The history of Saban’s Power Rangers franchise is a long one. It became one of the most popular children’s live-action series and spawned tons of spin-off series and even movies throughout the 90’s. Disney snatched up the rights to Power Rangers and after 7 years of holding onto it finally let it go back to Saban. Saban now is trying to reboot the Power Rangers for a modern audience. In the age of ensemble heroes dominating the box office, Saban hired ensemble action composer extraordinaire Brian Tyler for the job. Brian has a successful track record of composing action films with ensemble casts such as The Fast & The Furious Franchise and Avengers: Age Of Ultron. And as cheesy as the original series and movies were, this Power Rangers is surprisingly a great all-around action score if you can ignore the temp track hangover that clearly lingers throughout.
Ok, listen up. Power Rangers is not the next cinematic masterpiece, I mean have you seen any of the original series or movies? It’s also not breaking new ground, it’s simply content in becoming part of the ensemble action mold. This is your typical origin story of a group of high schoolers who find themselves infused with powers that unite them to become a force to stop an evil sorceress hellbent on finding a crystal to become all powerful and whatnot. So the approach was simply to look at a PG-13 action-packed franchise that has big mechanical battles and earned billions in the box office and pretty much do that. That franchise was Transformers.
Brian’s score is all sorts of fun, with a great theme that is undoubtedly a Brian Tyler theme. The body of the score is made up of a lot of synth and is more so accented by the orchestra versus something like Iron Man 3 which was very orchestral. And while the core thematics of the score are pure Tyler, the overall architecture does feel familiar. You’ll notice the music borrowing elements heavily from scores like Transformers and TRON: Legacy. Without a doubt, with Saban entering the big-budget epic movie space for the first time you can bet they wanted to play it safe. I’m sure Brian Tyler had a hell of a time navigating a heavily temped movie that was built off of Steve Jablonsky and Daft Punk. But here’s the deal, the score totally works and is actually very entertaining even if it's not wholly unique. The pulsing percussions and strings with that broad heroic build laid over it is something that made the track “Arrival To Earth” from the first Transformers feel so epic. That technique is used here to create a sense of awe and emotional gravitas. Once the action gets a bit more kinetic, that’s when the score’s true identity shines and you can feel something unique to Power Rangers emerge. And as for the iconic “Go Go Power Rangers!”? Brian saves it for a climactic moment right before battle in track 14, “Let’s Ride”. It’s then saved for the very end during the credits. If you’re looking for a modern action score that has a theme, melodic structures and rhythm then Power Rangers should delight as long as you don’t expect it to reinvent the wheel.
Power Rangers is a solid action experience. Brian Tyler gives the iconic heroes a modern feel that brings energy, force, gravitas and heroism. While there is clearly some heavy use of temp music that Brian had to follow, he still manages to let his theme come alive as he would in his own style. The score has lots of Brian Tyler moments for sure as well as Transformers and TRON: Legacy moments, but it all works. There are truly some cool ways that the music utilizes some of those retro synth loops. And the slow build moments of heroism work just as well as the kinetic action scenes where Brian’s true style shines. This is a score (and movie) that is trying very hard to be relevant among a crowded slate of action ensemble franchises. In fact, this whole experience feels a lot more inspired than the last Transformers score. And while it doesn't reinvent the wheel by any means, it’s still quite a fun and cool score that I can see some young tween getting hooked on after seeing the movie.
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