Tag Archives: Elizabeth Banks

Power Rangers

Power_Rangers_(2017_Official_Theatrical_Poster)

Five high school students discover an ancient spaceship and they must become Power Rangers in order to prevent an attack by the evil Rita Repulsa (Elizabeth Banks). It’s morphin time!

Ah yes the popular 90’s kid show is back on the big screen. This time the do-gooder teens are introduced in a Breakfast Club type situation and all come from different cliques. We have Jason/Red Ranger (Dacre Montgomery) the jock, Kimberly/Pink Ranger (Naomi Scott) the popular girl, Billy/Blue Ranger (RJ Cyler) the smart one, Zack/Black Ranger (Ludi Lin) the rebel and Trini/Yellow Ranger (Becky G) the loner. Attempts are made to give the Power Rangers some personality to varying degrees of success. Billy/Blue Ranger is the most likeable as the geeky one who is the most excited about being a Ranger. Jason/Red Ranger is the least interesting as a former jock with the obligatory father issues-yawn!

You can feel the film trying to be more modern and diverse such as giving us Power Rangers that are autistic and LGBT and making them sympathetic and relatable. However the LGBT moment is a blink and you miss it, so while the intention is good, you half wonder why they bother. It’s just a shame the film couldn’t take more risks in more areas and be more than a by the numbers adventure.

It might not be so glaring if the action were up to standard, but while the Rangers discovering and testing their new-found powers are enjoyable the majority of the movie is afraid to be fun. The climatic action scenes are underwhelming and you don’t get that wow feeling when the Rangers morph for the first time. It’s almost as if fun is a dirty word.

Still Elizabeth Banks brings enjoyable campness to the villainous Rita Repulsa. Of course she is nowhere near as hammy as the screeching T.V version, but she is the only one to revel in the ridiculous of the premise.

 

Rating 2.5/5 – Banks and Cyler aside this Superhero franchise is average at best

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The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1

The end is near for The Hunger Games movies. But like all franchises these days the concluding book has to be split across two films. But is there enough material to spread over two movies?

Katniss is now in District 13 but she is still suffering from her experiences in the Hunger Games and her guilt over Peeta being left behind and under the Capitol’s control. But with District 12 having been destroyed and the other Districts looking to riot against the Capitol, Katniss is needed to become the symbol of the rebellion so they can win the war against President Snow. But is Katniss up to the task?

Splitting the final Hunger Games books could be seen as a purely cynical move, and while the obvious motivation is clearly all about the money, that doesn’t mean its a terrible idea. When I heard that Mockingjay was to become two movies I actually liked that idea (and I’m normally not a fan of such thing – I’m looking at you The Hobbit movies). This way I get to see more of the characters I like and it allows all the subplots to get fully developed.

So the main themes around Part 1 is about propaganda and perception. To win a war you don’t just need to fight in battles but you need to win the hearts of the people, or in the case of the villainous Snow frighten them into submission. I liked that the film showed how both sides use the media to get the public’s support and both are not afraid of using teenagers to their own ends. Katniss and Peeta are both being used  as puppets of the two Presidents, although they both aren’t as easy to control as they’d hope.

It’s almost redundant at this point to go on about how great Jennifer Lawrence is as Katniss but I’m going to anyway. Everyone’s favourite moody teenager is back (not that she doesn’t have reason to be sullen), and while she may not be in the arena anymore, the games are still being played, even if they are more political in nature they are still as dangerous. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that Katniss is only about 17 and yet so much expectation is on her shoulder. Lawrence perfectly captures the trauma that Katniss has been through due to her experiences and how that is affecting her behaviour and decisions. She is trying to do right by everyone-Peeta, Penam, President Coil- however she doesn’t know what the consequences of her actions will be or how others will retaliate.

So there’s a lot of heavy scenes and political manipulation. Thank god for Effie Trinket (Elizabeth Banks) and Haymitch (Woody Harrelson) to bring some much-needed light relief. But they are not just there for comedy as they provide Katniss with support and reassurance that she so desperately needs, and they actually do care about her wellbeing too. Out of the new characters Natalie Dormer is striking as Cressida the director of Katniss’ propaganda films, and  Julianne Moore’s gives District 13’s President Coin makes the cold and calculating more interesting than she could have been. With so much going on that does mean some characters are neglected a bit such as Finnick but at least  Sam Clafin makes the most of the few scenes he’s in and he has much better chemistry with Katniss than she does with either of her supposed live interests Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) or Gale (Liam Hemsworth).

Being the first of two movies does of course have its drawbacks, including a lack of a proper ending to the movie. Also without the tension of the arena there’s not as much action in this movie compared to the previous instalments. At least after the build up during this movie, Mockingjay part 2 should give us the more than enough action when the Capitol is finally stormed by Katniss and co.

Rating 4.5/5 -while it’s not as action-packed as The Hunger Games: Catching Fire it’s still as gripping and smart as ever with Jennifer Lawrence once again on spectacular form

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