last three episodes hadn’t aired beforehand. Still, it makes for a nice little mini-binge.

What’s more, apparently season two of Dino Fury will be exclusive to Netflix. As someone who’s been having a lot of fun following the series on a week-by-week basis again, I’ve got mixed feelings about that. But you certainly can’t argue with the distribution Netflix has. And if it turns out to be good for the show overall, then I can’t complain. It may just take some getting used to.

When the Rangers realize they’re cut off from their tech, Amelia says she’ll “call the old fashioned way,” and goes to find her smartphone. As an adult fan who was around before the age of the iPhone, that line makes me feel old.

So the premise is that the Rangers are “miles from the city,” and can’t teleport in case Void Knight launches an attack. I appreciate that Zayto brought up the fact that they could walk there, despite how long it would take. I was ready for them to simply stay stuck in the forest until they found a solution.

They literally built a giant crossbow to fire Ollie’s arrow at the big tech-blocking balloon. Pure insanity, and I kinda love it.

Based on their interaction in this episode, I’m convinced we’ve got an Ollie/Amelia romance coming our way. I mean, why not?

So…where was Zayto going with the “Why did the chicken cross the road?” joke? Especially if he didn’t know what the punchline was? Not the most important detail in the world. But it’s nagging at me.

Right before the zord battle starts, Ollie says that the bird monster is about to be “all out of cluck.” *cringes* Really? You sure about that?

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Power Rangers Dino Fury: “Sporix Unleashed” Review

SERIES: Power Rangers Dino Fury
EPISODE: S28:E2. “Sporix Unleashed”
STARRING: Russell Curry, Hunter Deno, Kai Moya, Shavaughn Ruakere, Kira Josephson
WRITERS: Becca Barnes, Alwyn Dale
DIRECTOR: Charlie Haskell
ORIGINAL AIR DATE: February 27, 2021
SYNOPSIS: Ollie devises a plan to catch the Sporix monsters on the loose, and executes it without the knowledge of his teammates.

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

I’ve got a beef with modern day morphs: They’re way too wordy. It goes, “It’s morphin’ time! Dino Fury key, activate! Link to Morphing Grid!” C’mon, folks. We’ve only got about 22 minutes here. Let’s move things along…

Also, link to Morphing Grid? I suppose that’s practical. But much like “Activate Beast Power!” in Beast Morphers, it’s not very creative. What’s the deal? If you can’t think if something quick and catchy for them to say, just stick with “It’s morphin’ time!”

I suppose I’m just old, but the notion of drones being used on Power Rangers is quaint to me. It’s a good thing, though. The more this show can keep up with the times, the better.

When Zayto, who’s been asleep since prehistoric times, asks where all the dinosaurs are, Amelia says: “Well, they’re mostly in the movies.” Mostly. I love that. Nice subtle nod to…you know…28 years of continuity.

Hartford Robotics, Jane, Power Rangers Dino Fury, Sporix Unleashed

Power Rangers Operation Overdrive doesn’t get a lot of love. Simply put, it wasn’t very good. That being said, I did enjoy the small Overdrive reference in this episode. During the scene at Buzz Blast, “Hartford Robotics” is printed on the box the android comes in (shown above). That kind of thing is cute, harmless, presumably easy to do, and fans get a kick out of it.

So the henchgirl’s name is Mucus. Again, I’ve got to call them out for lack of creativity on this one. Was Phlegm taken? I do like that she can turn into green slime, though.

While I’m not a fan of the morphing call, the CGI portion of the morph sequence is pretty awesome. I can’t bring myself to complain about that.

Thus far the music, composed by Bert Selen, really adds a lot to Dino Fury. It’s heavily synthesized, which I’m sure isn’t for everybody. But it gives the show a particular flavor, and the heavy percussion adds a lot to the fight sequences.

The “toyification” of Power Rangers, which many see as the show’s entire purpose for existing, is in full effect here. The Rangers have swords with a t-rex head on the hilt, and can manipulate the jaw to do various super-powered stuff. Are they selling that sword at Wal-Mart yet? Even as an adult, I’ve got to admit it’s pretty cool.

I saw some fans on Twitter were happy to see the Rangers teleporting. Frankly, it’s hard to believe teleportation ever left Power Rangers. During the first several years of its existence, it was a big part of the show’s DNA.

You know what would be nice? If Ollie’s mom figured out he was a Power Ranger. Not because he told her, but because she…you know…recognized her own son’s voice and body language. I don’t expect characters on a kids show to be that competent. But this woman is supposed to be a brilliant scientist, right?

I hope kids get a kick out of the zords they see on Power Rangers. Because as an adult, they generally don’t do much for me. All the CGI that’s been integrated into zord sequences for the better part of 20 years now muddies them all together, making them less distinct.

That said, the T-Rex Champion Zord looked pretty good. The CGI and practical effects were blended together fairly well. By modern zord standards, it scores high.

Well how about that? The Rangers are, in essence, using crowdsourcing as their monster alert system. Civilians can call, text, or DM Sporix sightings to the Rangers. I like that a lot, and I don’t believe anything like it has been done before.

Void Knight and Mucus (shown above) are using an abandoned base called “Area 62” as their lair. I’ve got no issues with that. Obviously it’s a take-off of Area 51. It does, however, make me wonder what happened to Areas 52-61…

Dino Fury has come out of the gate strong. I’m mostly pleased with what I’ve seen so far. I’m legit looking forward to the next episode!

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

 

Power Rangers Dino Fury, “Destination Dinohenge” Review

SERIES: Power Rangers Dino Fury
EPISODE: S28.E1. “Destination Dinohenge”
STARRING: Russell Curry, Hunter Deno, Kai Moya
WRITERS: Becca Barnes, Alwyn Dale
DIRECTOR: Charlie Haskell
ORIGINAL AIR DATE: February 20, 2021
SYNOPSIS: Two youngsters uncover Dinohenge, a lair containing secrets from 65 million years ago…

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

I like that Amelia, our new Pink Ranger, is a reporter. It creates a cool little Clark Kent/Superman vibe. More importantly, reporters are the often unsung heroes of our society. So it’s nice that Power Rangers is creating that connection for kids. I also like the name of the web site she works for: “Buzz Blast.” It’s a thinly veiled allusion to BuzzFeed.

Apparently Amelia is also a Ghostbuster. That “spook snare” reminded me of the Ninja Steel premiere, when Sarah showed up with an honest-to-God hoverboard.

So Dinohenge is filled with “Hengemen,” who will apparently serve as the henchmen for this season. Get it? Hengemen? Henchmen? Brilliant…

As the Hengemen are preparing to attack, Amelia says she’s taken three years of karate. Ollie, our new Blue Ranger, replies with “Yeah, me too.” Does that mean Ollie has taken three years of karate too? If so, that’s a remarkable coincidence even by kids show standards. I’d like to think it was just a general affirmation that he too knows karate.

After they’ve morphed, and Amelia asks Ollie what else they get with these new powers, he says: “If you watch the news, zords!” I like that line a lot. Not only does it tie into Amelia’s job, but it’s a nice reference to the fact that the Power Rangers get plenty of news coverage in their universe.

Design-wise, those helmets are pretty busy. They’re going to be an acquired taste. But I’ll get there.

The bad guy’s name in this episode is “Void Knight.” I can’t decide if I like that name. Look at a thesaurus, and you’ll see it’s a degree or two away from “Bare Champion.” You don’t want a Bare Champion on Power Rangers. Bear Champion? Maybe. Bare Champion? No.

After we get acquainted with Zayto, our new Red Ranger freshly awakened from a 65 million year hypersleep, he reads Amelia and Ollie’s minds. He calls Ollie “a rational, logical adventurer and scientist.” He refers to Amelia as, an “imaginative, unstoppable truth seeker.”

It’s rare that a show flat out gives you the rundown for some of its characters. It’s contrived, yet amusing.

I wonder what Russell Curry, who plays Zayto, thinks of those tentacles he has to wear. You think they told him that at the audition? Probably not.

Solon, our resident helper (a la Alpha 5 or Redbot) this season, is a cyborg dinosaur. That’s amazing. Have we not had a cyborg dinosaur in two and a half decades of Power Rangers? I’m thinkin’ we haven’t…

We see the Morphing Masters (or is it Morphin Masters?) in this episode. That name dates all the way back to an expository line from season one. But we’ve never seen any characters called the Morphing Masters until now. That level of attention to detail, especially on a show primarily meant for young children, is really cool.

Zayto says the other Knights of Rafkon were “lost” in battle. Which, in Power Rangers speak, means they probably died. So who wants to bet on when one or all of them shows up in an episode? Are we thinking end of season one? Or are we going into season two?

Overall, I dug this premiere. I tend to like it when the show paces itself like it did here. We haven’t had any zords or big city battles yet. The show took its time and allowed us to get to know Amelia and Ollie a little bit. Things felt like they unfolded organically.

A good start to what will hopefully be a good series.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.