Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Power/Rangers





I have never, ever, ever been a fan of the Power Rangers. Why would I? I had already aged out of the demographic before they even started, and from what I have seen, they would've been way too dumb for me anyway. I know, I know... I know what you're thinking, all right? I get it. You're saying to yourself right now: "Jon, my man," you're saying, "how can you, a guy who loves tons of kung fu, superhero, comic book, fantasy dragon and boobies nonsense, stand there and suddenly draw this weirdly arbitrary line when  it comes to the Power Rangers?"

Easy.

It's because The Power Rangers are, were, and by all accounts continue to be, a terribly stupid show of a particularly pervasive low quality. I know, I know... Again, trust me, I know what you're thinking at this point too. I know what you want to say, because I've heard it before. Power Rangers was actually the result of low rent actors portraying story lines that were specifically created for a brainless American kiddie TV show, and those were then cobbled together with parts from a Japanese TV show called The Super Wild Action Force Yeah! (Not the actual title), so because of the unavoidable conflict of tones that comes from pairing those two different sources, it's not the show's fault that it was so awkward and terrible... but guess who doesn't give a shit?

Me.

Because the show was still terrible.

Also, I'm also not a fan of fan-films, or fan fiction really, for that matter. Not at all actually. Personally, I think it's kind of a waste of your creative time. And, I think you should want more than the rotted scraps of other IPs for your projects, and that the world is generally better off with more original stuff and less non-canonical digressions. But... whatever. I mean, fanfic is fine, I guess, for practice maybe, when you're in school or just starting out, or even just for fun, whatever... For me personally, I just don't consider it a real thing, and I think you should move on to your own stuff. But like I said, that's just me, if fanfic is what you want to do, great, go do it, but I'm not interested in seeing your work.

Not that that should matter to you either, but... whatever, I'm trying to set a scene here.

Because here's the thing... holy crap... Joseph Kahn has made a Power Rangers short film. It's called Power/Rangers. I'm not sure how you pronounce that. Do you think you say "slash" as in Power-Slash-Rangers, or do you just ignore it? Maybe you say it as if it's just one word? PowerRangers! Hmmm... I don't know, both sound weird. Whatever. It probably doesn't matter. I mean, who's going to talk about this thing out loud where people can hear them?


Not me. This is just between us, right? Nerd-code, bro.

I've talked about how much I love Kahn's film Detention before now, and just as an aside, trust me... if you don't know that film, you need to. It's amazing. Kahn is also responsible for Tay-tay's recent Blank Space video, just fyi. I'm telling you all this so that you can understand why I was drawn to this short film, despite everything else I mentioned, so that you can understand why, when I heard he did this, a violent and dark version of an old children's show made with the express purpose to skewer the uselessness of fan-films, all for shits and giggles, and starring Katee Sackhoff and James Van Der Beek... I pounced, like some kind of giant mechanical robot cat or something...

From the synopsis: Deboot of the Power Rangers. My take on the FAN FILM. Not a pilot, not a series, not for profit, strictly for exhibition. This is a bootleg experiment not affiliated or endorsed by Saban Entertainment or Lionsgate nor is it selling any product. I claim no rights to any of the characters (don't send me any money, not kickstarted, this film is free). This is the NSFW version. An alternate safe version is on youtube.

Apparently Vimeo has yanked the non-NSFW version, the jerks.

Oh well, let's watch...


Not bad. Right? Not bad at all.

I kind of love it. I love how it's a perfect example of the thing it completely skewers.

Most fan-films vary wildly in quality, but even the best ones are often wrong-headed and faux-tough guy lame, projects pushed by myopic and unimaginative weirdos obsessed with poaching the well-loved pop culture memories of their youth, but instead of celebrating those loves, they turn them into these boring, infantile, and frankly laughable "grim and gritty" wank-fests.

Whereas here, we have something truly wonderful, a razor sharp satire so keen that some may not even feel its cut. It's kind of like Max Brooks' Zombie Survival Guide. Did you read that? You should. Anyway, my point is, the book gets shelved in the comedy section, and you'll often hear people bitch about how it's too serious and never winks at you, that it's never overtly funny. Those people are missing the point, y'see, the book--much like this film--isn't supposed to be "ha ha" funny, its mere existence is the entirety of the joke, poking fun at the idiot survivalist industry that popped up in the wake of 9/11, offering nothing of real value, while preying on people's fear and paranoia. Power/Rangers is like that, an indictment of the edifice of stupidity, time suckage, and creative bankruptcy that is fan-films, and that is awesome. So, yeah, maybe it's not "ha ha" funny. but it's still telling a pretty great joke.

Well, maybe it's a little "ha ha" funny too...

But I digress, as I was saying, the film does all that stuff really well, while at the same time, it also does an excellent job of being an actual Power Rangers film. There's tons of callbacks, familiar moments, and easter eggs, so much that even a non-fan like myself can see that the people behind this film were very well-versed in the subject. They know it well and the way they worked it all into the script? That's impressive. So kudos for effort and quality, but then... Joseph Khan is pretty awesome, as evidenced by the fact that the film is also pretty fun.

And kind of kick ass.

So, make sure to check it out, and you better do it while you can, kids, because there seems to be a storm a-brewin'... if this gets taken down before you get the chance, here's why.

Morhpin' time,
Jon

No comments: