16 July 2013

DVD Set Review: "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers": Season One, Volume Two

Rated: TV-Y7 for fantasy violence
Starring: Austin St. John, Amy Jo Johnson, and Jason David Frank
Released: November 5, 1993 - May 23, 1994 (original TV premiere) / November 20, 2012 (DVD)
Synopsis: The evil Rita Repulsa is at it again! With her, her minions Goldar, Squatt, and Baboo, and her monsters, she will stop at nothing to destroy our planet! Who could stop her? Only the Power Rangers! With help from their Zords, and their allies--the inter-dimensional being Zordon and the android Alpha Five--they're ready to take on whatever Rita throws at them.  However, the monsters get increasingly powerful, and one Ranger's power gets stolen.  Will they still be victorious? As seen on Fox Kids.

Plot: 3.5/5
The plots contained within this second volume were mostly good; however, two of the episodes--"Trick or Treat" and "Mighty Morphin' Mutants"--spent too much time with nonsensical, filler sequences.  According to Wikipedia, the action sequences are merely dubbed versions of a Japanese series; maybe the makers ran out of such footage, and had to find some way to fill the nineteen-plus minutes required for an episode.  Where the plots are best are, as usual, the multi-episode story arcs, because the story within is more complex.

Production Values: 3/5
Yes, it's cheesy; still, it gets the job done.  The underwater battle in "An Oyster Stew" looks a bit dumb, though.  As with the previous set, the video goes from moderate quality to quite grainy.  In pretty much every episode, the closed captions get something wrong, whether it be what is said or the name of a character; Zordon is once referred to as "Zoldar".  Aside from all that, everything else--the acting, the action sequences, etc.--are at least moderately well-done.

Content Concerns:
  • Sex: Kissing, flirting...totally innocent romance. 5/5
  • Nudity: Kimberly, Trini, and other young ladies are seen in midriff-baring outfits, tiny shorts, and even a bikini top once.  A secondary male character wears a costume that shows part of his chest. 4/5
  • Drugs: Some of the stories involve chemical-induced transformations. 4.5/5
  • Language: "Dang" is used once or twice.  Name-calling is prevalent; one-word insults such as "nincompoop," "geek," and "pinhead" appear in most if not all of the episodes.  Probably the most disappointing use of language is when a background song during a battle says, "Come into my h---." Also of note: A weird closed captioning error takes the word "dam"--which is used in completely innocent context by the Rangers--and replaces it with the profane homophone.  3.25/5
  • Violence: Martial arts battles; robot vs. villain fights; usage of fantasy-style weapons.  Some of the monster attacks leave burn marks on the Rangers or their Zords.  Comic slapstick violence, a la Drake & Josh, is present in every episode as well.  No blood or gore, though seeing a few monsters getting impaled is a bit disturbing. 2.25/5
  • Frightening/Intense Scenes: Some of the villains and scenarios could be a bit creepy to young children.  One or two episodes involve Rita kidnapping family members of the Rangers. 3.25/5
  • Other: Rita uses some magic that smacks of incantations and/or witchcraft. 3.75/5
Conclusion: What a ride! Though there were some rough spots, I still feel a sense of accomplishment just for finishing all sixty episodes of the first season of this series.  In some ways, it's not as good as it was when I was a kid; I definitely didn't notice the cheesiness back then.  On the other hand, I still found it quite exciting and enjoyable.  In some ways, it's kind of like The Witches of Oz: cheesy, inane at times, not as polished as it could be...yet it still kept me glued to the screen.  Maybe I'm just a sucker for family-friendly entertainment, but, I imagine that I'm not the only one around my age or older who has shown interest in this set. (If nobody else liked it, why is Shout! Factory planning on releasing the entire series on DVD?) As long as you know what you're getting before you buy/rent this, you should like it.

Score: 4/5

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