Sunday, 22 June 2014

DVD Review - Power Rangers Megaforce: Ultimate Defenders

Power Rangers Megaforce: Ultra Defenders
Starring: Andrew Gray, John Mark Loudermilk, Christina Masterson, Ciara Hanna, Azim Rizk
Studio: LionsGateRelease Date: June 17, 2014
Retail: $14.98
Running Time: 92 minutes
Rating: Not Rated
Buy Link: Amazon


Arriving on DVD last week was the Power Rangers Megaforce: Ultra Defenders, the fourth volume of from the 2013 season, featuring four action-packed episodes, as five ordinary teenagers prepare to protect Earth from a future alien invasion. There are no extras or special features featured on the disc.

The concept of using bits and pieces of scenes from a Japanese children series, may have seemed a little silly or even campy at first, but Saban's Power Ranger franchise has proved to be a television phenomenon with the 21st season currently airing on Nickelodeon and a 22nd series, Dino Charge, scheduled to air next year, as well as a big-budget big-screen reboot of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers in the works from Lionsgate. 

Power Rangers Megaforce was the 20th anniversary season and is meant to be a throwback to the original seasons, setting the franchise back to the fictional Angel Grove and featuring teenagers as the Power Rangers. Mentored by Gosei and aided by his robot assistant, Tensou, the Power Rangers are trained to protect Angel Grove against an alien invasion. Along the way, they ally with the robotic Earth's defender, Robo Knight.

From left to right: "Robo Knight" (far left), the Pink Ranger ("Emma," left), the Black Ranger ("Jake," left center), the Red Ranger ("Troy," right center), the Blue Ranger ("Noah," right) and the Yellow Ranger ("Gia," far right) star in Lionsgate Home Entertainment's POWER RANGERS MEGAFORCE: ULTRA DEFENDERS

 Episodes the on the single-disc are:
Dream Snatcher - The Rangers and Robo Knight must save Emma (the Pink Ranger) and the citizens of Angel Grove from the dream-eating monster, Dream Snatcher, whose powers have been enhanced by the Auroa Box.

Gosei Ultimate - Once again the the Warstar aliens have used the Auroa Box to increase the size and powers of their two deadliest creatures, Bluefur and Bigs. It is up to the Rangers and Robo Knight to defeat the evil before Angel Grove is destroyed.

The Human Factor - The Warstar alien, Vrak, has created his own evil robot, Metal Alice, which is sent to Earth to persuade Robo Knight to turn to the evil side and destroy the Power Rangers.

Rico the Robot - Metal Alice sends her own robot creation, Rico, to destroy the Power Rangers once in for all, but the robot is damaged in a fight with them. With his memories now malfunctioning, Rico is no longer evil and befriends the Power Rangers.

Though the Power Rangers franchise isn't as popular as it was in the early 1990s, it still has die-hard fans all over the world, most of whom probably attend the annual MorphCon (currently in its 4th year). Power Rangers Megaforce tries to shove in as much of the "best of" elements from previous seasons, omitting any character development in exchange for fast-paced plots full of action scenes. While the previous seasons never had any great acting involved, the Megaforce cast is horrible, giving wooden performances with every new episode. The actor Andrew M. Gray who plays the Red Ranger never shows any emotion and he can barely read his lines correctly. Despite the acting being cringe-worthy, I have to remember that the series is attended for children, though the viewership is probably mostly adults in their late 20s to early 30, whom all watched the original Mighty Morphin seasons. 

"Metal Alice" in Lionsgate Home Entertainment's POWER RANGERS: MEGAFORCE: ULTRA DEFENDERS

The Megaforce Rangers might be teenagers, but besides from occasionally attending a class, the characters never act like real teenagers. Every episodes quickly throws them into battle with the Warstar aliens, in which the Rangers are Angel Grove's last line of defense. The writing gets somewhat better when the unofficial sixth ranger, Robo Knight, who sounds just like Robocop, joins the team.

I know that a few fans will complain about the four-episode format release, but many children programs are released this way. A parent will mostly likely afford to buy their kid a DVD that is under fifteen dollars than a complete season set that is between thirty or forty dollars. Nickelodeon has been spreading out the current twenty-episode season over the course of one year, so there is a big gap in new batches of episodes. Splitting the seasons into volumes for the DVD releases gives the fans something to look forward to until the new episodes return.

Power Rangers Megaforce: Ultra Defenders features four action-packed episodes from the 20th season of the franchise. While the first few episodes of the seasons started out rocky, the episodes on the single-disc are slightly better, especially The Human Factor episode which shows Robo Knight wanting to understand human emotion and the Rico the Robot episode, a heartfelt episode, though it is a little campy. The series is never going to win any awards with the wooden acting and its half-baked writing, but I'm assuming most fans (including me) only watch the series for the Zords vs Monsters scenes. Its a kid show, so you can't take it too seriously. Overall, the episodes on Power Rangers Megaforce: Ultra Defenders are entertaining and fun to watch. I do wish there were a few extras or special features on the DVD.

*Disclaimer - I received a complimentary copy in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

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