As a child of the nineties, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers is one of those fads I look back on with fond memories and I’ll touch more on that when I come to review MMPR later in the month. Power Rangers Dino Charge is the order of the day and a long-awaited return to the franchise for me. I have seen an episode here and there of previous seasons but Dino Charge will be the first full experience in some 15-20 years. So how will this latest season of Power Rangers fare against my nostalgia and expectation or is this just as it should be something for children?
Synopsis “Millions of years ago, an intergalactic bounty hunter named Sledge tried desperately to capture the 10 mysterious colored gems known as the Energems. Legend had it that each of these Energems could imbue whoever possessed them with incredible powers. Keeper, the wise and ancient guardian of the Energems, narrowly escaped Sledge’s grasp and in doing so crashed onto pre-historic Earth. Keeper entrusted each Energem to the Earth s mightiest beasts, the dinosaurs, for protection. But when a devastating meteor shower rained down on Earth, the dinosaurs went extinct and the Energems were lost. As the centuries passed, some of the Energems were discovered by humans. Those who proved to be worthy gained the ability to morph into Power Rangers. But now, Sledge has returned and has vowed to capture the Energems at all costs. It is up to the team of teen heroes known as the Power Rangers Dino Charge to hunt down the rest of the Energems and defeat this vicious bounty hunter once and for all!”
The premise is as it sounds, very basic with a lot of wiggle room to keep using the same tropes over and over. Tokusatsu, as it’s known in Japan, which includes Ultraman, Kamen Rider and Sentai (which Power Rangers is adapted from) and other shows often use the tried and true monster of the week formula. It is a format that has worked for so long now why change it, of course, children are a lot more accepting of these tropes than an adult maybe. Series like Kamen Rider sometimes change this up with two-episode arcs but generally, the end result is the same.
Speaking of Sentai, I have on occasion tried a couple of seasons but never managed to get into it as I did with Kamen Rider. There’s an inherent level of cheesiness in Sentai that seems to transfer and multiply when it comes to Power Rangers making for an even more embarrassing experience. That’s not to say the first four episodes were not enjoyable but it’s clear, and I think this goes without saying, that Power Rangers is ultimately a children’s show. This first release for Dino Charge does a decent job of world-building and getting across character motivations, there’s still a lot more to see on that front but I expect a decent showing going forward.
Power Rangers Dino Charge and like those before it (I’m assuming all) have used the Japanese Sentai series as the basis for the suits, monsters and even battle sequences. In the credits it does state the series is adapted from Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger but how faithful that adaptation is I cannot comment. As a fan of other Tokusatsu series such as Kamen Rider, it is quite interesting seeing familiar Japanese locations used in the action scenes cut together with the footage filmed in New Zealand for the adaptation. The DVD itself comes in PAL format and regardless of the disadvantages that brings with it, the visual quality isn’t all that bad, I often find live-action fairs a lot better in standard definition.
Dino Charge uses a rearranged version of “Go Go Power Rangers” with revised lyrics which is okay but not quite as good as the original and I wonder whether just using a different song would have been better. Within the episodes themselves, all the sound effects are good as you would expect from this type of show. There are no extras either physical or on-disc and you would hardly expect any on a budget release such as this.
Power Rangers Dino Charge Unleashed is a decent opening for the latest Power Rangers series. Don’t go into it expecting any kind of nostalgia rush as Dino Charge will not provide any, just wait for Mighty Morphin’ Power Ranges later in the month. Dino Charge, however, would be a great pickup for children and as it’s a budget release it’s hardly going to break the bank.