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In 1993, a strange TV pilot launched a sensation, one that would spawn multiple TV franchises, millions in toy sales, and now, a 2017 movie reboot.
But would the first episode of Mighty Morphin‘ Power Rangers pass muster with today’s kids?
THR.com deputy editor Kimberly Nordyke put that to the test when she sat down with her her 7-year-old son, Braden, to watch the 1993 pilot episode, “Day of the Dumpster.” Neither one was familiar with the Power Rangers ahead of time, and what follows is a real-time reaction to the episode that introduced the world to five teens with attitude.
Kimberly: There’s a new movie called Power Rangers. It was an old TV show that they’re making into a movie. Have you heard of it?
Braden: Yeah. (Starts watching) Yeah, I’m pretty sure I have heard of this. Is it showing the picture, then the person in the suit?
A group of astronauts comes across a space dumpster on the moon.
Braden: What is that? Are those oxygen suits?
Kimberly: Yeah, and I guess that’s a giant space dumpster. I guess they’re going to try to destroy Earth?
Braden: But that planet they’re on isn’t even real because if it was Mars, then it’s too close to Earth. Isn’t Mars the closest planet to Earth? Plus, Mars is two years away. Plus, in that picture, it’s not red. Plus, it’s the nearest planet. Because isn’t Mars closer to Earth than the planet with the rings? So (losing train of thought) … I don’t even know what I’m saying.
Braden: Is this the whole show, telling how they save Earth?
In Angel Grove, local dimwits Bulk and Skull ask out Trini and Kimberly. When the young women reject their advances, the bullies try to attack them, and end up being flipped over by the future Power Rangers.
Kimberly: Are those girls pretty strong?
Braden: (Commenting on the quality of the stunts) I think they just got out of their way and pushed them down.
Bulk tries to show Jason he’s a master at karate. Skull loyally claps.
Braden: Why is that guy clapping?
Kimberly: I don’t know. Was it funny?
The Earth starts shaking as the evil Rita Repulsa tries to destroy the world. Zordon orders Alpha 5 to transport five “overbearing and emotional humans” to them.
Braden: What’s that?
Kimberly: I don’t know. Maybe the bad guys are coming to Earth. Did it take them two years to get here?
Braden: No, it took like zero days and zero hours.
Kimberly: Is that real then, do you think?
A giant head named Zordon introduces our five teenage heroes to their Dinozords.
Braden: What is that? A dinosaur? Do they become it, or do they just control it?
The teens reject Zordon’s offer to save the Earth. They leave his temple and are annoyed they have to walk all the way back to town.
Braden: Is that the desert?
Rita Repulsa screams at Finster to hurry up and create her putty patrollers.
Braden: What do they mean, putties?
Kimberly: They made those fighters out of putty, I guess, and then they came to life.
Rita Repulsa spies on what she calls the “stupid teenagers” from a telescope on her moon base.
Braden: How could she see from that telescope all the way to Earth?
The teens’ first battle with the putty patrollers doesn’t go so well.
Braden: Hit him in the pee-pee! You know, I would just throw a knife through their stomach if I had one, but I wouldn’t like to see blood. But if I really had to, I would do it.
Kimberly: Would you be scared?
The Power Rangers’ Dinozords unite to become the Megazord and fight a supersized Goldar.
Braden: You know, they [the Zords] don’t need to go together. They would be powerful enough without it.
Braden: Is that a giant robot of the bad guys?
The Ranger summon the Power Sword. They don’t even hit Goldar with it, but for some reason, he disappears after saying, “This isn’t over; I’ll be back.”
Braden: What happened?
Kimberly: He just disappeared.
Kimberly tells a “hilarious” joke about not wanting to be in the Power Rangers because her hair gets tangled in the helmet. Alpha 5 laughs so hard his circuits overload and he starts smoking.
Braden: What was he doing?
Kimberly: I think he was laughing.
The episode ends the only way it could: a hand huddle and a freeze frame of the group jumping in the air as they yell “Power Rangers!”
Braden: Is that it?
Kimberly: Did you like it?
Braden: Kinda. It’s hard to explain. I liked the way they fought and how they saved the world. I liked when they formed together.
Kimberly: Did the story make sense, or was it hard to follow?
Braden: It was easy to follow.
Kimberly: How would you explain this to your [5-year-old] sister?
Braden: The Power Rangers form into a big thing to save the world from bad guys.
Kimberly: Who were the bad guys?
Braden: I’m not sure because you didn’t tell me. Or maybe I forgot.
Kimberly: Would you recommend this to the kids in your class? Would you recommend it to Sam (name changed to protect the innocent)?
Braden: Probably not. Well maybe. Probably not to Sam, though, because he’s kind of grumpy.
Kimberly: Would you recommend it to boys or girls?
Braden: Boys probably.
Kimberly: Do you want to see the movie now?
Braden: Um, kinda?
Also check out Braden’s thoughts on Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.
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