The first scene in Saban’s Power Rangers features a joke about jerking off a bull; the movie never gets more clever or subtle. It also probably never gets less weird. Saban’s Power Rangers is full of clichés, takes forever to get going, and suffers from Transformers Syndrome (the dreaded disease where your million-dollar CGI results in indistinguishable characters and clumsy action sequences). Still, there is a bombastic charm to the movie. The director and five credited screenwriters don’t seem to worry if three training montages is too many, or care that using the theme song from the 1990s results in tonal whiplash. Elements of the movie are undoubtedly stupid, but it has a nostalgic kind of irreverence about it, as if to say, “It’s Power Rangers, everyone. Relax.”
There is a moment late in the second act of the Brian Wilson biopic Love & Mercy where everyone is celebrating the success of the Good Vibrations single and lyricist Van Dyke Parks is tasked with describing the next project, which Brian wants to call SMiLE. Parks describes it as a mixture of various artists ranging from Phil Spektor to Beethoven (I have no chance of re-producing the exact sequence here, and can’t find it online, but it is a cool little line). Similarly, Love & Mercy can be described as a mishmash of Amadeus, A Beautiful Mind, and Shine – with elements of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and even 2001: A Space Odyssey. That is rarefied air, but entirely deserved, and the film should please both die-hard fans of The Beach Boys as well as general audiences with its unique style of musical storytelling and parallel story structure.