Friday, July 30, 2010

MMPR S1 Review


Mighty Morphin Power Rangers (MMPR) (1993-94) was the first installment of Power Rangers to be adapted from the Super Sentai series, using Zyuranger and later, Zyu2 footage. Since Mighty Morphin was three seasons long, I'll review each three seasons separately instead of the series as a whole. Their powers were drawn from the spirits of the ancient Dinosaurs, which is technically only partly true, the Saber Tooth Tiger and Mastodon were NOT dinosaurs. The characters were teenagers based on teenage stereotypes (as well as their actors' characteristics) that eventually mature outside of their stereotypes. This season (and the first 4 1/2 seasons in general) differed somewhat from its Sentai counterpart in which it also had a martial arts theme to it. To make it work, Saban hired actors that were more skilled in martial arts than they were in acting. In fact, when Jason David Frank got the part for Tommy, Saban told him "we'll teach you how to act, you just keep kicking." This season was campy, the comedy relief characters Bulk and Skull, and the villains sans Goldar and Scorpina, were mainly comedic. MMPR is the most popular Power Rangers series with the biggest fanbase, with season 1 being the most popular season during MMPR. This season is remembered by many who grew up with the show (including myself :P). Fans like this series for its memorable cast, the catchy theme song, some of the cool zords and monster suits, and for being "old school." This is also the beginning of the Tommy Oliver's legacy, who was so popular on this show that fan demand Saban to bring him back. At this time, however, Saban had ran out of Zyuranger footage and had to request more footage to be made (now called Zyu2) which TOEI gladly gave to Saban. This season had some of the best out of suit fight scenes, particularly against the putties, which is mainly due to the martial arts skills that the actors and actresses possessed. At the same time, all three MMPR seasons had some of the worst American in-suit ranger fight scenes in the series history. While this season is very popular among many fans, it is often criticized for its campiness, a simplistic plot, and below par acting during the early stages of the season.

The Good
Well, I can't say enough about the cast. It's a very memorable cast that deserves its recognition. The music to this season and season 2 are still the best to date in Power Rangers. I actually think the Zyuranger and Zyu2 footage was used quite well in this season, which wouldn't be the case for season 2. I also love the fight scenes, particularly against the putties. The characters were also well developed and matured dramatically from their stereotypes by the end of the season. Theplot may have been simplistic but there were still plenty of good episodes and good subplots.

The Bad
It's true the acting wasn't the best early on, but it got better as the season progressed. Also, as mentioned earlier, the American ranger footage during this era was rather, bad.

The Ugly
The worst part was the American Green Ranger costume, particularly because of that soggy-looking cotton shield. Saban would have been better off importing the costumes from Japan instead of making his own.

My Rating
9.5/10 A. Despite the level of acting early on, this series has plenty of good, solid characters. IMO the best PR cast still.

My Favorite Episodes
Episode 1 (Day of the Dumpster)- Where it all began.
Episode 2 (High Five)- A good episode that gave Trini some character development.
Episode 4 (A Pressing Engagement)- Jason learns how much he needs his friends.
Episode 16 (Dark Warrior)- Technically a filler episode, but I like the family aspects with Trini and her uncle in this one. This episode also gave some very strong development to Billy, and was the start of him maturing from a nerd always being picked on to a very skilled martial artist.
Episodes 17-21 (Green with Evil arc)- Where Tommy's legend began, and it was pretty epic.
Episode 24 (The Spit Flower)- This is where the Tommy-Kimberly relationship starts to progress.
Episode 34-35 (The Green Candle)- Where Tommy loses his power the first time.
Episode 36 (Birds of a Feather)- Gives Zack some strong character development as well as a CMoA for Jason.
Episode 48 (Plague of the Mantis)- Another strong character development episode for Trini, in which she learns the value of honor.
Episodes 49-50 (Return of an Old Friend)- Involves Tommy's return and some good family aspects.

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