Wednesday, February 25, 2015

On Power/Rangers, Tone, and Storytelling

First of all, go watch this short film. It's by the people responsible for Punisher Dirty Laundry and it stars Katee Sackhoff as a Power Ranger. What's not to like? 

Second, let's talk about the reaction from viewers, shall we? Particularly the people on the Escapist aka the site I only go to for new Zero Punctuation otherwise. Read some of these comments, it's okay, I wait. 

Okay, now it all boils down to this "so tired of grim and gritty man, that's played out, I want something lighthearted and fun, you guys" whiny voice optional. I kid of course. But it comes down to something that I have become increasingly frustrated with in fandom over the last couple of years and that's the whole "go away with grim and gritty and dark" crowd. And that is for mainly one reason and one reason only: not everything should be lighthearted but not everything should be dark either. What does that even mean? Do you mean the tone? Or the storytelling itself. 
For me at least, certain stories are by their very nature dark and some very lighthearted. And that's okay. This particular story, as told by this short film, is incredibly dark but also really interesting. 
Same goes with say Batman 66 and The Dark Knight. Two very valid approaches of doing Batman, but the story of TDK could only be done with a certain level of seriousness and grit. Doesn't invalidate the other, doesn't mean that everything needs to be "dark and gritty", it just means that in order to tell this story, the tone needed to be appropriate. Same with this gritty Power/Rangers short. Besides being an affectionate parody and/or homage at the original, it did show that, like most properties, you can tell stories from both ends. Yes, Power Rangers is silly camp but it can also be quite dramatic or "dramatic" as this short showed. But a different tone would have ruined that short. 

But what I mainly wanted to state with my usual ramblings is that this once again shows me that certain people can only deal in absolutes. Either lighthearted or "grim and gritty". You can't tell both kinds of story with the same property, it has to be one or the other. No, you don't have to. You can have, for instance, a serious Batman and a campy/fun Batman, you can mix and match, you can do everything you want depending on the story you want to tell. That's what's important. You wanna tell a story about the Power Rangers as child soldiers in a dystopian future? Go right ahead. But please remember that not all entertainment needs or even should be of the same tone. There are days where you might just want to relax and watch something fun and light, but there are other times where you feel like challenging yourself with a dark and complex story. It's okay. Just don't deal in absolutes like certain people. 

Rambling off. Go watch Power/Rangers again. 

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