Pitching “Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers” to Christopher Nolan
Michael Bay digging his nails into the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has become a big source of geek contention across the Internet since it was announced. “Ninja Turtles”, as it will be called, would drastically change the origin of the heroes in a half-shell. In this iteration the Turtles would be alien in origin and as a result, nerds the world over cried foul. It was eventually announced that the movie would honor the source material. The damage was still done, though.
Years of remakes, reimagining, reboots and pre-imaginings have left me desensitized to the war currently waging between the fanboys and the evil empire of modern Hollywood. Recently my detachment and boredom led me down an amusing path. That path ended in four amusing words.
Christopher Nolan’s Power Rangers.
It’s a mighty morphin’ idea, no? Here’s my pitch detailing how Hollywood could turn something that took millions of 90’s kids (and their beleaguered consumer parents) by storm into the darkest and grittiest story about an old man kidnapping teenagers and coercing them into operating heavy machinery.
Nolan’s Angel Grove wouldn’t be the run of the mill Everytown, CA it was in the original series. Nor would it be the metropolis under the heel of organized crime that was Gotham City. No. Angel Grove is a relatively self-contained township incorporated 50 years ago by a corporation.
The corporation (let’s call it Saban Industries) was at the forefront of scientific breakthroughs and helped create many of the devices we take for granted today. Saban bought up the unincorporated land surrounding their mega plant with the intention of providing housing for their employees and their families. Over the course of a few decades, the corporation bought more land and before long Angel Grove became a modestly sized town with a large plant at its center.
In the original series and movie (which my mom took me to see on day one) Zordon is a wizard trapped in a time warp. He’s represented as a large disembodied head in an energy tube that acts as the centerpiece of his command center. From here he recruits five teenagers with attitude to fight his nemesis and her evil minions.
In the remake, Zordon will be an aging scientist once employed by Saban Industries within Angel Grove to work on a government defense contract. While employed there, Zordon created handheld coin-shaped Kevlar that makes it possible for whoever has a coin to withstand large amounts of pain. He also constructed giant building-sized tank-like vehicles.
It was not until he discovered and harnessed teleportation technology that shit went south. Saban caught wind of the discovery and wanted it for nefarious purposes that would circumvent the law. Zordon refused to give up his discovery but soon agents arrived and tried to take it by force.
Now on the run from a tyrannical company hell-bent on stealing his inventions and using them for evil, Zordon retreats to a secluded hide out. Knowing he and he alone possesses the knowledge his former employers would kill for, he uploads his consciousness to his command center’s digital infrastructure. A large digitized replica of his head in the command center is all that remains of Zordon’s physical form.
Before becoming the first human to fuse himself to a machine (and thus creating eternal life for himself, so long as the power stays on) Zordon created Alpha 5.
In the original series Alpha 5 was a general helper robot that maintained the command center and did Zordon’s grunt work. For the remake, Alpha 5’s functions would stay the same. The only thing that should change is Alpha’s sense of humor and personality. He would be more serious in his actions and not as whiny.
Much like the mutant heroes in Bryan Singer’s original X-Men movie, Nolan’s Power Rangers wouldn’t necessarily have uniforms. I know it’s blasphemous to think that our titular heroes wouldn’t sport the color-coordinated costumes and helmets in the remake, but it’s all for the sake of tone. I’m trying to win Nolan an Oscar here, for cryin’ out loud!
It’s important to honor the source material, though. So I will relent slightly and take a Breaking Bad approach to the color pallet. I would assign each Ranger a color and make each of their wardrobe feature that color prominently. Just like in the show.
The Rangers themselves would be a diverse group of youngsters with each teenage clique and stereotype represented. Think of them as “The Breakfast Club” with karate. Criminal burnout, weirdo, dweeb, jock, princess, they would all be represented.
Bulk and Skull
In the original series, Bulk and Skull were the sources of comic relief. They were the buffoonish bullies who always managed to get in their own way.
To fit the tone of this new project, I would make them interns at Saban Industries. They would slowly become aware of the company’s evil doings and become eager to please their superiors. When they catch wind of the Power Rangers, they take it upon themselves to expose them to the higher ups at Saban.
Rita Repulsa is the head of Saban Industries’ research and development division. She’s also got a very skewed moral compass. She views the town of Angel Grove as a plaything for Saban’s morally gray ventures. She’s not afraid to use the townspeople as her personal guinea pigs. Rita’s evil henchmen in the original series (notably Goldar) would become private security for her in this version.
Now that we have the pieces set up, it’s time to discuss the plot of the movie. Believe it or not, there are plenty of plots from the original series (and I’m sure subsequent series) that would lend themselves very well to a revamped modern iteration.
With this movie, however, I would go with an original plot that would act as an origin story for the Power Rangers. Rita, drunk with power, unleashes a clay-based synthetic army to patrol the streets of Angel Grove. The kids of the town call them “putty patrollers.” With the putty patrollers, Saban Industries institutes martial law on the town.
Knowing that the putty patrollers are really searching for the Zords, Zordon teleports his new recruits to the command center and bestows upon them the mythical power coins. From there the race is on to keep Saban and Rita away from the Zords. The movie would culminate in the Rangers activating their Zords to fight a monstrous creation of Saban.
The movie would end with the Rangers emerging victorious and defeating Rita and her monstrosity. There would be a montage that showed life returning to normal for the citizens of Angel Grove and the Rangers blending back into their normal teen lives.
The final scene would be a press conference. While Rita Repulsa is whisked away in handcuffs, the president of Saban Industries addresses a crowd of reporters. He charms the crowd and speaks ill of the deplorable things that Rita has done. He vows to win back the hearts and minds of the town and says that Saban will once again be the beacon of economic hope it once was.
One reporter speaks out and asks about his thoughts on what reporters have begun calling him. The president of Saban smiles and says, “Lord Zedd? I quite like it actually.”
Mr. Nolan, I patiently await your phone call and look forward to working with you.
– Matt (The Obsessive Viewer)
Bonus! Here’s a Power Rangers Fan Film made by Limitless Films that gives the Power Rangers a modern, dark tone.