Tag Archives: mighty morphin power rangers

Hasbro MMPR Combining Dino Megazord

The only Megazord that matters.

I wasn’t going to do a post on this particular figure, but there probably is some curiosity about it and how it works with the Hasbro Power Rangers Lightning Collection, so here we are. Last year, I fulfilled an almost lifelong ambition and acquired a Bandai dino Megazord from 1993 based on its appearance in the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers television show. The toyline was white hot in the early 90s, and it was something I had to make due without as a kid (and for the record, I did just fine, so don’t weap for my childhood). It turns out, the kids of 2020 also enjoy Megazords from the 90s and my own children spent a fair amount of time playing with it, assembling it and disassembling it enough that I went to eBay and grabbed them some Power Rangers from the same era to play with. When Christmas came around, it made sense for my son to ask Santa for a Megazord he could call his own, and the big man delivered.

It was late last summer, or early fall, that Hasbro rolled out its own version of the classic Bandai toy. The zords were scattered across three blister pack releases that could be purchased at big box retailers and online at various toy and hobby websites. What was most attractive about the set was that it was really affordable. Each release retailed for $15 so kids, and collectors, could assemble a Megazord for a mere $45. I’m pretty sure it cost more in 1993 dollars to do the same. Of course, this meant the release was compromised compared with past iterations. The zords probably lost about 25-30% of their size and are primarily assembled with colored plastic with little or no paint. On the plus side, there were no stickers to place as the decals came on the toys, though they still appear to be as prone to peeling and such as stickers applied by the consumer.

The dino zords have never been particularly fearsome on their own.

As mentioned already, Hasbro chose to distribute these dino zords across three releases. The mastodon and pterodactyl come bundled together as do the triceratops and saber-toothed tiger. The tyrannosaurus, being the largest of the five zords, comes solo, but Hasbro did toss in the power sword so it wouldn’t feel so lonely. I’m not sure why Hasbro opted to do things this way rather than simply sell it as one, complete, set. They probably could have even jacked the price up another five dollars and sold it at 50 bucks. It’s just unlikely anyone would want just one set and not all three, because lets face it, most kids don’t want to play with the individual zords. All this does is make it a little harder to find everything you need. Thankfully, the zords weren’t terribly difficult to track down, but I know in my frequent trips to Target I rarely saw all three sets readily available, it was usually just one or two

Dinosaurs! Assemble!

These toys aren’t technically in the Lightning Collection, but are in that lesser line Hasbro mostly markets to kids. All that means is that these aren’t technically being marketed to collectors, though I’d wager most of the people buying stuff based on the Mighty Morphin era are folks my age. The engineering on all of the zords is very similar to the Bandai originals as Hasbro has largely preserved the transformation as it appeared on television. The sheer amount of plastic utilized though has been significantly scaled back. It can be seen in the tail of the T-Rex zord which has a lot of chunks just cut out of it and the rear of the mastodon which is fairly open. It’s definitely not a set as attractive as the old ones, though there are areas where things have been improved slightly. The T-Rex, for instance, has its mouth canons sculpted in now and they look pretty nice. Some of the joints are also tighter, specifically the tails of the triceratops and saber-toothed tiger, though I’m also comparing a relatively new toy to one almost 30 years old. Given time, maybe they’ll be just as loose.

Top: new sword, Bottom: old sword. It’s not great.
Paint is apparently expensive.

Where this set comes up short though is just in the details. The wheels on the saber-toothed tiger, for example, aren’t painted black and are just sculpted gray like the rest of the legs. The canon at the tip of the triceratops tail doesn’t articulate so it looks pretty lame, plus it doesn’t have actual wheels to roll on. I also miss the chrome details some of the old figures had, though I mostly miss it on the Megazord’s power sword. It’s just unpainted plastic with some of the design sculpted on just one side of the blade. It’s very bland and is the aspect of this release I see the most complaints about. Hasbro also utilized a new peg system for the legs of the Megazord which works fine, but it also means the T-Rex now has red pegs jutting out from its knees. I also dislike the head of the T-Rex and how it snaps in place with the Megazord head contained underneath. It doesn’t seem to want to actually snap and it just feels very cheap. The “horns” on the Megazord itself can slide all the way to one side and just seems junky, even though it does, in the end, get the job done.

The new one can’t articulate its canon, but at least it can hold its tail up unlike gramps here.
The pterodactyl zord didn’t have to make too many compromises, though I’ve always really loved that old decal on the front of the original so that’s a bummer.

Playing with the zords on their own doesn’t seem like a great experience, based on how my kids interact with it. Thankfully, combining them is fairly easy even for a kid. The legs take a bit of effort to seat properly, and the pterodactyl can be a bit finicky, but it goes together largely in the same manner as before. I actually like how securely the mastodon clips on with this release, though I hate how easily the legs of the mastodon pop off. The tail of the T-Rex also no longer has a joint towards the end of it so it sticks up more pronounced than before and isn’t particularly pleasing to the eye, but it’s not a big deal. You can also still do tank mode, but it’s just as janky as before and more of a novelty than a fun way to play.

The tyrannosaurus continues to be the only zord that’s any fun solo, though those new, red, knee, pegs are an eyesore.
The mastodon turned out kind of junky on its own and it differs most from the original as the head is now all black, but at least it functions very well as the arms of the Megazord.

Once together, the Megazord does very much look the part. Once again, we’re missing some of the details of past releases, but it’s certainly far from an ugly thing. The face is where some extra paint would have really been welcomed as that vintage Bandai release just looks sharp. And, of course, the sword sucks, but I already mentioned that. What is better than before though is the articulation. The classic Megazord can’t do much of anything, but this one at least has some joints. The arms can rotate and raise out to the side a bit and the Megazord now has elbows! It can bend them about 90 degrees and also swivel too. At the legs, it can kick forward and back still, but it also can fan its legs out slightly for a wider, more natural, stance. The legs also swivel there as well. There are no knee hinges, unfortunately, but you can swivel the lower legs at the knee pegs. The only thing missing that really should be here is a head swivel. It just seems like that would have been a very easy and cheap thing to include that would have really added some personality to the poses available because even a kid wants to put this somewhere prominent in his or her room when it isn’t being played with.

Tank Mode is still a thing, if you care.
I had to pull back so damn far to get that whole sword into the shot.

Obviously, this thing doesn’t scale at all with the figures in the Lightning Collection. Even the original doesn’t and in order to scale properly it would likely need to be six feet tall. It’s big enough at around 9″ tall though that I think it can be a reasonable centerpiece in your MMPR display. And if you’re ambitious, you could paint this thing up into something a bit more special. Hasbro sculpted most of the details one would expect, it just didn’t bother to paint them. As a toy, it seems pretty neat, to me. Admittedly though, my kids haven’t played with this much since Christmas and my daughter even told me she wants to play with my Megazord, not this one. Go figure. I think she just likes the sheer size of the original one, and as easy as it is to transform this one, it’s a bit easier for her to transform the original. Mostly I think it’s just a case of her being more familiar with that one and not wanting to take the time to get to know this new one.

The sculpt work is mostly there, it just needs a little love from a paint brush.
It’s a little smaller than the original, but also trimmer and less statue-esque.

If you’re a Lightning Collection fan that wants a Megazord, this is certainly an affordable option. It’s not a collector grade release though and that shows. Even with light play, some of the decals are already starting to peel on this one and that’s disappointing. It’s possible the same will happen for those who just set it on a shelf and forget it. The biggest thing this release has going for it is obviously the price and availability. A Bandai one from 93 will probably set you back a couple hundred dollars, while the Legacy Collection release is a bit cheaper, but also not as nice as the original and it suffers from a lot of the same shortcomings as this one. And then there’s the Soul of Chogokin Megazord which I think retailed for something like $350 and is no longer in production so it’s likely to cost even more than that now. This set is for kids and casual fans that need a Megazord, but don’t want to break the bank. I’ve seen this one getting dumped on a bit by collectors, but at $45, I think it’s pretty good. I definitely wouldn’t recommend displaying it in dino mode as the individual zords aren’t terrific looking, but who would do that anyway? As long as your expectations are reasonable, I think this will please most who buy it.

Definitely a more posable release.

If you are a collector looking to add a Megazord to your collection, you will soon have some more options. If you just want a posable Megazord, Super7 recently announced that it has gained the Power Rangers license. The company has already shown some vinyl, minimally, articulated Megazords, but it will be doing zords in its Ultimates! line and I can only assume a proper Megazord will arrive at some point. They’re doing the tyrannosaurs first though, and I don’t think they can do a combining Megazord so it figures to be a stand-alone zord. I could be wrong, but time will tell. Grabbing this Hasbro one at $45 doesn’t feel like a tremendous risk to me, but if you can wait, maybe hold out to see what’s coming.

Whether it’s a permanent part of your display or just a placeholder until something better comes along, the Hasbro Megazord is certainly an affordable option.

Hasbro Lightning Collection Mighty Morphin Yellow and Pink Rangers

Today we complete a team.

Last week we took a look at the male members of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers from Hasbro’s Lightning Collection. Back when the show was red hot in the early 90s, all of the action figures of the Rangers were the same figure with a different head and decal on the chest. That isn’t going to work for a figure line aimed at both collectors and adolescents and Hasbro obviously knows that. That’s why they did a male body and a female body for the line and that’s why the women are getting their own write-up as today I’m looking at the Pink and Yellow Rangers from Hasbro’s Lightning Collection.

I am still a fan of the window box Hasbro uses for this line, but what’s with that awful posing on Kimberly?

The Yellow and Pink Rangers sharing a body sculpt makes sense, though it also kind of doesn’t. The Yellow Ranger was sort of infamous from this era because Saban chose to cast the late Thuy Trang as Trini Kwan to portray the teenager under the mask. Of course, she was never really under the mask as none of the American actors were since that was footage taken from Japan where the Yellow Ranger was portrayed by a male actor. There are some pretty humorous images online too that really drive that fact home. Technically speaking, the action figure of the Yellow Ranger should probably utilize the male body type, but since American audiences associate Trang with the role it would be kind of weird to have a very masculine Yellow Ranger on our shelf. This figure is already not screen accurate because of this choice, and yet, I think it’s the right move and it’s not something I’m bothered by and I can’t imagine anyone is.

I wish I could get my Pink Ranger into that straight a stance.

Trini and Kimberly use entirely new parts when compared with their male counterparts. Despite that though, they’re still engineered the same way so the figures feel pretty familiar. They’re just more slight than the men with thinner limbs and smaller hands and feet. They obviously have unique headsculpts and Kimberly differs from her teammate in that she has an extra piece of plastic for her skirt piece as she was the only female Ranger in the Japanese version. They stand at about five and three quarters inches, which is roughly half an inch shorter than the males. They look pretty good in relation to the male figures, though I think you could argue Hasbro went a little too far in slimming these two down. Their limbs probably don’t need to be quite this slight as these are pretty athletic women, and the thinness of the limbs apparently necessitated a compromise when it comes to the articulation. Their proportions also look less appropriate than the men. I can’t decide if it’s the torso that is too long, or the legs. Something just doesn’t look quite right to me and I notice it more with Kimberly than Trini.

These women are packing heat, albeit in an unconventional fashion.

Like the men, these figures mix colored plastic with painted plastic. And like the men, it’s a problem. With Trini, she mostly looks okay. The yellow is quite bright with her torso being ever so slightly darker than the limbs. I have to be looking for it. Kimberly is another story. Her torso is quite a bit darker than her limbs to the point of being near purple. The pink on her helmet appears to be a completely different shade of pink, as does the skirt. She’s a mess, and to make things worse my figure was quite bow-legged out of the box as she comes packaged in a rather awkward position. I had to heat her legs up to try and straighten them out and they’re definitely better now, but not good enough. Trini is a lot more interesting to position and move. Her paint is fine and she might be the cleanest one I’ve received. It also helps that yellow paint slop just isn’t going to be as obvious as a darker color, but it’s good.

The articulation here is not as good as it is with the male figures, but you can still have some fun.

The articulation with these figures is nearly the same as the male ones, but it also works a little differently due to the sculpt. We’ve got a ball-peg at the head, hinged shoulders, elbow swivel, single-jointed elbows, and swivel and hinged hands. Shockingly, Kimberly has a vertical hinge on her right hand for her bow. I don’t know what it is about a bow that made Hasbro decide she needed this hinge, and the others didn’t, but at least they got one hand right out of 14 in this line. Trini, sadly, still has horizontal hinges to deal with. The women having single-jointed elbows instead of double-jointed ones is something I can only assume was brought on by the thinness of the arms. Hasbro used a hinged, ball, peg system so that’s why they have a swivel at the elbow instead of a biceps swivel. It’s a bit more awkward looking, but the figures can still curl their arms past 90 degrees so it’s not a huge downgrade. The diaphragm cut is where things get a little worse. It’s still a ball-joint, but it’s far less effective. There’s a lot of gapping when the figure arches back and the range of motion in general is poor. I attribute this to the lower portion of the torso not sitting further inside the upper piece. The ab crunch is also still here, but even more useless than with the men. The belt floats and can be adjusted and for Kimberly it’s attached to the skirt. The hips flare out, since these are women, and reduces the range of motion there. The men couldn’t really do a split, and the women are even worse which is a shame as I feel Kimberly’s signature move was the jump-split-kick. There’s a thigh swivel and double-jointed knees to go along with a boot cut and ankle hinges with rockers. The ankles are still the star of the show. Overall, the articulation is okay, but definitely worse than the men. Kimberly’s skirt also further reduces her range down there and her bow legs make just standing straight like the phony product shot on her packaging impossible and far less elegant than it could be.

Kimberly does have a regular arrow, if you prefer it to the pink, zappy, one.

Trini comes packed with a pair of gripping hands for wielding her Power Daggers. The little sai-like knives look fine and she has no trouble holding them, she just misses the proper hinges for her hands. Kimberly has her Power Bow with a gripping left hand to hold it and the specialized right hand for knocking an arrow. She also has a silver arrow she can hold, but it doesn’t work particularly well or look all that good. She also has an energy arrow which is far more accurate to the show and easier to wield. And it also looks a hell of a lot better than the silver arrow. It’s a translucent pink with the form of an arrow at the front and looks quite good. Trini has two, yellow, translucent, sparks for her daggers that make me think of pom-poms. They’re fine and it adds a little flair to her posing.

A more traditional form of “heat.”

Like the men, both women come with a second set of hands and a Blade Blaster. For Trini, she has another gripping right hand that is meant to be used in tandem with the Blade Blaster. She also has a style pose left hand that’s similar to a karate chop. Kimberly comes with a left fist and a style pose right hand in the same shape as Trini’s chop hand. This is pretty smart on Hasbro’s part as it gives the women a set of stylized hands to share, should you want to. And I seem to recall at least the Pink Ranger using such poses in the show. Neither woman comes with the collapsed Blade Blaster or the knife version, which is a bummer because the blaster version doesn’t fit Kimberly’s holster as well as it does the other Rangers. Curiously, Kimberly’s blaster is painted differently from all of the other ones opting for a metallic silver instead of white. I think this actually looks better, but it drives me a bit crazy that hers is different for no apparent reason. She also doesn’t have a proper trigger hand and neither default hand works particularly well with the gun.

Tommy, your girlfriend – woof!

Of course, both have a second, unmasked, head. Thuy Trang’s likeness is okay. I at least know it’s her, but it’s not as good as Jason or either Tommy head that came with his figures. Kimberly looks awful though. It does not look anything like Amy Jo Johnson to me. The hair looks fine, so I guess she’s not as bad as Zach since both his hair and his face looked terrible, but it doesn’t really matter if she’s as bad as Zach since she’s still bad. It’s a good thing I don’t value these optional heads because I’d be livid if I did. Their long hair also makes articulation much trickier than before. Trini is okay, but Kimberly kind of locks in place once seated so she basically can’t move her head in this form, but you’re not going to use it so who cares?

The various power weapons join forces to vanquish evil! Yes, I had to look at a reference image to remember where everything goes.
In case you prefer something akin to a side view. The bow gets a little cockeyed doing this.

Since these are the last of the Mighty Morphin figures I will review, it feels like a good time to talk about how the weapons work. Just like in the show, the weapons can combine to form a clunky looking mega blaster of sorts. The axe is the base and the bow clips into the front of it while the sliding action on the axe serves to hold it in place. The daggers and Billy’s twin, mini, tridents peg into the underside of the bow while the sword slots on top of the axe and bow. It’s easy to assemble, though a little tricky to get one of the figures to actually hold it properly. I was able to finagle the pose from the show with Billy and Zach grabbing one end of the bow apiece and the women basically just placing their hands on Jason, so it’s doable. There’s no screen accurate blast effect packaged with anyone though, but that probably would have made it far more difficult to pose with added weight on the front. This gun has always looked kind of silly, but I love crap like this. I love that the weapons combined on the show and I would have been irritated if the toys could not do the same.

Megazord? We don’t need no stinkin’ Megazord!

The female portion of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers brought with it a mixed bag. Generally speaking, this sculpt does not function as well as the male figure and that’s disappointing because there’s no reason why it shouldn’t work just as well. Despite that though, I’ve actually enjoyed posing the Yellow Ranger. Her weapons are simple, but not restrictive, so she has a lot of freedom. I’m also happy with her paint as she turned out about as well as the White and Green Rangers. The Pink Ranger though is another story. Her articulation is slightly worse, but what bugs me more are her warped legs and mismatched colors. She’s definitely the worst of the bunch and what’s working against her is I never liked her helmet in the show very much. She looks like an alien or something. She’s not a good figure which sucks because she’s been the hardest to get. I had to pay over retail for her because Hasbro stopped shipping her, possibly because there’s a new version out done in a metallic paint with a different actress likeness. I’m curious if that one is any better, though the metallic paint made it a non-starter for me as she wouldn’t fit in with the rest of my display. And if I didn’t need her to complete that display, I wouldn’t have her. She’s the worst figure I’ve purchased in a long while.

Group shot! Yeah, I know, the presence of the White and Green Ranger makes little sense, but I don’t care!

But you need the whole team! And that’s where Hasbro gets you. They know they don’t have to hit a home run with each figure in this line because collectors are going to buy them no matter what since they want a full team of Power Rangers. And now that I have a full team plus the Green and White Rangers, how do I feel? Pretty good. This is a case where the end result is better than the sum of its parts. I have issues with these figures, some more than others, but I’d rather have a full team than just a lone Green Ranger. And even though the scale is obviously way off, I do like having these guys with my vintage Bandai Megazord which displays better with this set than it did the vintage sets. I suppose that would mean it’s “Mission Accomplished” on Hasbro’s end, and that’s how it is with mass market action figures. At least now, after almost 30 years, I finally have a set of Power Rangers toys!


Hasbro Lightning Collection Mighty Morphin Red, Black, and Blue Rangers

It’s morphin time!

If it wasn’t obvious after my White Ranger review, I have decided I need to assemble a team of Power Rangers on my shelf. Specifically, the Mighty Morphin era. I’ve already posted my thoughts on both the Green and White Rangers, devoting a write-up to each figure, but for today I’m going to do some combining. And that’s because I am basically going to just talk about three different versions of the same figure. The base Power Ranger male figure is the same for each one, at least for the Mighty Morphin figures. I assume the other teams are similar, but I don’t know that for sure because I don’t have any of them, nor do I intend to get any of them. These three though are the same, and they’re basically the same as the Green and White Rangers too, though those two had a few unique pieces due to the slight differences in costumes. Now I don’t intend for that revelation to be a knock on this line, toy companies reuse parts all of the time and when the characters are pretty similar there’s no need to re-sculpt everything just for the sake of doing so. The actors in the show who portrayed the “teenagers” who become Power Rangers were fairly distinct in terms of body shape, but the costumed Rangers really were not.

I like what Hasbro has been doing with their packaging. Simple, but elegant, window boxes.

The good news is, I generally liked what Hasbro did for the other Rangers I reviewed. If I didn’t then I probably wouldn’t have bought more. The molds aren’t cartoonishly bulky like the old Bandai ones and was more reflective of how these characters actually look on screen. You can still nitpick them here and there, but for the most part they look like what I recall seeing on television back in 93. The articulation is solid, the paint has been okay for a mass market retail figure, and each figure has come mostly with enough stuff. This time though we’re going into original five territory. These characters were even more uniform with really the only difference being the head and unique weapon. All of them, in the show, were also armed with what was called a Blade Blaster which was a little laser pistol that could turn into a bulky knife. These three should be pretty similar with some room for there to be a clear “best” and “worst,” but my expectation is if one is good then all three should be pretty good. And, of course, if one is bad then they will all probably be bad.

Though I wish they used actual product shots on the rear as opposed to renders. Good luck getting the Black Ranger into that exact pose.

All three Rangers come in the same attractive window box with some unique artwork on the front and side and product shot on the back. The box is also color themed to that specific Ranger and these would probably look just fine to a mint-in-box collector, and for you openers the packaging is fairly durable and can be resealed with minimal effort. Each figure stands a tick over 6″; we’ll call it six and a quarter. And each one is some combination of colored plastic and painted plastic. Since these figures are essentially just two-toned, Hasbro tries to get away with using as little paint as possible and it creates problems. The Black Ranger is the best of the three as black is pretty opaque and plastic painted black and molded black are going to look the same. The molded white and the painted white which shows up at the butterfly joint is a little off, but for the most part he looks good. There’s paint inconsistencies here and there, and one glove has an ugly smudge of black on it, but it’s something you kind of have to deal with as far as this line is concerned. Strangely, he doesn’t have a red ring on his morpher, something all four have, so this is clearly an error on Hasbro’s part. The helmet is at least clean and looks pretty sharp. It was always one of my favorite helmets in the show with the mastodon tusks curling under the visor and it’s recreated here pretty well.

I’m going to be humming the theme song as I drop images into this thing.

Unfortunately, the Red and Blue Rangers are not as good. On these two, the colored plastic and painted plastic is noticeably different. The torso on the Red Ranger in particular is way darker than his limbs to a distracting level. It’s readily apparent in box, and still when removed. When he’s posed on a shelf with his limbs in a more dynamic pose the effect is minimized a bit, but not removed. The same is true of Billy, our Blue Ranger, but it’s not as severe. Instead, he gets to introduce a separate issue and it’s with the white paint on his torso. It’s not nearly opaque enough and the blue plastic shows through it. It’s bizarre for this figure to have this problem when the black figure is fine. These figures were not all released at the same time so it would appear the factory just had a bad run when it came time to manufacture the Blue Ranger because he feels like the clear dud of this trio. He also has the worst helmet of the three too as there’s a paint chip on the center horn and the shape just looks a little off to me. It’s very round. There are some sculpted lines on it, but the plastic is so dark and glossy that they don’t show well. I wish Hasbro had added some paint to bring them out more like they did with the Black Ranger who has some added silver paint. He’s not awful, but this figure is definitely helped by the fact that I’ve always enjoyed the aesthetics of the Blue Ranger, but someone who doesn’t like blue as much as I do would probably have a harsher take here. The Red Ranger also would benefit from some more paint on his helmet to bring out the design.

Hopefully you can tell how dark Jason’s torso is vs his limbs and how thin the white paint on Billy’s diamonds are.

The paint on these guys is definitely a mixed bag, but at least they’re all the same when it comes to articulation. To run it down again, these guys have a ball peg at the head that gives them an acceptable range of motion. Up and down articulation is limited, but it’s fine. We’ve got a ball hinge at the shoulder with a butterfly joint behind it. The combination of molded white and painted white plastic with this joint is a little unsightly, but the range created by the joint is, for the most part, worth it. I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with butterfly joints. There’s a biceps swivel, double-jointed elbow, and the hands rotate and have horizontal hinges, which are bad for these figures. There’s a ball-joint in the diaphragm that provides some tilt forward and back as well as side-to-side. There is an ab crunch that’s mostly useless, and no waist swivel. I wish Hasbro would ditch the ab crunch and just go with a waist swivel. The legs are ball pegs and can kick forward, but not back. They also can’t do a true split, which kind of sucks for acrobatic characters. There’s a thigh swivel, double-jointed knees, a boot cut, and ankle hinges with rockers. The ankles are terrific and will be your best friend when it comes to posing these boys. It’s fine articulation on the whole with obvious room for improvement. Unfortunately, any improvement to it though will be a benefit to other iterations of the Power Rangers as I suspect Hasbro is not going to re-sculpt the Mighty Morphin figures anytime soon. Maybe when they do guys like Rocky and Adam they’ll retool some things, but it’s not something I’d count on. It also should be noted some are more stiff than others, though I can say no joints are loose. My Red Ranger’s elbows were also curved slightly which made working them a bit difficult. I ran them under hot water to try to bend the bow out and was mostly successful. His shoulder hinges are real tight though and he’s a bit more awkward to work with as a result.

The weapons turned out pretty well, at least.
This is the only blast effect among the five Rangers so if you want the combined blaster to fire this is your only option.

The accessories present the most obvious opportunity for these figures to separate themselves from each other as each Ranger had their own unique weapon. For Jason the Red Ranger, it’s the Power Sword. Zach the Black Ranger has the Power Axe, and Billy has the Power Lance. Very creative names, I know. Jason’s sword is just that, a sword. It’s fine, but the lack of vertical hinged hands makes wielding it properly more difficult than it needs to be. Hasbro also painted the handle black, so now I have black smudges on the inside of the hands. Definitely just heat those hands to make them soft when inserting this thing unless you want your figure to have dirty hands too. Zach’s axe suffers from the same hinge fate when wielded as an axe, but it also functions as a gun which the wrist hinges don’t impact much. And it’s pretty cool! It even has a sliding action on it so he can pump it like a shotgun. It’s probably my favorite weapon so far. Billy’s lance is fine, though it’s a bit flimsy so it will often have a slight curve to it. It’s blue plastic, so there’s less fear of rub with this one as the only paint is reserved for the silver trident tips and some minor details. Hasbro packed in separate handheld daggers for Billy as his lance could break in half. This was mostly for when they combine their weapons (which is something the figures can do if you buy all five Rangers), but he can wield these like sais if you wanted. It’s probably the smarter play than just having the lance separate as they would have had to have a separate middle piece that did nothing in order for the lance to be long enough. These weapons are good though, so no real complaints there. Each one also comes with an effects piece for their respective weapon. Jason and Billy have a lighting effect that is blue for both of them. Zach has a blasting effect for when his weapon is used in gun form. It’s a translucent red with sparkles and works pretty well, though it kind of looks like a pumpkin. It does add a lot of weight to the front of the axe so posing him can get challenging when it’s inserted, but not impossible.

Ready for a shoot out.
Zach is the only one who got the memo it was actually a knife fight they were supposed to show up for.

For the blasters, Hasbro continues to confuse. Each Ranger comes with a Blade Blaster in blaster form. It would have been pretty awesome if they could have made a transforming blaster (since the transformation was very simple), but that might have resulted in too fragile a piece so instead there are just regular blasters. The paint on them isn’t great, but the sculpt work at least looks nice. Zach also comes with a Blade Blaster in blade form. This is cool since it was something each Ranger had, though as a weapon it looked really stupid even to an eight year old, but it was in the show so I want the toy to have it. The blade though is permanently extended so it has basically one function. This sucks because in the show the Rangers would holster these weapons in blade form, but with the blade retracted (it was essentially an ugly switchblade). That means each Ranger can’t holster this weapon in a screen-accurate manner. I’m tempted to just snip off the blade, but that won’t solve the issue of the Red and Blue Rangers only having the pistol version. The pistol fits in the holster, but again, it’s not screen accurate and it bothers me. You can brush this aside by saying “Well, this is a line meant to appeal to kids too,” but kids care about that stuff! I was arguably more obsessed with things being screen accurate as a kid than I am now. At the very least, each figure should have come with this bladed version in addition to the gun, but Hasbro got cheap on us. It’s like they put it in with the Black Ranger just to wave it in our face that they could have done this the whole time, but chose not to.

Spare heads, if you want them. Though I can’t imagine anyone wants that Zach.
Yeah, I’m not going to use these.

Lastly, each figure comes with some optional parts. All have two sets of hands: gripping and fists. I appreciate the extras, but fists aren’t very exciting as optional hands. I’d have preferred maybe some chop hands or more style pose hands since these characters did a lot of that in the show. The other optional part is the unmasked head that comes with each. This is a good thing if that’s something that interests you, though I personally won’t ever use them. The likeness for each is based on their original actor so we have Austin St. John as Jason, Walter Jones as Zach, and David Yost as Billy. Of the three, Jason looks the best. It more or less looks like St. John. Billy’s head is okay. It’s a bit goofy and glasses are always hard to get right, but it’s okay. Zach though looks terrible. I don’t know what Hasbro was trying to do with this one. He had dreadlocks in Season Two and I guess that’s what they were going for with this one, but his hair just looks terrible and the face looks nothing like Jones to me. It’s bad. It’s probably a bummer for diehard collectors of Power Rangers who want to assemble a team of every actor who played these characters, at least for a casual fan like me it’s just an ugly lump of plastic that will stay in the box.

All right, it’s face-off time!
“Don’t worry, Tommy! I’ll save you by smashing in your face with my Power Sword!”

This collection of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers is okay. I definitely do not like these figures as much as I did the White and Green Rangers, but I’m not feeling any buyer’s remorse or anything. They get the job done when put on a shelf, it’s when placed under greater scrutiny that some things start to fall apart. I think the Black Ranger is fine, ignoring his ugly unmasked head, and I’m mostly happy with how he turned out. The paint issues on the Red and Blue Rangers are my biggest complaints. I can handwave the inaccurate Blade Blaster and lack of vertical hinges for the hands, but the paint is a bummer because that affects the aesthetics of the figure just as much as the sculpt. The Red Ranger’s elbows, in particular, are ugly because they’re basically a candy apple red and the Blue Ranger has those poorly painted white diamonds on his chest. The thing I keep coming back to is that these are mass market retail figures priced at 20 bucks or less, in most cases. I shouldn’t even expect NECA quality with these things, let alone high end collectibles. Even with that caveat, I still think they’re a little disappointing because this is Hasbro and we know what Hasbro is capable of. Whether it’s Ghostbusters, GI Joe, or Marvel we’ve seen them do much better with paint and certainly matching colored plastic to painted plastic. I can’t recall ever having that be as big an issue with another line as it is here.

Hasbro is able to get a lot of important stuff right with these guys like the overall sculpt and articulation. They also realize that Billy should have a separate set of weapons for when his lance is separated. Then they go and mess up the paint and fail to include holstered Blade Blasters and just do some weird stuff that keeps these from being great. It’s frustrating.

Ultimately, you are free to like or dislike these figures. I suspect most will have mixed feelings, as I do, but I also bet there are some extreme reactions too. For me, I like the aesthetics of these sculpts more than I have any other Power Rangers products, so they work well enough. I always hated the over-muscled look of some of the Bandai figures because these guys aren’t Jim Lee drawings, they were just actors who were probably gymnasts first. If I thought Hasbro was going to do better I might have held off, but I don’t think that will happen unless they do some running changes when they get to the other actors, assuming they do. And if they do, I hope they just cast everything in colored plastic save for the hands and I suppose the boots. And they can also keep the white butterfly joint, I guess, though I think they can do better in color-matching that too. And if that happens, maybe I’ll sell these and upgrade (the Red and Blue, anyways), but maybe I won’t? These get the job done for me, I just think Hasbro can do better and I don’t blame Power Rangers fans if they want to hold Hasbro to a higher standard by ignoring these.


Hasbro Lightning Collection Mighty Morphin White Ranger

Looks like I bought another Power Ranger…

A couple of months ago, I purchased a Green Ranger from Hasbro’s Power Rangers Lightning Collection line of figures. The intent was to sort of replace my vintage Bandai Green Ranger following an unfortunate encounter with my children. I never intended to assemble a full team of Rangers on my shelf, but I am a fool. I was mostly impressed with that Green Ranger figure, and after weeks of seeing him all by himself on my shelf I found myself getting the urge to find him some company. Soon enough, I found myself scrambling to assemble the entire team of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, the only incarnation of the show I watched as a kid. And while I enjoyed the show, I lusted after the toys which were supremely difficult to track down and I never had a full team. I had a head-flipping Green Ranger and my sister had the Pink Ranger and I honestly can’t remember if we got anymore. Now some 30 years later I have the means to assemble a team and Hasbro is willing to throw this line out there for folks like me with arrested development.

No one wants to be lonely.

That original team of Power Rangers consisted of the following colors: red, blue, black, yellow, and pink. The Green Ranger was added shortly after the show started as a villain, who would soon become an ally. You’re probably aware at this point about the show’s unusual development. It’s a Japanese show called Super Sentai and what Saban, the production company with distribution rights outside of Japan, did was cast American actors to play the alter egos of the Power Rangers. They’d shoot that stuff in the US, and then just splice in footage of the rangers in action from the Japanese program and overdub the voices. Since all of the Power Rangers wore helmets, it was easy to dub. The problem with this format is that once you run out of footage you’re kind of screwed, and that’s basically what happened with the Green Ranger. To fix this, they wrote him out of the show by having him lose his powers. They then brought back the character of Tommy Oliver (played by Jason David Frank) as a new Power Ranger: the White Ranger! Only this was even weirder as the White Ranger was from a different iteration of Super Sentai so he looked quite different from the others and often found himself taking on the minions of Lord Zed by himself. This was all stuff I was not aware of as a kid or even noticed, but as an adult it’s kind of fun to go back and watch this stuff with that knowledge.

This is the standard packaging release. There’s also the slightly more fancy “spectrum” packaging sold at Target, but the contents are the same.

In order to assemble a team of Power Rangers on my shelf, you could argue I don’t need both the White and Green Ranger. Well, the White Ranger was one of the easiest to find on store shelves and I do like his design and I’m profoundly weak, so here we are! This figure is quite similar to the Green Ranger as they basically all use the same body as the base of the figure. Hasbro then gives each character a unique headsculpt and weapon while also modifying the sculpt where necessary. For the White Ranger, that means sculpting new forearms and boots as his gloves and boots feature gold cuffs that require new sculpting. He also has gold armbands that are different enough from the Green Ranger that he needs some new tooling there as well. The black and gold vest he wears is a soft plastic addition that just fits over the main body of the figure. He also has a distinct belt and scabbard for his sword making him the figure with probably the most unique tooling in the line as far as the Mighty Morphin brand is concerned.

Ready to throw down.

From a purely aesthetic point of view, Hasbro absolutely nailed this one. Even more so than they did the Green Ranger, who I felt looked pretty damn good as well. For starters, the helmet looks great. There’s a lot of fine detail on it and it would not have surprised me to find paint slop in this area, but it’s all really clean. It’s striking, and I like how his head sits on the body in tandem with the vest, or shield, or whatever that thing is. With the Green Ranger, I felt his head sat a bit too low and his torso looked a little too long, but I think that was caused by the presence of his shield and the White Ranger’s vest mitigates those problems. The sculpting and detail on the vest looks terrific as does the belt and other gold accents on the costume. The hands and boots both feature the same sculpting as the Green Ranger as do the other parts of the body so he has some folds and creases which really bring out that authentic look. The only visual flaw with my figure is the presence of a smudge or scuff on the lower, right, side of his vest that’s barely visible because it’s all black. I did see several of these figures at the store and not all of them were as clean looking as this one, so definitely try to pick him up in person if you want this thing rather than order online. Overall though, I’m quite pleased with how he turned out.

Can he stand on one foot? Hell yeah he can!

While the White Ranger’s sculpt may differ a bit from his green predecessor, his articulation does not. This figure features the same articulation as that figure, but I won’t make you go back and read that review to get a rundown. His head is on a ball-joint and he can look up, down, rotate, and tilt a little. The shoulders are ball-hinged and also possess a butterfly joint which the vest works really well to conceal. There’s a biceps swivel above that gold armband and double-jointed elbows. The hands swivel and have horizontal hinges, which we’ll talk about in a minute. There’s a ball-joint inside the torso that provides great tilt and range of motion and there’s an ab crunch below it if you really want this guy to lurch forward. There’s no waist swivel, but that diaphragm joint works pretty well and I don’t really miss it. You have ball-hinges at the thigh with a thigh swivel just below on each leg. The knees are double-jointed and you get a boot cut as well above the gold cuff. The ankles are hinged and also have terrific “rocker” action as they pivot easily from side-to-side. Really, the only thing I miss is a set of vertical hinged hands, or even just one hand, for proper sword wielding. That’s a fault with the entire line though and not something unique to the White Ranger.

The problem with a talking sword is you never know how to hold it.

The White Ranger comes with a few accessories, but a little less than what the Green Ranger came with. He has his trusty sword at his side, Saba, the weird, talking, tiger thing. It’s his signature accessory and really the only one he actually needs, but it might bug some purists when they find out that Hasbro took some liberties with it. The shape of it looks fine and is largely as I remember, but rather than have a white, tiger, face on the hilt Hasbro chose to paint it all silver. It’s cast in white plastic so maybe someone felt it looked too boring being in white, but it doesn’t really bother me. Again, I’m not a Power Rangers super fan or anything, so others may be bothered by it. The stripes are painted black and are relatively clean. One side of his face is gold, while the other is left silver. I think both sides should be gold and, but I don’t believe this is an error on mine as a quick search of other reviews seems to produce the same thing. I think it would have looked cool if they added a little red to his eyes. I think they would glow in the show, or maybe I just wanted them to. Overall though, it looks okay and it fits in his scabbard if you’re a monster and actually want to pose this guy without the sword in his hand.

He also has this thing for the end of his sword. Is it an energy effect that didn’t exist in the show or just supposed to mimic light shining off his blade? I don’t know.

Aside from Saba, the White Ranger just comes with some additional hands, head, and an effects piece. Out of the box he comes with a right gripping hand and a left karate chop hand. In the box you will find a set of fists. It’s weird that he doesn’t have a left gripping hand, but I guess Tommy was a righty. Since he needs to be able to hold his sword, I doubt most will make use of that right fist, but it’s there if you want it. And it’s good that I’m lukewarm on it because the right hand snapped out of the hinge joint when I tried to remove it. The break was clean and I was actually able to get the hand back into the the joint, but it was a bummer. The second head is an unmasked one, as is the case with all of the figures in this line. It’s Tommy, but with a pony tail which is appropriate for this era. I believe this head was also released with the first Green Ranger Hasbro did, but was then replaced with a more appropriate head in the single release from late last year. The likeness on it is fine, but I’ll never use it once this review is done. I also had trouble getting the helmeted head off of the figure, and after what transpired with the hand, I just cut my losses and let it be. This line is technically for ages 4 and up, so it’s probably cool for kids to have the second head as they play, provided they can actually get the other one off. Lastly, White Ranger has this blue effects piece. It’s very spiky and the plastic is translucent and it has a little slit in it so you can stick it on the end of the sword. I guess it’s supposed to be a shimmering effect? I think that’s what they were going for, but it doesn’t quite work.

Everyone does the pose with the unmasked Ranger holding their helmeted head, but how many do the opposite? This is the content you come here for.

The White Ranger is a pretty fine release. It’s a twenty dollar figure that has mostly great paint, solid articulation, an attractive sculpt, and enough accessories to make him feel like a complete release. If I’m being objective, this is probably a better release than the Green Ranger I reviewed last year, but I’m partial to that character so I don’t know that I enjoy this one more than the other. Basically, I think Hasbro could have done a little better with the hands and effects piece, but otherwise this figure checks all the right boxes. My only real complaint is a lack of a vertically hinged sword hand. I think that’s a problem for the entire line though, so for whatever reason, Hasbro just doesn’t like vertically hinged hands. And then of course the quality control issue I had with the hand is not ideal. The pegs connecting the hands to the forearm are almost needlessly long and in this case the hinge gave out before the peg could be freed. It surprised me because this guy had been out of his box for nearly a week before I really messed with him so he had plenty of time to warm up. I’m tempted to return this one for another, but the hand went back on fine and the hinge is functional so I’ll probably just keep it considering the paint app was solid. This guy is not exclusive to any retailer though and should be pretty easy to get ahold of if you’re looking for him, so get get him if Power Rangers are your thing.


Hasbro Lightning Collection Mighty Morphin Green Ranger

Go! Green Ranger! Go!

In the early days of the ongoing Covid-19 Pandemic I found myself filling the social hole in my heart with toys. That has continued, but in the earliest days I went backwards. I grabbed some toys that I had wanted as a kid, but never got, and I talked about them here. One such toy was the Bandai Dragonzord and Green Ranger from Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. Toys from the show were shockingly hard to come by in 1993 and beyond, and it was something I always wanted despite not really being a huge Power Rangers fan.

Another thing you should know about me is that I’m kind of anal when it comes to toys. Especially my own, and it seems to extend to toys my kids own. I treat my toys well, and as a kid, if I broke one it really ate me up inside. When I got those Power Rangers toys for myself, I also grabbed a Red Ranger and Pink Ranger for my son and daughter. Over the summer, my nephew visited and he wanted to play Power Rangers with my kids. He was nearly 4 at the time, but he’s notoriously mean to his toys. Still, I didn’t want to be the grumpy uncle so I let him play with my Green Ranger. I do not blame the 4 year old for what happened, I blame myself for allowing it to happen. Needless to say, I wouldn’t be telling you this if it was an uneventful play date. It was not, as when I went to put the Green Ranger away at the end of the day I found his head was flopping around. Somehow, the kids managed to break the housing for the neck joint that is in the figure’s chest. It’s an odd setup for head articulation, as I found when I opened the figure up. My attempts at repairing the break failed, so now I have a Green Ranger with a floppy head. Oh, joy.

“Hey man, sorry to hear about your neck.” “Thanks. It’s…it’s fine.”

Just as I was when I was a kid, the broken toy has bothered me ever since. It looks okay on a shelf, the head just sits a little lower than before, but it’s enough to make me want to replace it. Rather than replace it with a vintage toy though, I was able to score a recent release: the Hasbro Lightning Collection Green Ranger. This figure is sold everywhere, but a new packaging variant was released to Target this fall. It’s rather snazzy, though the figure is the same as the other versions out there. I was drawn to it because it’s a more show accurate version of the character. It has the gold armbands, dragon dagger, and black holster. And since it’s a great deal smaller than the vintage figure, it looks a little better beside the Dragonzord than the vintage figure, which is basically the same size as the zord. It’s still not even close to scale, but it is a bit more aesthetically pleasing.

Not a bad look for you mint-in-box collectors.
One blade just isn’t enough.

2020 has been a year for me to get reacquainted with Hasbro. Over the summer I bought a Peter Venkman, a Deadpool two-pack, and more recently a Soundwave from the Transformers RED line. The Green Ranger is definitely similar to the Deadpool I acquired earlier. The body may even be identical to that figure with different paint applications. The neck, torso, and legs especially look to be the same and the articulation is quite familiar at this point. This isn’t a bad thing as the figure differs where it needs to and this sculpt is able to pack-in a great deal of articulation while remaining pleasing to the eye.

Yup, that’s a Green Ranger all right.
You gotta be in shape to wear an outfit like this.

From an aesthetic point of view, the Green Ranger certainly looks the part. The figure is mostly green plastic with the feet and forearms cast in white plastic. The sculpt-work is quite nice. The helmet features all of the details I remember from the show while the gloves and boots contain detail I didn’t even know was there! That’s standard definition for you, but in looking at some pictures from the show today I was able to confirm that these details, like ribbed material across the knuckles, was indeed present in the show. Where things are less impressive is with the paint. The paint application to the gloves and boots is quite sloppy in places with the gold parts in particular. The helmet could have also used a bit more to give it less of a plastic look and the dragon’s teeth around the visor are all silver rather than silver teeth on white. There’s more slop around the morpher and there’s a green dot on the inside of the right foot that really stands out on the white of the boot. At least the paint on the golden shield is neat as that would have really stood out if it was sloppy. I ordered this guy online, but I wish I had run across it in-store so I could have looked a few over and found a better one, but maybe they’re all like this. I should also point out that the chest is unpainted. The shield doesn’t appear to be designed to be removed, but if you did the figure wouldn’t be show accurate as he’s missing the white diamond. Hasbro actually worked in a piece of white plastic in the butterfly joint to create the impression that the undershirt was accurate. It seems rather lazy on their part.

Insert Jason David Frank’s unmistakable “Suh-ya!”

The articulation on those old Bandai toys was pretty impressive for 1993, and isn’t even too bad by 2020 standards, but it doesn’t come close to matching what this guy can do. Nearly everything is articulated here. He can rotate at the head and look up and down as well. The arms can go all the way around and come out to 90 degrees. There’s a butterfly joint that works really well and is also hidden by the shield, which is a nice benefit of that piece. There’s a bicep swivel and double-jointed elbows that allow for a full curl. The wrist rotates and there’s a hinge as well. There’s a ball-joint in the diaphragm that allows Tommy to tilt and rotate with an ab crunch below that which allows him to go back a bit and forward pretty much all the way. Just watch out for the lower point of his shield. The legs can go forward, but not really back. There’s a thigh swivel, double-jointed knees, boot cut, and ankle hinges with ankle rockers. Really, the only things he lacks are a true waist swivel and a toe hinge, neither of which are really needed. The only thing I wish he had was a side-to-side hinge on at least one hand for wielding his sword or dagger. He can achieve a variety of poses though and is well-balanced so he can even do the old one foot kicking position.

I always did like that evil sword.
Now we’re having fun!
Here’s an image you can hear.

The Green Ranger comes with a few accessories. He has his trusty Dragon Dagger which fits into his holster and he’s able to hold just fine. He can’t quite get it to his “mouth,” but you can get him into poses where it looks like he’s at least getting ready to summon the Dragonzord. He can play it off to the side, but it doesn’t really look the part. He also has his evil sword, or Sword of Darkness, if I remember it correctly. It’s the sword he used when he was in the employ of Rita Repulsa. It’s a nasty looking, curved, blade with a tassel at the end that’s sculpted plastic. It looks cool and it gives him something else to wield aside from the dagger. There’s also a green lightning effect piece that can attach to it that looks pretty impressive. He also has two extra hands. He come with gripping hands in the box which work well for both weapons. The extra hands are a closed, left, fist and an open, pinching, right hand that’s probably meant to work with the dagger as the hand pressing the flute buttons. Lastly, he comes with an alternate, unmasked, head featuring Tommy with his long hair and green bandana. It looks fine, but I’m probably never going to use it. Both weapons are well-sculpted and the paint is fine on both of them, which is a relief considering the paint issues on the main figure. The paint on the alternate head also looks great and they even remembered his lone earring.

Hey! It worked!
He can also go unmasked if that’s your preference.

Fans of the Power Rangers seems pretty enthused about Hasbro’s Lightning Collection and it’s easy to see why based on this one figure. This figure really looks great, especially considering it retails for right around 20 bucks. I even scored this for less as Target had a promotion running at the time that I wasn’t able to use on the NECA products I had purchased. It’s a shame the paint wasn’t a little better, but that’s pretty much the only negative piece of criticism I have for this one. The sculpt is quite good and the articulation is fantastic. It may be hard to get him into a proper flute mode, but I honestly don’t know how Hasbro could have done better. Best of all though, is that this figure just hits the right nostalgia points. If I had this toy when I was 10 I would have been over the moon. Similarly, whenever I see him next to the Dragonzord I’m going to get that little rush of excitement. Like I said, I’m not a huge Power Rangers fan, but this figure makes me want to be. Wish me luck in suppressing that urge, for the sake of my wallet.


Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie

In 1995 the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers were at the height of their powers. The show had premiered on Fox Kids in the summer of 1993 and was basically an instant hit. Saban Entertainment churned out 60 episodes for that first season followed by a 52 episode second season which finished airing in early 1995. When it comes to successful children’s properties, most executives want to strike while the property is burning bright so a movie was fast-tracked for summer 1995. It would be a whole different kind of production as the television show was a mash-up of three separate shows. The Power Rangers as teens was all shot in California, while the majority of the action was taken from Super Sentai, a long-running Japanese action-adventure television series. To make things more complicated, the White Ranger was introduced in Season Two even though he was featured in an entirely different season of Sentai which is how you end up with three distinct source productions.

For the movie, 20th Century Fox stepped in and took over for the notoriously cheap Saban Entertainment. Saban was so cheap that by the time the second season ended three actors had been replaced with new ones. Austin St. John, Walter Emanuel Jones, and Thuy Tran had been replaced as the red, black, and yellow rangers when the three tried forming a union to request better wages. The actors reportedly were making $600 per week and we’re being asked to do their own stunts as well. For a hugely successful show, one would think they were justified in requesting a raise. Saban though is run by Haim Saban, the same executive who reasoned that the writers for the wildly successful X-Men cartoon should take a pay cut for the second season because now that the show was a hit, writers should be banging down on his door to write for it. The three original Rangers were replaced by Steve Cardenas, Johnny Yong Bosch, and Karan Ashley while the other three who declined not to unionize (Jason David Frank, Amy Jo Johnson, and David Yost) remained.

The Power Rangers leap onto the big screen with new, armored, costumes.

It’s for that reason that it feels like Fox was just a few months late with the movie. Had the more memorable, and frankly better, characters made it to the big screen it probably would have had more of an impact. Then again, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers isn’t really a film that asks much of its heroes, save for them to mostly look cool and jump around. There’s one memorable line from the Rangers in the entire film, so basically anyone could have played these parts.

With Fox on board it meant someone else got to foot the bill other than Saban. It’s not uncommon for a movie based on a television property to look much better than its small screen counterpart, but for this film it was clear that Fox really wanted to make that point. The Power Rangers have their recognizable costumes, but they’re now padded with armor plating. The villainous Lord Zedd’s (Mark Ginther) exposed brain now throbs with every line of dialogue and his right hand monster, Goldar (Kerry Casey), gets to sport glowing red eyes and re-worked face. The end result is a bit of a mixed bag for the characters we’re familiar with. Zedd looks quite menacing, while the Power Rangers look more like motocross participants and Goldar is actually less menacing than he was on television.

Ivan Ooze is the true star of this one.

What does work is the film’s new lead villain. The basic story is a strange artifact shows up at a dig site that contains the ancient evil Ivan Ooze (Paul Freeman). He apparently caused some trouble many years ago and an older version of the Power Rangers, together with their leader Zordon (Nicholas Bell), defeated him and sealed him away. Zedd is aware of the discovery and sees an opportunity to enlist Ooze’s help to defeat the Power Rangers and take over the world, but Ooze has other ideas. He traps Zedd and his bride, Rita Repulsa (Julia Cortez), in a snowglobe and takes over his operations with his own goal for global domination. He attacks Zordon and lays waste to the command center of the Power Rangers sapping them of their powers. The Rangers are then forced to use the last of their powers to warp to a distant planet to find a greater power in the hope that it will allow them to save Zordon and defeat Ivan Ooze for good.

The film marks the theatrical debut for director Bryan Spicer who worked with John Kamps and Arne Olsen to craft the story and script for the film. It’s a very basic story of a bad guy stripping a hero of their power and forcing them to find a new source to train, power-up, and return. It’s actually very similar to the plot of the first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film in which the heroes lose their surrogate father and have to leave for a period only to come back and save the day. The film is only an hour and thirty-five minutes, but it’s a long hour and thirty-five minutes as there’s a lot of padding to be found. The film begins with a lengthy, and pointless, sky-diving sequence which gives way to an extended roller-blading outing for the Rangers. I guess the idea was to make the heroes look cool while also hitting that magic 90 minute running-time, but there’s a lot of pointless stuff going on.

The Power Rangers also have new, ninja, outfits to show off which means Bandai has more toys it can sell.

The acting presented here is about what you would expect. The Rangers themselves are rather wooden, but they’re also given some of the worst lines to work with. Tommy, played by Jason David Frank, is perhaps miscast as the leader of the bunch since he struggles with basically every line except for “It’s morphin’ time!” I say “perhaps miscast” because I am not sure any of the others really demonstrate anything better. Amy Jo Johnson, who plays Kimberly the Pink Ranger, is probably the best of the bunch, but even she isn’t given a whole lot. Worse is that she and Aisha, the Yellow Ranger, seem to constantly find themselves in peril calling out for help from the male Rangers in virtually every conflict. This is a departure from the show where the girls are freely allowed to kick some ass and even bail out their male comrades. There’s also a romance angle shoe-horned into the relationship of Tommy and Kimberly, but there’s absolutely no chemistry to be found between the two actors.

As is the case with the television show, the real stars of the film are the villains. Lord Zedd and Rita Repulsa are a fun odd-couple pairing, for the brief time they’re around. They make me smile when they’re on screen, and I would have been very disappointed with how they’re written out if not for the presence of Paul Freeman’s Ivan Ooze. Ooze is a ridiculous looking villain, which is perfect for a film like this one that has a bit of a B-movie vibe going for it. He’s funny, flamboyant, and the pile of prosthetics Freeman is forced to wear do not cover-up his face so he’s free to emote and use his facial expressions to further enhance the character. He’s easily the best part of the film and it’s almost a shame he had to endure so many hours in a makeup chair for such a picture.

My children found movie Zordon frightening.

Where the film really takes a turn for the worse is in its desire to elevate the product above the television show. The show is formulaic and repetetive, but it’s not without its charm. The cheap effects are endearing, and the bad rock music soundtrack has a way of worming its way into your ear. Note that I don’t consider the main theme song, “Go, Go, Power Rangers!” as among the bad. That song is perfect for what it is. For the film, licensed music is brought in as is often the case for summer blockbusters. There are songs from The Red Hot Chili Peppers and Van Halen to go along with the techno-rock score that just isn’t nearly as fun as the television soundtrack. It causes the property to have a sense of being in over its head, like it doesn’t belong, when in reality the soundtrack was aiming to do the opposite.

“Mega” is not the way I would describe this Megazord.

Worse than the soundtrack though, are the effects. There are a great many instances of practical effects in this film, which is what is appropriate for the franchise. Some of them get a little silly, like the White Ranger doing a comical amount of flips through the air. His deployment of his sentient sword, Saba, is also awesomely bad. What can’t be forgiven though is the CG finale. The film only had a budget of roughly $20 million so no one would expect Jurassic Park CG, but where the films errs is in its attempt to make the zords, giant robots piloted by the Power Rangers, entirely CG. Same with the evolved form of Ooze which features a frozen face completely removing the character’s strength. The zords are just brutal to look at and it’s a real shame that the studio didn’t just pour money into making awesome costumes for the stunt performers. The Rangers even get new, more powerful, zords, but kids were likely left underwhelmed at the end result. They do show up in the TV show in a manner fans were accustomed to, and they look light years ahead of what’s presented here.

You would probably believe me if I said this was from a PlayStation game, not a major Hollywood blockbuster.

I decided to watch Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie largely because my kids have been watching the original show and it’s been a fun trip down memory lane for me. I honestly can’t remember if I had ever sat down and watched this movie beforehand, but if I did I can see why it wasn’t very memorable. I was hoping for more camp and plenty of humor, some intentional and some unintentional, but the film really doesn’t deliver. The only redeeming part of it for me was Ivan Ooze, and when he’s not on screen I’m just not entertained, save for one line by Johnny Yong Bosch when he finds out he’s receiving the powers of a frog. The film was a hit as it reportedly made over $60 million at the box office plus it probably made a bunch more in merchandising. Despite that though, there was no Mighty Morphin sequel. Instead, we got Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie in 1997 which bombed at the box office. The franchise was also rebooted in 2017 as simply Power Rangers, but it didn’t perform well enough to warrant a sequel and rumor has it the film franchise is destined for another reboot. The show is still going though and it seems like the type of series that will last forever at this point. It’s just a shame that its best era received such a dismal feature.


Bandai Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Megazord

It was now a couple of weeks ago I posted about some toys I always wanted as a kid, but never got. Shortly after, I rectified some of those decades old injustices by purchasing the Dragonzord with Green Ranger from Bandai’s Mighty Morphin Power Rangers line of action figures from 1993. The Dragonzord was my number 2 miss, but number 1 had always been the Deluxe Megazord from that same line. Well, predictably, I have now made peace with the two biggest toy omissions from my youth by securing my own set of Dinozords!

The Megazord was always appealing to me because it was essentially five separate toys that could combine into two additional toys. That’s basically seven toys in one box, and the fact that it was pretty screen accurate made it appeal to me even more. I was just a casual fan of the television show, but those toys were just too awesome to ignore. The demand for the toys was something I couldn’t overcome though, so I learned to go without. As an adult though, I don’t have to.

“We need Dinozord power now!”

I purchased a Megazord secondhand. Unlike the Dragonzord set I acquired, this one did not come with a box, but it did come with all of the parts. In my search for an authentic early 90s Megazord I found it was common to find some missing the sword, shield, and especially the canons that double as feet for the pterodactyl zord. Some also would feature a broken gun on the triceratops zord or missing horns. I assume most of these that were acquired in 1993 were played with and not kept on a shelf so it’s not a surprise that it’s hard to find a fully intact Megazord. It’s also why these things end up being quite expensive. I don’t feel as good about the price I paid for this set as I did the Dragonzord, but it is what it is. I’m actually relieved the seller no longer had the box or else I probably would have had to spend more!

Like the Dragonzord, I had some options when it came to buying a Megazord in 2020. Bandai released two different versions of the Megazord in 2010 as part of the Legacy line of figures. That one, from what I can tell based on video reviews, is very similar to this one. The functionality is virtually identical as both basically transform as it did on television. The standard 2010 version has a pretty ugly sword, but there was an updated version with some diecast parts and a much nicer looking sword. Overall, the 2010 Megazord appears to be a touch smaller, but the thing that bugged me about it is the triceratops zord lost the gun articulation on its tail. It’s a really minor thing, but it irritated me because it’s a clear downgrade. The 2010 version should have been superior in every way to a toy released in 1993! Also like the Dragonzord, there’s a Soul of Chogokin version from Tamashii Nations. It’s fantastic looking and easily the superior Megazord, but it’s also upwards of $300 at this point. There was also a model kit, Mini-Pla, version that’s almost adorably small and still retains the five zords into one (unlike the Build-A-Figure version from the Legacy Collection line that’s just an action figure) that I would have loved to consider, but it’s long since sold out and now fetches around 200 bucks on the secondary market. Ultimately, it was the 93 Megazord that vexed me as a kid so it was the 93 Megazord that I should acquire.

On their own, they’re merely okay, but put them together…

In case you’re not familiar with the Megazord concept, please allow me to present this refresher. The Megazord is the combination of the five Dinozords. Each of the five original Power Rangers was aligned with a prehistoric beast and each Ranger controlled what is essentially a giant robotic representation for each beast. They are: Tyranosaurus, Pterodactyl, Triceratops, Sabre-toothed Tiger (sic), and Mastodon. In nearly every episode, the monster of the day the Power Rangers are fighting grows to roughly the size of a skyscraper, so the Rangers attack via their zords. They can attack separately, though rarely do. Instead, they combine their beasts into one massive robot: the Megazord.

The Megazord actually has two forms: tank mode and battle mode. Tank mode is the less elegant version as it’s basically just the Megazord, but sitting down without a head. The T-Rex serves as the body, and the sabre-toothed tiger and triceratops form the right and left legs respecitively. The mastodon zord loses its head and wraps around the T-Rex to form the arms of the Megazord while the pterodactyl zord just sort of rides on the thing. The feet of the pterodactyl become the canons which attach to the mastodon arms, while the mastodon head sits on the T-Rex chest and the whole thing rolls similar to a tank.

There’s the face you know and love!

When the Power Rangers want to switch to the more memorable battle mode, the tank basically just stands up. The mastodon head is removed and the pterodactyl becomes a chest plate. The T-Rex head folds down and into its chest revealing the Megazord’s head and hands pop out of the arms. The canons from before are affixed to the Megazord’s back and look like boosters or something. The Megazord can attack with its fists, or rely on the power sword. The mastodon head can also be utilized as a shield, though it rarely was used in the show in this fashion.

Both transformations are essentially identical in how they occur with the toy as they do on television. This is probably due to the designer of the Megazord having to account for future toys down the road. At least, that’s what I assume. The show really only takes liberties in that once the models combine on the show, they’re swapped out with a costumed actor and the proportions change slightly. The most notable being the head of the costumed performer is much larger than what ends up on the toy. The only other aspect of the toy that isn’t entirely screen accurate is the T-Rex tail, which kind of just disappears on TV but is folded up the back of the toy. And the actor is able to move in a far more graceful manner than the toy. The Megazord is basically only articulated at the shoulders and hips and they’re just hinge joints. The lack of ball-jointed shoulders and basic elbow articulation really limit the available poses for the toy as it basically can only assume one position on your shelf.

This version of the Megazord is composed almost exclusively of colored plastic. This means there’s less opportunity for paint-slop and chipping over the years. The graphics and highlights are all done with stickers so when buying secondhand you’re at the mercy of whomever originally put these stickers on. Like the Dragonzord, the stickers aren’t 100% screen accurate, but it’s really only noticeable when doing a direct comparison. It doesn’t look like the original toy asked too much of parents and kids when it came to applying them and my unit looks as good as one could expect of a toy from 1993. It was clearly loved and enjoyed by a kid long ago and it shows. The sword is quite attractive as it has a shiny paint-app and is probably the portion of the figure that would be most likely to show ware. Same for the similar chrome portions of the other zords, namely the mastodon tusks and triceratops horns.

Whether you have instructions or not, transforming the Megazord is rather easy since you can basically just watch the show. The individual zords offer limited play. The mastodon and triceratops basically just sit there, though the triceratops has wheels. The pterodactyl also doesn’t do much, but since it’s a flier it doesn’t have to. The little canons can clip to it like feet, but they look stupid and I don’t recall seeing them in the show. The saber-toothed tiger has solid articulation though and it can emulate a running motion while also featuring moveable fangs. It’s a shame Bandai didn’t go the extra step of putting a hinged jaw on this one. The tyranosaurus has about as much function as you would expect, though it’s a little disappointing that it’s mouth has a big, red, wad, of plastic for the throat that makes it look odd. The connections are easy to utilize and pull apart just as easily, but they also won’t just fall off. The only complicated part is the mastodon which basically splits down the middle and clips around the T-Rex. Both of the leg zords are super simple, especially the triceratops which just has to fold its tail in and bend its neck, and even kids should be able to handle it.

In hand, the Megazord has some nice weight to it. It stands about ten and a half inches tall and is noticably larger than the Dragonzord, which is about nine and a quarter inches to the top of the head. Since it’s all plastic, it does get a bit creaky. The joints on mine are still fairly tight and I have no issues getting the Megazord to hold its arms out forward, basically it’s lone pose. On the individual zords, the tails of the triceratops and saber-tooth tiger are loose and getting them to stand in a blasting pose is a balancing act. The T-Rex tail is also a bit loose and doesn’t stay locked in place for very long. That’s also partly due to the toy needing to be bent forward at a pretty extreme angle so the legs don’t interfere with the tail. The little flaps that are the pterodactyl’s wings are also fairly loose, but they also don’t have to do much. All of the connections though are really satisfying and it’s a lot of fun to plug and play. It makes a nice clicking sound when things are put together and it’s really impressive what Bandai achieved since it seems like there’s little chance of forcing something into place at the risk of breaking it.

Of course, the fun doesn’t end here. If you have the Dragonzord, you can take advantage of that as well. The Dragonzord has a battle mode in which it basically assumed the role of the T-Rex zord in the Megazord construction. The mastodon becomes the arms as the chest piece is removed and the Dragonzord arms fold in to make a new chest piece. A face can then fall down from the Dragonzord head while the legs of the Megazord serve the same purpose here. The T-Rex and pterodactyl are free to do whatever they wish, and in the show the T-Rex would often fight alongside the Dragonzord in this battle mode, though in toy form the scale is way off. The Dragonzord’s tail also combines with the former chest piece and the included shaft to make the Power Lance, or Power Lazer Drill (as the box refers to it as). It’s pretty neat to behold, and like the Megazord the transformation process is really satisfying. The only thing I don’t like about it is the drop-down face on the Dragonzord has nothing behind it so it kind of just swings there. And while the lance is pretty cool looking, it’s functionally useless since it’s so huge. It has a handle that basically just rests in the hand of the zord, but the zord itself can’t actually wield the thing. Modern iterations make this aspect work better by fudging with the scale just like the show does by including an extra lance for play purposes.

If you wish to leave your Megazord intact though, you can still combine it with the Dragonzord to from the Mega-Dragonzord. This one is a bit less interesting as it’s basically the Dragonzord with the chest and tail removed and draped over the top of the Megazord. The tail can clip onto one of the sides, as can the discarded chest piece of the Dragonzord, though it basically just looks cool. This version of the character was deployed more like a tank in the show as it would just shoot a giant laser at the enemy as opposed to battling with fists and sword or whatever. It’s also this version that can combine with the unfortunately named carrier zord, Titanus, to form the Ultrazord. It’s another tank-like mode and the only change is the chest of Titanus is clipped onto the chest of the Mega-Dragonzord as it’s placed inside the carrier zord. I never really cared for the Ultrazord as a kid, so I have little compulsion to go after a Titanus so you probably shouldn’t expect a review of that one to come.

I don’t see myself getting a Titanus to form the Ultrazord.

There’s no doubt in my mind that had I been able to collect this line as a kid I would have loved the hell out of it. These are some of the best toys of the early 90s and it’s no surprise they ended up being incredibly popular. I could see myself transforming and de-transforming these things constantly and swapping in all manner of other action figures I had laying around as bad guys, maybe even big stuffed animals. I was also the type of kid that could busy himself for long stretches of time just playing with my action figures so imagination was never an issue. Not that these toys even require much since they’re so similar to what was presented in the show.

Acquiring both the Megazord and the Dragonzord has certainly scratched an itch for me. I don’t think it’s going to lead to much more from me where Power Rangers are concerned, but who knows? My kids have really taken to it, and I read Hasbro is looking to release a Megazord later this year so I may need to keep an eye out for that if my kids remain interested. In looking at the other iterations that have come, I’m certainly tempted to by the Soul of Chogokin version, but I likely won’t be able to justify the expense and take on another line of collecting. That’s fine though, because I have what I always wanted. It may have taken nearly three decades, but I finally have a Megazord!


Bandai Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Dragonzord

So a week ago I did a post that I titled The Toys that Got Away. It was about toys that I had pined for as a child, but for one reason or another, was unable to ever acquire. It wasn’t intended to be a sympathy piece or anything, because I had an awesome childhood and rarely was left wanting, and was intended to be a shared experience piece as everyone can likely recall a toy or other item that they wanted really bad at one point in time, but never attained. Well, the thing with toys is that they never go away. Sure, they disappear from store shelves (and in the case of toy stores, sometimes the very shelves disappear) and eventually go out of production, but there’s almost always a robust after-market for even the most obscure of toys. And once a kid becomes an adult, they usually have access to more money and that’s certainly the case for me so after making that post I went out and did the predictable: I bought a Dragonzord.

Back in 93, I found myself a fan of the show Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. Many kids at the time could claim the same and Bandai was unprepared for the show’s popularity. And that’s important because Bandai handled the distribution of toys which meant that come Christmas 1993 a lot of kids wondered why there were no Power Rangers under the tree. I was definitely one of those kids, to a point, but I think my fandom took hold more in 1994. That’s when I found a flyer for the Dragonzord which came bundled with an 8″ Green Ranger action figure. I hung onto that advertisement for months telling anyone who would listen that I wanted that for my birthday when the summer came around. I figured that was enough time for my mom or grandmother to find it somewhere, but alas I was wrong. I couldn’t tell you what I did get, probably some Genesis games, maybe some X-Men toys, but I did not get a Dragonzord.

It’s been 26 years and I’ve hung onto that. Not that it has haunted me or anything, but any time I encounter the Power Rangers franchise I inevitably think about those old toys I was unable to acquire. Recently, I’ve started watching the original series on Netflix with my own kids and they seem to like it. The show is just as insane as I remember and it often feels like it’s making up the rules of the setting as it goes along. As an adult, it’s really easy to now notice when the old footage from Japan is spliced into the American production. It’s still pretty fun, in a good-bad way, but more than anything it just constantly reminds me how much I felt I had missed out when it came to the toys.

After doing some light research, I decided to just go for it. Going after a Dragonzord in 2020 presents more options. Bandai reissued the big guy as part of its Legacy line and Tamashii Nations has also released one semi-recently as part of its Soul of Chogokin premium collector line. There’s even a mini-one from a separate line of model kits that was really tempting, but in the end I felt I had to just get the one I had wanted as a kid. Maybe I’ll be tempted to upgrade at a later date with a more modern one, but I feel like I’d be doing my inner child a disservice by not getting the one I had wanted all those years ago.

I was able to score a Dragonzord complete in box on eBay along with the coveted Green Ranger (aka the best Ranger). I feel a little crazy in doing it since I don’t consider myself a Power Rangers fan. I have no idea where I’ll end up putting this thing, but I finally have a Dragonzord.

Before this guy arrived I tried to keep my expectations in check. This is, after all, a toy from the early 90s and it’s not going to compare to what I’m used to buying these days. It’s also the Dragonzord, a character that was pretty stationary in the show. He’s got stubby arms and basically no neck. He can kind of walk and has a tail with a drill-bit at the end, but mostly he’s supposed to just stand there and look cool (unless you have a Megazord to combine him with). And then there’s also the fact that this is a used toy with stickers that have already been applied that likely aren’t going to look great now.

The box the figures come in is pretty intense looking. Mine, being used and supposedly stashed in an attic, is pretty beat-up, but the graphics are all intact. There’s even some bios on the side of the box and, of course, advertisements for the rest of the line on the rear. It’s a pseudo-window box release as there’s a space for the Green Ranger to peek through, so buyers knew they were getting the figure as well. To see the main event though, you have to open the box up.

The Dragonzord comes packaged without his chest piece and everything is housed tightly in styrofoam. There are instructions for how to piece the thing together and also how to integrate it with other sets. There would have been a sticker sheet as well, but that’s not the case with a used set. His tail is in one pice, and there’s also a stand, base, and handle for the Power Lance for use when combined with the Megazord set. The Green Ranger comes with his golden shield on so he looks cool in the box. I assume his blade-blaster was holstered as well originally.

The Green Ranger stands a little over eight inches tall – let’s call it eight and a quarter. In 1994 this line represented a new era in terms of articulation, though by today’s standards it’s not quite as good. Tommy is articulated with a balljoint at the neck that actually sits below the neckline and in the figure’s chest. Mine is a little loose, but he holds a pose no problem and has a good range of motion there. His shoulders, on the other hand, are nice and tight and they’re on balljoints as well. He has a bicep swivel, and hinges at the elbows, wrist, and knuckles. The thumbs are frozen in place, and the index finger on each hand is a separate piece to give him trigger-finger poses. His legs are on balljoints with swivels above the knee. The knee is a standard hinge joint and there’s a hinge joint at the ankle as well. Excepting the neck, all of the joints are good and tight on my figure so he can hold any pose I can put him in. He doesn’t have quite enough articulation to achieve a wealth of posing options as he’s really harmed by the lack of waist and torso articulation, but if I had a team of Rangers I could probably get a decent display out of them.

The sculpt for this figure is the same sculpt Bandai used for all of Rangers. For the males, it’s fine, but for the females it looked worse. He’s got some bulk to him, but nothing outlandish. A lot of the figure is molded plastic, save for the white diamonds on the body and the green ones on the gloves and boots. The only other paint is reserved for the helmet and it’s nice and clean. The shield is a hard, light, plastic and it clasps together at the top seam. It can easily be removed and if done so the chest features a power coin design, something Bandai did with all of these figures even though no such design is featured in the show. For the Green Ranger, the coin image also looks like Titanus for some reason, as opposed to the Dragonzord or the emblem he has in the show. Students of the show will also notice that the Green Ranger isn’t 100% accurate as he’s missing the gold bands around his biceps, and his gloves and boots should have gold trim. The green diamonds should also be triangles. This is Bandai just being cheap as they copied the same design as the other Rangers, just switching in green. Even still, he looks the part enough and is an attractive piece. The only other negative is those hands are a bit annoying. Articulated fingers were a bad idea, but we didn’t know it at the time. It can be more challenging than it should be to get the blaster into one of the hands and have it look right. The blaster is also unpainted, but that was pretty common of accessories back in the 90s. Also of note, there’s no dragon dagger! Oh well.

Now lets talk about the big guy. The Dragonzord is only slightly taller than the Green Ranger as he’s just a tick under eleven inches. Future zords in this line would come with tiny representations of the Ranger pilot, which actually would have made a lot of sense for this figure had Bandai thought of it since the Green Ranger sometimes stood on the Dragonzord’s head. The Dragonzord has a lot of stickers that I thankfully did not have to put on. Some have taken a beating and could use some glue, but all in all this guy looks pretty nice for an almost 30 year old toy. As anticipated, there isn’t a whole lot of articulation to speak of. He basically can move his legs only. The drill-tip of the tail can spin, and if you disengage the arms from the body you can kind of gain a little articulation there, but that’s pretty much it. The horn on his head can also slide back and forth as I think it’s supposed to position straight-up for the fighting mode transformation. He’s basically a dragon-shaped tank so he’s not supposed to do much aside from just stand there and look cool.

The Dragonzord disassembles pretty easily, and I presume attaching him to the Megazord components would be just as easy. Everything clicks together in a very satisfying manner, and the designer took care to make sure parts can only go in a certain way to keep things simple. Popping off the tail is a cinch and from there the whole body basically splits in two with the chest piece sliding out from there. The chest piece is battery operated and is supposed to blink and make Dragonzord sounds, but mine arrived with two batteries that long ago burst inside it so mine does not function. With the chest piece out, you can also drop open the Dragonzord’s mouth to reveal a robotic face underneath for when it’s combined with some of the Megazord parts to go into its fighting mode. It’s in that mode that it’s supposed to use the Power Lance, which is just the chestpiece affixed to a separate part and the tail attaches to the top. It’s a very cumbersome-looking weapon, but it’s still pretty cool. The whole unit has some nice weight to it. It’s a bit creaky, but doesn’t feel cheap.

That’s a big lance.

As a toy in 2020, this thing is actually still pretty cool. There’s not a whole lot that can be done to improve the Dragonzord. The tail isn’t entirely accurate as it’s supposed to be longer with more segmented parts, but then the Power Lance would look even more ridiculous. Modern toys basically just include extra pieces for the tail that get discarded when the lance is formed, but Bandai was likely looking to keep the extra pieces at a minimum since kids tend to lose them (plus they add cost). Some of the sculpting could be better, like the hands of the Dragonzord which feature stickers for the missile portions. For the most part though, this looks like the thing from my television so there’s little to nitpick. The Green Ranger could obviously have better articulation and a paint-job that better matches the show, but even he still looks pretty cool. Never underestimate the appeal of a shiny, golden, shield.

As a result, I have no regrets about picking this guy up. I do wish I had inquired with the seller regarding the electronics as that wasn’t disclosed in the listing, but I honestly don’t know if it would have stopped me from buying it. I could always buy another chest piece as loose parts show up on eBay from time to time anyway. And since this is an old toy, I don’t feel as much anxiety when I let my kids play with it. The only worry I have is that shield on the Green Ranger getting broken. Mostly, now I just wish I had a Megazord to combine with this one!


The Toys that Got Away

My whole life I have loved toys. Anytime I had money as a kid I wanted to spend it on a new toy, for my birthday I always wanted more toys, and when it came time to write Santa a letter I asked for more toys. Most kids like toys, that’s a given, but I feel like many mix in some other loves as well. Maybe arts and crafts, movies, books, comics, etc. And I liked a lot of that stuff too, but not enough to sacrifice even a tiny fraction of my toy allotment. As an adult, my love continues though I’m not as single-minded when it comes to my pursuits and hobbies. Though even now, few things thrill me in such a unique way as a brand new toy.

For a kid with a middle-class upbringing, I really wasn’t left wanting for too much. My parents usually delivered around the holidays and I had a grandmother that seemed to enjoy buying me toys as much as I enjoyed receiving them. It also helped that I liked action figures and they usually weren’t too expensive. Most Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cost less than a Barbie, and I never really got into more expensive properties like Transformers and Lego. Sure, I had a few from both lines here and there, but for the most part I focused on one major franchise.

Even though I rarely lacked for anything, inevitably there’s always something that remains elusive. Either the toy was hard to find or it arrived at an inopportune time, but there are a few items that vexed me as a child enough to still leave a lasting imprint. Now that I’m an adult, there’s sometimes a temptation to try and fill that void now that I have the means, even though I know doing such is often fleeting. A recent reintroduction of a certain property to my life has recalled some of these feelings though and is serving as the genesis for this post, and I’ll save those for last. This post though is about the toys I never got as a kid, but am sorely tempted to seek out now.

Venom II – Toy Biz 1992

Toy Biz had the comic book figure on lockdown in the 80s and 90s. It even held both the Marvel and DC license at the same time, before it eventually became owned by Marvel through one of the venerable comic book company’s many bankruptcy filings. Toy Biz no longer exists now, but it was best known for its Marvel action figures and the first line was simply referred to as Marvel Super Heroes. As part of that line’s second series, a Venom action figure was introduced. It came with a plastic spider that resembled the insignia on Venom’s chest. It could be inserted into a rather large hole on the figure’s back and squeezing it caused black goo to ooze from a hole on the figure’s chest. Eventually, a running change would be made to replace the spider with a generic red plunger that was instead intended to just use water instead of slime. The lame gimmick, combined with the giant hole it required exist in the figure, made this Venom kind of shitty.

Toy Biz rectified this with a new figure in 92. I recalled seeing it for what felt like a year on the back of other card-backs, but never could find it in stores. This Venom was leaner with a bit more articulation. It’s gimmick was a tongue-flicking action controlled by a little button on the figure’s back which was simple and didn’t detract much from the sculpt. It also came with a chest attachment that I guess was meant to create the illusion of a living costume, but it was kind of dumb. Venom would become my favorite Marvel character, due mostly to my dad taking me to a flea market where he bought me a copy of Lethal Protector #1. When the Spider-Man cartoon arrived in 94, it meant more Venom action figures so even though I really wanted this one, the sting of never finding him was mostly removed. This is the only toy on this list that I did seek out as an adult. Since I have him now, I can say if I had been able to find one in 92 it probably would have been one of my favorite toys for a long time, at least until the Venom II from the cartoon line with removable mask.

Monty Moose – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1993)

I had a lot of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles toys as a kid, most of which are now gone which is unfortunate (kids, don’t let your parents throw away your old action figures!). That line was fairly easy to collect because it was well distributed and also pretty affordable. When the first figures came out, they retailed for $3.99 in my area – that’s a mere two visits from the Tooth Fairy! Because for a few years Turtles were all I wanted I usually cleaned-up at Christmas and birthdays and as a result there were only a few I didn’t get that I really wanted. Some of them included really popular characters like Baxter Stockman and the Rat King, but for some reason the only one that bothers me a little today is Monty Moose.

Monty even got featured in a commercial, though he never made it into the cartoon.

I don’t know what it was about Monty Moose I found so appealing. Moose are kind of funny looking in general, and Monty Moose certainly looked a bit odd with his huge antlers and long snout. I also really liked the blue and red color combo as a kid, so he was just eye-catching to me. And I saw him in a store on one occasion. It was an Osco Drug, which I don’t think even exists anymore. For those who don’t remember, Osco Drug is basically like a CVS or Walgreen’s and it was a store that was never known for its toy selection. My mom and I had to go into one for a prescription for some reason, it wasn’t our usual pharmacy, and we walked down the toy aisle and I saw Monty Moose staring back at me. I tried to get my mom to buy it for me, but I think my birthday was coming up so she was in no mood to buy me a toy with that on the horizon. My birthday would come and go and I had to beg my mom to take me back to that specific store now that I had some birthday money. She thought it was silly to go to a pharmacy, of all places, to spend birthday money, but she took me and of course the figure was gone. I’d never see him again.

Batman Returns Batmissile Batmobile – Kenner 1993

Despite being a bit dark, the Tim Burton Batman films were a merchandising behemoth for DC and Warner Bros. I had a few toys from the first film and the supplemental series Kenner produced in-between, but what really caught my attention was the Batmobile from Batman Returns. If you recall, in the film, the Batmobile demonstrates a new ability to shed the sides of the vehicle to take on the form of a skinny, missile-like, vehicle to fit through a narrow alley. Kenner made a Batmbile that could do the same with the push of a button, and when I saw the commercial I immediately wanted it.

I do wonder how well this thing actually worked.

I had that toy on my Christmas list for 1993, and when Christmas morning came there was indeed a Batmobile under the tree. Only it was the wrong one. I was never one to complain about gifts, so I was happy to have a Batmobile. This was one was a re-release of the first film’s Batmobile with pop-up machine guns. It was pretty cool, just not what I wanted. It was somewhat overshadowed though by another gift that year – a Sega Genesis. Sometime after the holiday, I even saw the Batmobile that I yearned for at the toy store. I had some money and nearly bought it, but I did the smart thing and decided to be happy with what I had and put that cash towards something else. And I feel good about the decision even now and I mostly have it on this list because I’m still curious if the gimmick worked well or not.

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Green Ranger and Dragonzord – Bandai 1993

And now we get to the real deal. Recently, my son has shown an interest in Power Rangers largely thanks to his best friend having some affection for the property. We’ve watched around ten episodes or so of the original run, and it’s stirring some memories. Painful memories.

Power Rangers burst onto the scene in the late summer of 1993. Saban Entertainment had found it hard to sell the property to American broadcast networks for years, and maybe because of that there was skepticism that the property would be a success. Whatever the reason, the show ended up being a smash hit, but Bandai of America was woefully unprepared to meet the demand for toys. Which sucked because the toys were awesome! The Rangers themselves were huge, around 9 or 10 inches, with loads of articulation. I had never seen an action figure with finger articulation before, and it blew my mind! I wanted them, but I wasn’t quite sure how much since the show was pretty new. I was also at an age where it was almost taboo to like it. I was supposed to be growing out of toys, but I found them way too compelling.

When these came out, I thought they were the most incredible action figures imaginable.

I didn’t get any Power Rangers toys in 1993 and I spent much of 94 chasing them without much luck. I would eventually get a Power-Morphing Green Ranger, but that was nearly all I got. What I really wanted was the deluxe Green Ranger who came bundled with the Dragonzord. I even found a page from a flyer sitting outside at my grandmother’s house advertising the set. I carried that thing around and clung to it reminding my mom and grandma that I really wanted that toy, but try as they might, it just didn’t happen.

He’s practically a statue, but damn does he looks cool.

I never once saw that toy in a toy store. To this day, I’ve never seen it in person. None of my friends had it, and because of that I still kind of want it. Looking at the set now, I still think that Green Ranger is pretty slick. The Dragonzord impresses me less, but he’s still a delightfully, chunky, robot dragon and robot dragons are pretty awesome on their own. It doesn’t do much beside just look cool, but that’s basically all I ask of my toys in this day and age.

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Deluxe Megazord – Bandai 1993

As much as I wanted that Green Ranger and Dragonzord, I think the toy I wanted most that I never was able to my hands on was the Deluxe Megazord from the same line. Tommy the Green Ranger was my favorite of the Power Rangers for the time I watched this show (basically up to the first movie), so I naturally wanted the best toy based on him along with the zord. The White Ranger was cool too, but not as cool as the Green Ranger. The Megazord though, was just too awesome to ignore. It was five robots that combined into one massive robot – how awesome is that?! Yes, I realize this made the toy very similar to Voltron, but the Voltron toy from the 80s didn’t impress me much because it didn’t really look like the cartoon. It had to fudge with the scale of the lions a bit to work in real life, and that’s the type of thing that would bother me as a kid.

Now you can re-enact that same transforming sequence you see every episode!

The Megazord, however, seems like it was designed to be a toy from the very start. The toy basically imitated the transforming sequence from the show to perfection. The only compromise really was in the articulation of the finished product. The show would feature models to assemble the Megazord, but once formed it then swapped that out for a guy in a costume who would battle the monster of the week. He could obviously move in ways a clumsy toy could not, but that seemed like a small price to pay for such accuracy.

Robots that combine to form bigger robots are arguably the greatest toys ever made.

Unlike with the Green Ranger/Dragonzord set, I did actually see the Megazord in the flesh. A kid in my class brought one into school, maybe for show and tell or something, and he showed it to me at his desk. Cruelly, he wouldn’t let me touch it, but he at least demonstrated the transformation including both the robot and tank modes. I was floored by it and I wanted it so bad, but it was just so impossible to find! I never saw the thing in stores and I’m sure my grandmother likely never did as well.

I was able to get the Red Dragon Thunderzord (left), but never did get the rest.

When the showed moved on from the original zords, the toy supply improved. For Christmas, my grandmother was finally successful when it came to Power Rangers and she was able to get me the Red Dragon Thunderzord as well as some of the roleplay toys (blaster and morpher). The Red Dragon was pretty cool, and if I’m being honest, a better toy than the Dragonzord would be. I was never able to get the other zords though to form the new Megazord, and by the following Christmas the fad had passed for me. I would put all of my energy towards video games at that point, leaving toys behind for a few years.

In 2010, Bandai re-released the original Megazord, now often referred to as the Dino Megazord. It was almost an exact recreation of the 93 toy with a few changes to make the set cheaper to produce. The wheels were removed from the Triceratops and Sabre-toothed tiger, as well as the articulation on their guns. Otherwise though, it’s basically the same. It retailed for $75 and I am kicking myself now for not just buying it then. The 93 version, if you can find one in good condition, easily fetches thrice that on eBay and the re-releases are expensive too. I was tempted to buy one when I was first on my own, but got cold feet and didn’t really know what I would do with. Maybe my son or daughter will become obsessed and force my hand, or maybe Bandai will re-release it again when the show turns 30 in three years and I’ll finally take the plunge. Or maybe the Megazord is just a toy destined to haunt me for the rest of my days.


Dec. 8 – Mighty Morphin Power Rangers – “I’m Dreaming of a White Ranger”

 

dreaming of white ranger

Original air date November 25, 1995.

Late in the summer of 1993 the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers (MMPR) were unleashed upon the world. The build-up had been going on all summer with the Fox Kids Network running promos and print ads steadily to build-up momentum, and like a good little consumer, I was there for the premiere. The show became an immediate hit and soon supplanted X-Men as Fox’s highest rated children’s program. In my network, it first started airing weekday mornings which was a trying time to watch television as getting ready for school took precedent over everything. It eventually was moved to afternoons in the coveted after school timeslot and would also be shown Saturday mornings as well.

At this point, the story of the Power Rangers is probably well-known, but lets recap, shall we? Haim Saban is known for being notoriously cheap when it comes to television production, but he’s also been incredibly successful when it comes to children’s programming. Power Rangers is like the perfect Saban show because he owned the property and was able to create episodes on the cheap by splicing in footage from the Toei produced Super Sentai series, as well as other Japanese productions. Basically, there was footage of characters battling monsters in brightly colored costumes which was largely the domain of the Super Sentai program. And then you had the teens portrayed by American actors who were canonically the heroes under the masks. Except they weren’t. Their stuff was newly shot in the US and done on the cheap. It was so bad that three of the original cast members were let go when they stood up for higher wages with the original Red Ranger, Austin St. John, winding up homeless for a time shortly after leaving the show.

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Mighty Morphin Power Rangers was inescapable in 1993.

As the show became hugely successful, the budget expanded, though still few extra dollars went to the non-union, agent-less, young actors playing the main characters. Instead, they were able to reshoot some of the stuff produced in Japan so that characters like the villainous Rita Repulsa could appear alongside the American actors and even have her mouth movements better sync with the English dub of her voice. The main series ran for three seasons and included a brand new feature film as well before the show spun-off into new iterations like Power Rangers Zeo and Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue, among others. It’s still ongoing with over 800 episodes produced thus far.

When the show arrived, it largely caught my attention due to the intense marketing. Leading up to it, I had formed expectations for the show which it did not meet. I remember thinking the main characters, who received their powers via dinosaurs, would be part dino when in their ranger form. I had visions of a Power Ranger losing his or her helmet at some point to reveal some hybrid dino-human visage beneath it, so I was a little disappointed to see the show was just a campy martial arts thing. I still found it captivating, especially the Green Ranger arc. More than the actual show though were the toys. Produced by Bandai, the Power Rangers action figures were huge at about 9″ tall. They were the first toys I ever saw with finger articulation, and the assortment of monstrous bad guys were pretty fun too. Best of all, was the Megazord which consisted of five prehistoric robotic beasts that combined into one robot, similar to Voltron.

Liking the Power Rangers quickly became taboo in my age group. It’s rather funny to look back on because the show was hugely successful and likely everyone at school claiming the show was for losers were all going home and watching it. As a result, I rarely discussed the property with friends in a sincere fashion and did so only to make fun of it. And for kids that didn’t watch it, my friends all had strangely specific critiques and jokes to make at the show’s expense.

The toys were so popular they were nearly impossible to find. I know I requested a bunch for Christmas of 1993, but ended up with nothing. Not that I’m complaining, as that was the year I got a Sega Genesis and Mortal Kombat, but I never did get much for Power Rangers stuff. I remember being immensely excited when I found one, lone, villain at Toys R Us. It was some kind of mouse-rhinoceros hybrid. It was pretty lame, but being the only toy I saw in person I had to have it. Eventually, I would have luck finding the morphing action figures (which have been re-released recently) which were neat, but not as cool as the large-scale figures. I never did get that Megazord, or the Dragonzord, which is what I really wanted. I carried around a clipping of an advertisement for it from some catalog for months, but it was to no avail.

As for the show itself, I actually was somewhat honest when I told my friends I wasn’t into it. I didn’t watch it regularly, but certain arcs would pull me back in like when the show introduced the White Ranger. I think I rented the movie, which was probably my last real experience with the show. It was usually on a little early on Saturday, and I liked my sleep.

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Tommy calls upon the power of Christmas to make this little girl happy.

“I’m Dreaming of a White Ranger” arrived as part of the show’s third season when I wasn’t a regular viewer. I’m pretty sure I never saw it before watching it for this post, but I was looking forward to doing so very much. MMPR is super campy and corny with fun martial arts sequences and some pretty kick-ass costumes. I was willing to embrace the corn and was looking forward to just going with it, but unfortunately the Christmas episode is apparently not the best way to jump back into the show. I suppose I should have seen it coming since Christmas tends to bring out the side of a children’s show that is extremely cheesy. Sentimental, sweet, with usually some sort of lesson to impart – that’s a Christmas episode in a nutshell.

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A hopeful misery has taken over the group at the start.

The episode opens at the youth center or whatever the main hangout is referred to as. Kimberly (Amy Jo Johnson) and Aisha (Karan Ashley) are leading a bunch of children in singing Christmas carols. Aisha is the choir coach while Kimberly plays guitar. It’s a nice way to kill some time for a Christmas episode. When the song ends, we get all of our plot setup in rapid succession, while also making time for some Hanukkah music too. Kimberly is sad she isn’t spending Christmas with her mom while a little girl named Becky (uncredited role) is blue because she misses her dad. Tommy (Jason David Frank) tries to raise her spirits and everyone wears looks of concern. Our other Power Rangers, just to get it out of the way, are Billy (David Yost), Rocky (Steve Cardenas), and Adam (Johnny Yong Bosch). Of which, only Billy is really called on to deliver much in the way of lines. Poor Rocky hardly gets to say or do anything.

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These are definitely the kind of cops that will help you finish a six-pack rather than confiscate it.

Bulk (Paul Schrier) and Skull (Jason Narvy) enter the scene and they’re now police officers. I vaguely recall this being a development on the show as the two first started off as a dimwitted duo of bullies. They’re still pretty slow and everyone should probably be terrified they’re able to meet the standards of Angel Grove’s police force. They’re here to supervise and apparently play Santa and helper later.

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Zedd be scheming because villains never take off at Christmas.

Elsewhere, the evil Lord Zedd (Ed Neil, Robert Axelrod as the voice) has decided he hates Christmas (I assume this isn’t a new development for him). He and his minions have a crazy new plan to ruin Christmas for everyone that involves sending the evil Rito Revolto (Danny Wayne, Bob Pappenbrook voice), who looks like he was ripped from a Megadeth album cover, to Santa’s work shop and take it over. Meanwhile, the rangers are all farting around and being mopey about their situations. Tommy helps Kimberly hang some mistletoe, and Skull takes the opportunity to smooch her. That’s some pretty shitty behavior for a cop.

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Santa has been laying off the cookies this year.

Revolto does as he’s commanded and storms the North Pole. There, a rather skinny Santa (Robert von Fliss) is the overlord to a bunch of little people, only one of which gets any lines (Romy J. Sharf, though dubbed by Wendee Lee). They meet virtually no resistance from Santa and his followers, aside from the customary pointing out of their presence on the naughty list. Zedd apparently intends to have the gifts switched and this will somehow lead him to gain control of the world’s children. He doesn’t go into great detail and he really doesn’t need to.

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It’s nice to see Alpha decorated the place for Christmas.

Tommy gets a notification from Zordon (David J. Fielding, Robert Manahan voice) that something is up, and everyone gets to look serious and dramatic. They head to Zordon’s base where Alpha 5 (Donene Kistler, voiced by Richard Steven Horvitz) is busy getting all flustered and the floating head of Zordon gives the rangers an update on what Zedd has done at the north pole. He also introduces an interesting wrinkle. Santa’s workshop possesses some kind of magic around it that will negate their ability to use their morphing powers. If you think something like that is going to stop the Power Rangers though, you’re sorely mistaken.

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A real convincing looking north pole.

The plain-clothed rangers head to the north pole and scope out the situation. Amongst a set that looks like something you would find at a mall, they spy from the door way Revolto and his forces. They reason that since their powers won’t work here that Revolto’s probably won’t as well. Even assuming that, they still reason storming the work shop could put Santa and the elves in danger so it’s agreed that stealth is probably the way to go.

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All right, so stealth isn’t their strong suit.

Kimberly and Aisha are then shown to have snuck into the work shop and are hiding behind some presents. They get the attention of the head elf and pull her aside to let her know help is here and to get the lowdown on the operation. They then just throw themselves out there and get Revolto to chase them outside. There they join up with the rest of the Power Rangers and gang up on Revolto, who is disappointed to find his powers aren’t working. Zedd sends Goldar (Kerrigan Mahan) to assist, but he just walks into an ambush. No powers, no problem, as the Rangers demonstrate they are true ninjas and a master of their environment, so naturally they turn to snowballs. Goldar and Revolto are forced to retreat, but the elves have some Home Alone-inspired traps awaiting them as they trip on some trimmings. The weird bird monsters Revolto brought with him are felled by marbles and the elves seem quite proud of themselves to have contributed in some way.

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Take that, evil-doers!

The bad guys get warped back to Zedd and Rita (Carla Perez, Barbara Goodson voice) by Alpha 5 in a pretty bundle for him to get upset over. At the youth center, Bulk and Skull have taken on new personas as Santa and his reindeer helper. Bulk, who’s fake beard is full of candy canes, is thoroughly miserable while Skull doesn’t seem to mind the gig too much. He hauls the next kid to Bulk over his shoulder and it gives me a real A Christmas Story vibe given how rough the two are with these kids. The kid unfurls a comically long list for “Santa,” and it’s a bit funny because all of the stuff he’s reading aloud to Bulk is clearly not written on the list. Zedd and the gang also partially get into the spirit when a gift shows up from Santa. It’s filled with old junk he had either withheld from them years ago, or stuff he took from them? I don’t know, but Revolto gets into the spirit by giving Goldar a present. They seem to be enjoying themselves, but Zedd and Rita react as if they’re about to get violently ill.

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A neat little package to wrap things up.

At the north pole, Santa needs some help to avoid a full-blown Christmas catastrophe. The rangers are happy to pitch in wrapping toys and everything seems to have come together in time. Santa then gives the rangers a big old sack of toys to bring to the youth center. They warp in, which is pretty bold of them if they’re trying to conceal their identities. The kids descend upon the sack of toys like a pack of wild animals. Becky is cheered up to see Kimberly has returned and didn’t abandon her. We then get to wrap up those plots from earlier in predictable fashion. Becky, who just wanted her dad for Christmas, gets her wish as her dad shows up. And as a result, she wants nothing else from Santa so she gets to thank him (Bulk, that is) instead allowing Bulk to finally understand the meaning of Christmas. Kimberly’s family shows up too, because Christmas, and she and Tommy finally get to share a kiss under the mistletoe. The choir is reconvened for some more singing, and the whole gang delivers a hearty “Merry Christmas!” to end the episode. And then during the credits, a bonus scene between Revolto and the elves is shown where it’s questioned if he has the capacity for goodness inside of him, and it’s determined he does not.

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How cute.

“I’m Dreaming of a White Ranger” is a pretty by the numbers Christmas special for Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. Despite the pun in the title, there is no White Ranger, or any actual ranger, in this one at all. This episode was possibly entirely shot for the show and perhaps that’s why the morphing powers were explained away since they didn’t have a good chunk of battle footage to drop in that would make sense given the different settings included here. Which is disappointing for someone like me who wanted to just jump-in for a nostalgic blast of MMPR, but all I got was the corny stuff and none of the action.

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These kids are monsters.

It’s not a total loss though. I found the character of Rito Revolto to be pretty entertaining. He also looks cool as his costume is pretty interesting, though I don’t know why half of him is camouflaged. The stuff with Zedd and the villains was also amusing in a silly sort of way. They’re classic inept villains that revel in doing evil which rarely fails to amuse me on a surface level. Everything involving the actual Power Rangers is pretty dull though. It’s clear to me that they’re the worst part of this show. Bulk and Skull are fine and I didn’t mind my time spent with them, but the kids add nothing.

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This thing wraps up with the only way it can.

In spite of that less than glowing review, should you still wish to partake in this one you have quite a few options. By far the most accessible is via Netflix which has the entire MMPR era of the show available to stream. The quality isn’t very good, but this is a show that’s never been known for having much money spent on it. The series is also available via physical media DVD and a cursory look online suggests getting Season 3 used won’t set you back much. If you want it new, then you’ll have to pay a bit. You can also buy the individual episode on Amazon for 2 bucks. If you just want to indulge a bit in the show though, I wouldn’t recommend this particular episode. There are also free means out there as well that aren’t hard to find, and serve as a nice way to take some screen captures since Netflix makes that hard. If you’re a big Power Rangers fan, you’ll probably watch this during the holiday season, and if you’re not then you probably won’t and you won’t be missing out on much if that’s the case.


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