Written by Ann Austen, John Tellegen, and Jackie Marchand
Directed by Andrew Merrifield and Paul Grinder
- Ninja moves
- Virtual trading cards
Released by: Buena Vista
Anamorphic: N/A; appears in its original 1.33:1 format.
My Advice: Um… get it if you’re a sentei fan; otherwise, are you kidding me?
This is how much I love you: after I survived the first one, I sat through another one. Never say I haven’t suffered for someone else’s art.
[ad#longpost]Okay, to begin with, Power Rangers: Dino Thunder isn’t as bad as you think it’ll be. Of course, that’s rather cold comfort when it’s still pretty darn bad. On the other hand, kids interested in martial arts will appreciate the honestly rather good fight choreography and might even like the dinosaur tie-ins, given how, like every girl has a “horse” phase, every kid of either gender has a “dino” phase.
We begin this disc with Dr. Oliver in the evil clutches of Mesogog, the alien with his own keen supervillain lair on an island. Meawhile, the Power Rangers, complete with shiny new Raptor Cycles, race to save him, but Mesogog has set up traps to stall and confuse them, all concerning a new, mysterious Dino gem. Luckily, the Black Ranger has returned, better than ever, and their friendship and courage make them more than the equal to any Tyrannodrone or rubber-suited villain in the world. The highlight of the disc may be the return of Tommy to suited glory, as he dons the mantle of Black Ranger. He’s certainly a contender as the best fighter and actor the franchise has ever seen.
The episode “Legacy of Power” will be of particular interest to fans of the show, old and new, because it provides a rather nice recap of the entire Power Rangers saga from the very beginning.
The audio quality is high, with good balance between the sound effects, incidental music, and vocals. The “ouch” noises are a bit annoyingly over-done, but that’s a hallmark of the show. The visuals are also good, with surprisingly high quality special effects. The lightning shooting around on this show looks much more realistic than that of other science-fiction shows with higher budgets, such as Mutant X. When Power Rangers has some of the best fight choreography and special effects on TV, you know something must be terribly wrong.
There is always an important moral to each episode, such as “Diva in Distress,” where Kira’s buddy gets to embody the idea that looks are irrelevant and that “it’s what’s inside that counts.” Other episodes are quick to demonstrate the importance of fair play, teamwork, or getting along with people who are different than you.
The special features are interesting: we get another selection of “Ninja Moves,” which show viewers, without benefit of a sensei, how to do simple martial arts moves. We also get another selection of virtual trading cards, which have nice enough graphics on them.
If you have young children who like kung-fu and aren’t too picky about plot yet, then they might legitimately like this. Anyone over, say, thirteen will probably find it predictable and just too cheesy, but then, we adults aren’t the target market, so who are we to scoff? It’s worth a look if your children fall into the target audience. If you like monster-of-the-week type shows, then this is an inoffensive example of the genre.