Tuesday, February 8, 2011
Power Rangers Samurai Premeir Review, "The Team Unites"
Warning, Spoilers Below.
I have to admit, I'm not totally pleased with the premier of Power Rangers Samurai. First, the premier felt so out of place. It felt like it was a character focus episode, several episodes into the series instead of the first episode. We only got introduced to one, maybe two characters. We didn't get no real backstory of how the story begins or anything. We got a brief trailer at the beginning, but hardly anything was revealed. In RPM for example, while the premier mostly focused on Dillion, we did get an introduction of all the other characters and a background story about the Venjix Virus taking over the world as well as a battle scene between the Corinth army and the Venjix army.
As I've said before I'm not really a fan of copying and pasting plots straight from the Sentai source material, however, I have come around to accept that PR Samurai is going to follow Shinkenger's story very closely. I'll wait and see how they handle the source material. But to start off, it was rough. First, if you're going to copy the story don't leave the good stuff out. I mean, in the original Shinkenger episode (which was episode 3), Chiaki had his problems. He was undisciplined, a bit of a jerk, and had conflicts with both Takeru and Ryuunosuke. By the end of the episode we start to see a maturity in Chiaki. On Samurai, we see none of that for Mike. Sure he had to deal with departing from his friends, but Chiaki had to deal with that and more. The dialog on the otherhand was mostly original. However it was rather cheesy, especially from the MOTW.
The other major issue was the acting. Hector David Jr. who plays Mike/Samurai Green who got the focus episode, was actually pretty good. Felix Ryan did a good job in his scene as Spike and convinced me that he was Skull's son. Paul Shrier was just as awesome playing Bulk now as he was in MMPR. However, Jayden played by Alex Heartman, was incredibly wooden. Najee De-Tiege, who plays Kevin, also had a poor performance in the few lines he had. I wasn't really impressed with Rene Naufahu's acting as Mentor Ji either, even though in SPD he did a good job voicing Emperor Grumm. There wasn't really many scenes or lines for Britney Pirtle's or Erika Fong's characters, so I can't really comment on their acting. From the villains, I didn't really like any of the voice acting, except from the MOTW but he had a lot of cheesy lines.
Besides the story being out of place and problems with the acting, there were some little things I took issue with. This included the morphing call "go go Samurai" being rather lame, and the armor that the rangers wore in the cockpit but not during battle.
Now for the good stuff. Visually, the episode was excellent. It spliced the Sentai footage with the American footage really well to the point that if I hadn't watched Shinkenger first, I wouldn't be able to tell the footage apart. The American footage was actually pretty good. I do appreciate that they're trying to tap into the nolstagia, with the theme song being a remix of the original "Go Go Power Rangers." The instrumental version of the song is actually pretty good, and is definitely an upgrade after successive seasons of terrible theme songs such as Mystic Force, Operation Overdrive, Jungle Fury, and RPM. It's also fun to have Bulk back and his lone scene with Spike was really the highlight of the episode. I do like that they kept the Kanji in the morphing sequence and the summoning of the zords. I guess that proved it's not "too Japanese" to be adapted.
Overall, I feel the premier was a dissapointment, but it is just the first episode. I've seen many shows, especially Power Rangers and Sentai, that have gotten a lot better after the first handful of episodes.