Ludi Lin, Becky G, Dacre Montgomery, Naomi Scott and RJ Cyler star in a scene from the movie "Saban's Power Rangers." The Catholic News Service classification is L -- limited adult audience, films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG -- parental guidance suggested. Some material may not be suitable for children. (CNS photo/Lionsgate)
NEW YORK (CNS) -- A Saturday morning children's show gets its third big-screen treatment with "Saban's Power Rangers" (Lionsgate).
Regrettably, unlike the two previous films in the franchise, this latest incarnation of the popular 1990s program (then called "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers") is more suitable for late night TV, because of a preponderance of crass humor, off-color language and inappropriate sexual references.
Such vulgar updating of a relatively wholesome (if somewhat cheesy) concept is baffling, unless director Dean Israelite ("Project Almanac") and no fewer than five screenwriters were charged with a command to be "relevant." That would also explain, in part, why one of the five teen superheroes, Trini (Becky G), aka the Yellow Ranger, is now gay.
(The subject of Trini's homosexuality is confined to a single acknowledgement that she prefers girls over boys; she does not act out her inclination).
The bare-bones of the original series, a Japanese invention adapted for American audiences by Saban Entertainment, remain. Five high school students meet in after-school detention, each there for a different reason.