Go, Go, Power Rangers!

MV5BNDg2NzI3Njk2OV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNDczODY2MTI@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,674,1000_AL_I have been waiting for this film. Waiting and waiting and waiting. (Where have we read this before? Apparently, when I am passionate about films, these are my go-to phrases.) When it was announced, I am pretty sure I made some kind of unearthly squealing noise, and I decided right there and then that not only was I going to see it but I was going to love it.

The release date, coincidentally, was over the weekend of my birthday, so I feel like the great and terrible movie gods decided to give me a present. Power Rangers was my childhood, and the original film (with Ivan Ooze, that gloopy so-and-so) is something I watch regularly both out of nostalgia and genuine enjoyment. Nothing beats delayed whooshes and yells of ee-yah!

My tiny child heart was and is filled with glee at the thought of a new Power Rangers movie to sink my teeth into. I was determined to love it no matter whether it was terrible or not. I have a penchant for loving movies my friends think are terrible so I was confident that I would like it.

Luckily for me, it wasn’t terrible at all. It’s gotten some bad press but I think the people that gave it bad press are the people who wanted it to fail. One of the main problems people seem to have with it is the lack of morphing time but, dear reader, I put it to you that surely there wouldn’t be much morphing time in an origin movie. It’s not about the Rangers as Rangers, it’s about the Rangers becoming Rangers. Sure, they find the crystals but the film would end very quickly if that was all it took for them to fulfill their Ranger potential.  So, with that out of the way…

Power Rangers is such a diverse film. Of the five Power Rangers, only one of them is white, and the Blue Ranger (Billy Cranston) is not only black, but he’s on the spectrum and it’s not turned into an issue. Billy is Billy and the other characters love him and never try to belittle him.

Trini, the Yellow Ranger, is canon not-straight. She doesn’t give herself a label and the film doesn’t turn it into a coming out story, it is just who she is, it is normal. Power Rangers normalises the normal in a way that other films don’t. I can’t believe that in 2017 that’s still a phrase I have to use but it is, and Power Rangers is a step in the right direction. It is so refreshing to see.

As you may know, I haunt Tumblr often, and it’s so lovely to see the posts from people who can relate to these diverse, three-dimensional characters in a way that they may not have been able to before. As a white woman, I’ve never really had to dig and scrape for someone to relate to in pop culture, I recognise my privilege and while I’ve not really experienced a lack of representation myself, I do wish for a greater mirror in the world of literature and film for those that do. I’m heartened when I see the reflection growing, even if just a little.

The film is less centred on the Rangers aspect and more on the Rangers’ relationships with each other, how they go from being strangers, to being friends, to being Rangers. I love everything about it. What we do see of them in their suits and their zords is fabulous. There are little echoes from the show and while it is the same in spirit, the film is a different but related beast.

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It goes darker than the series, perhaps a sign of the time it has been created in. Rita is not the kitschy villain you might remember. She is a dark creature. She is one of my favourite things about the film. She is a villain, a real one.

All in all. I loved it. I knew I was going to love it but I didn’t know I was going to love it, you know? I want to see it again, right now.

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In which I love La La Land

mv5bmzuzndm2nzm2mv5bml5banbnxkftztgwntm3ntg4ote-_v1_sy1000_sx675_al_Ah, La La Land.

I remember seeing trailers for La La Land many moons ago, and getting incredibly excited about Emma Stone. (I’m always quite excited about Emma Stone.) At first, I didn’t realise it was a musical, then I didn’t realise it was an old style musical. I am so glad it is.

If you’ve been here for a while, you might know that I love musicals and am a frequent theatre go-er. I love the magic of theatre but I also love the magic of cinema, especially musical cinema. In all of its many forms, from Disney to Les Mis to Pitch Perfect.

La La Land brings me all the same wonderful feelings I get when I watch the likes of Singin’ in the Rain and Shall We Dance with my grandmother on a sunny Saturday afternoon but also brings with it the whispers of something more modern. I find it really hard to describe.

La La Land  is like an old musical, old Hollywood but it’s also not. It’s hard to miss the hints to old cinema, the yellow dress and the street lamp both things that recall scenes from Singin’ in the Rain, the tap dancing which could be from any Ginger and Astaire movie.

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While it bathes us in old Hollywood nostalgia, it carries more realism than its ancestors – we have some heavy moments that would not have necessarily made it into the movies of old.

I know many people who have fallen head-over-heels for this film and I understand why, it underlines what it is to be a struggling artist and the artist in me feels it to my core. La La Land grew on me. I love it more the more I think about it. I enjoyed watching it, I enjoyed how I felt coming out of the cinema, but it takes some thinking to really hit home. Now, I am in love with it – I have been listening to the songs and singing them to myself in my head.

My other half, however, was not as enthused. And I get that too. This is partly why I find it hard to describe. It’s a great film but it depends entirely who you are. There are some people who simply won’t get it. I don’t think that’s a bad thing.

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Visually, it is stunning. My favourite parts happen in the prettiest scenes (the Planetarium and the epilogue, with a large helping of the dance near the lamp post). I love beautiful things and this film is a beautiful thing. The cinematography is everything I could have wanted and more. I want my dreams to look like this film, and I have a feeling it will inspire me for some  time to come.

Vocally, they’re not Broadway or West End stars. For this film, that is perfect. Neither of their characters claim to be singers, neither of their characters are perfect. They are beautifully flawed and so are their songs. It is different and extraordinary and the score is to die for.

Please see this film. You might love it, you might hate it but you should definitely see it.