Power Rangers – A Trip Down Memory Lane…
I just got back from a big family vacation trip (with 14 of us) to Norfolk (UK). Aside from the usual holiday fun, there was one notable feature of my trip…Power Rangers!
My Brother in law had rented a chalet with a fantastic selection of retro board games, books and VHS videos (remember those…the forward and rewind features are still very annoying, how did we ever put up with that for so long!!!).
Anyway, the most majestic discovery was 14 Power Rangers videos from around 1994. Rather than join the sophisticated adult fun, I found myself on a big couch with lots of kids, watching open jawed as episode after episode ‘wowed’ me and the kids. Sure the special effects now look almost comical, and the whole effect is much less slick than we would expect today…but there is sheer magic in the formula. And above all, my cynical eye may have identified those shortcomings while still being marvelously entertained, but the kids saw only compelling and immersive entertainment.
So why was it so entertaining, and perhaps more importantly, why has this franchise (despite any recent bumps) been one of the biggest perennial Toy brands of the last 20 years?
Here’s my 5 compelling features:
1. Let’s cut the PC nonsense, kids love play fighting! You can call it nature, you can call it nurture, but the reality is kids love play fighting, especially boys. So an entertainment property where the heroes and heroines fight (without hurting any real people, we wouldn’t to alienate mom and dad now would we!?) is on the right tracks!
2. Good versus bad – let’s keep this short, because both you & I know it’s true…kids love the simplicity of goodies versus baddies.
3. Fantasy monsters – kids love rough and tough ‘baddie’ monsters. The bigger and badder the better!
4. A character for everyone – so rather than having just one heroic character to choose from, with one set of likeable or unlikeable characteristics, kids can take their pick. My daughter chose to aspire to the pink Power Ranger in the series we were watching, nephews liked one or other of the male characters, and so by creating a team of aspirational good characters, the franchise recruits a greater proportion of kids. Brilliant!
5. Humour – kids have highly developed senses of humour. Slapstick and juvenile gags work great for them. The light relief in between fight sequences truly lightened the mood, and stopped the kids from taking things too seriously…because let’s face it getting attacked by monsters could be frightening, but not if they are funny, and there is humour liberally interspersed with the action.
So there you go, that sure made for a fun vacation for me, and reminded me of why Power Rangers has been around for so long!
All the best
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