Monday, March 12, 2012

Series Commentary: Power Rangers: Mystic Force

Mystic Force is the first Disney season I’ve seen, and wow. I stopped watching the show at the end of the Zordon era back in the day, and I watched Mystic Force before rewatching In Space or watching any other seasons for one reason: the return of Rita Repulsa. Now, had I known that her… cameo was only in the last two episodes and it’s only through an extremely brief reference by Udonna, I might have skipped it altogether.

But I watched it, so what do I have to say? Well, I guess Disney realized in 2006 that Harry Potter was making some money. Much of the background music of Mystic Force is stolen directly from John Williams’s Harry Potter score, and so is the premise. By the way, did I mention that Disney also had a role in Mahou Sentai Magiranger, meaning they didn’t exactly have to “make do” with their Sentai footage this time around?

This series is all about Harry Potter. It’s about learning magic and reciting spells, being granted new spells as a result of their actions of bravery, and dealing with magical trials and travails of the sort that a first year student at Hogwarts might deal with.

Putting all that aside for the moment, is Mystic Force any good?

It goes through ups and downs. The series starts off pretty annoying at times, and it has some strange occurrences (such as a medieval knight whose zord is a train). How about we play to Disney’s strengths- wholesome characters and all that?

Ah, there we go. We get the Bulk and Skull-esque bitch who renounces her evil upbringing and becomes a good guy- though how she went from being an evil bitch to just being lonely was never well developed. We also get Phineas, who exists primarily as comic relief, but gets the opportunity to be pretty badass as well. The rest of the team develops a bit as well, although this development is overshadowed in the “everybody come together for the sake of good” ending. Still, Xander is less annoying at the end, Chip and Vida move on just enough that we don’t actually see a relationship develop, Nick becomes less scared of commitment and Madi becomes slightly bolder. It’s pretty cookie cutter Disney, but it gets the job done and you come to like the characters.

How about the villains? Well, honestly, the only villain worth remembering is the only one who becomes an undeveloped hero at the end. Sure, I stop to wonder how Daggeron so quickly went from being a hero to a villain to a mummy that, once locked away, was able to stand up to Koragg, but that doesn’t make Imperius a memorable villain. Maybe Cthulhu just made him that much stronger?

Oh, yeah, Cthulhu is the enemy.

The one thing that bothers me the most about this series is the graphics. I know, this is a purely subjective thing and this is my biggest complaint with Dino Thunder and will probably be my biggest complaint with other series. CGI zords just completely throws off the mood. Yes, I’m a fan of Power Rangers: The Movie, but at least their CGI isn’t as bright and flashy and it still has a ring of nostalgia to it to go with the terrible CGI.

That’s not the worst of it, though. The worst of it is eye-gouging CGI followed by practical effect zord battles. If you do CGI, don’t do something else to show me how terrible it is. You fail, sir.

This isn’t supposed to be a review, but I feel obliged to make a recommendation. This is the first “modern” Power Rangers series I’ve seen. Do I recommend it to people like me? Uh… maybe? I’m a completionist, so in the end, I can’t say no. If you like the cheesy side of Power Rangers, definitely watch it. The more serious side… eh… probably not.

Bill Silvia is a regular contributor at Fantasy & SciFi Lovin' News & Reviews. You can find more of his content at

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