Sunday, January 8, 2017

MMPR Season 3 Episode 4: Ninja Quest Part 1




Magical Moon Mud Used to Hatch Eggs
Man Makes Worst Face Ever to be Captured on Film












Oh boy everybody I hope you're prepared for the event of a lifetime. Are you ready to get into Power Rangers 3rd season?! Well then you should have been here like four months ago when I reviewed that dogshit Masked Rider crossover. Idiots.

Okay, I'm sorry. That doesn't count. That was all a bunch of bullshit. Those episodes were the warm-up, and this is the main event. Well…actually I guess the movie was the main event, and those episodes were a bag of dry cat food that got shoved into your mouth three months after Ivan Ooze got thrown into a comet.

I don't really know what the timeline for these episodes is supposed to be, but who cares? This is, for all intents and purposes, the beginning of Season 3. We need to start things off big, vibrant, and exciting. The movie blew its budget on a 45 minute skydiving sequence, and the only way the Power Rangers TV show can live up to that is by showcasing the bargain bin version of skydiving.

A volleyball game! Yippee. Skippy. 

I've been having a bit of trouble writing about Season 3 after so much time slogging through the movie, but now I have no idea why. I mean what couldn't I say about the Ranger Teens playing volleyball on the beach? Maybe I could compare it to the scene in Top Gun where those nice young homosexuals also partook in the same activity. Why don't I make a joke about Tommy hogging the spotlight and spiking it into Billy's face. Maybe an ill-conceived joke about which one of them is Goose that would almost certainly be in poor taste. Those would be a couple of rib ticklers wouldn't they?

Fuck. Is Paul Freeman going to be in this season at all? Oh shit, that's the twist. The volleyball match is between the Ranger Teens and Ivan Ooze. Kim spikes the ball, and all you hear is a loud splat as a bunch of purple gunk flies at the camera. Then we cut to an elderly man in gooey robes smiling a big shit-eating grin as he says "Ooze serve is it?" A+ opener right there. You know what, maybe things are going to be okay after all.

But no. Instead of having an old British man dressed as a purple-robed booger play volleyball with 30 year old teenagers, we have to enjoy the white hot rivalry of Angel Grove and Stone Canyon. Whoopee. The only people from Stone Canyon who matter end up moving to Angel Grove anyway. Stone Canyon's only purpose is this goddamned show is to prove that the writers had enough forethought to invent two different fake towns in California.

Okay, let me back off the negativity a little bit. I'm being a bit crabby, and I think it's because we haven't had any good Bulk and Skull comedy for the last few months. They didn't do a goddamned thing in the movie, and I could have used a few laughs during those tedious 9 hours. Thankfully, the boys are back in town and have a ribald quip to keep me engaged. Ernie announces that the winner of today's volleyball game will get a free lunch at his new outdoor café. Bulk slides in and smugly inquires if that offer is available to fans of the winners as well.

That line wasn't good. It wasn't particularly clever or funny or well-written, but I liked it.

Actually...that description sounds like it'd go really well somewhere else. Let me try it out real quick.

It wasn't particularly clever or funny or well-written, but I liked it.

Anyways, I smiled when Bulk said it. I felt this groundswell of joy as that big fat goofball tried to swindle a free lunch out of some innocent restaurateur. Well, innocent because the prosecutor "disappeared." The reason this moment made me feel good must be because of how well Paul Schrier sells this shit. His coy little grin puts me at ease, and almost makes me believe this season of Power Rangers will be worth watching.

Fool me a third time, shame on me again.

Hawaiian shirts can only do so much Ernie.

The Rangers' volleyball game is put on the pay-no-mind list by Rita and Zedd, as Zedd's given his blushing bride a beautiful new gift. A new telescope so she can continue to snoop in on the humans and send down an ostrich with grenades for eyes whenever Tommy is about to get his bang on. Zedd informs her that the gift is a celebration of their anniversary. She asks how long they've been married, but then he brushes it aside with a vague statement of how she makes him feel like they've been in love for eons. Never before have I seen a correction of canon in the writer's room kept in the script for a television show. Power Rangers is breaking new grounds!

Rita's new Repulsascope (patent pending) isn't the only excitement she'll be getting today. No, Zedd didn't whip out his shriveled, red ding-dong to try and entice her into a joyless fuck. A visitor has arrived on the moon's surface. Since this is Power Rangers, the creature made its way to the Moon via teleportation fireball. Because it's the closest thing to fiery passion you're going to find in this loveless, crater-filled hellhole.

The explosive arrival on the moon is so powerful that the Ranger Teens can feel it all the way down on Earth. I was cracking my knuckles and getting ready to make fun of that for being unrealistic, but then I remembered what show I was watching. This piece of shit opened its very first episode with a moon-bound villain causing earthquakes. I don’t even know who I'm trying to impress anymore.

The creature emerges from a hole on the moon's surface, and reveals himself to be the most terrifying being of all. A marionette dug out from the trash bin on the set of Halloweentown.

GREETINGS BOILS AND GHOULS

The skeleton monster busts out a satchel full of eggs and plants them under some of the moon's soil. Oh so that's why my chickens wouldn't hatch. I'm planting all their eggs underneath regular-old Earth soil. Someone buy me a rocket boys, I'll have a monopoly on poultry before the day's done!

Mr. Monster Mash finishes planting his magical eggs and teleports into Zedd and Rita's chamber. Zedd commands Goldar to capture this intruder, but Rita tells her golden henchman to cool his heels. This skeletal buffoon isn't heavy metal, he's her brother. Rito Revolto! I too have a sibling with a different last name.

Before we get into this episode any further, I'd like to elaborate on Mr. Revolto here. First and foremost, his design is absolutely glorious. The camouflage skeleton design is absolutely awesome, and somehow fits perfectly in contrast to what a bumbling jackass he is. You would think he's a really dangerous villain, but as soon as he opens his mouth you realize that's not the case. He speaks with a hint of surly pseudo-Southern drawl. It almost makes him sound like a slightly more dignified Jim Varney. His voice gives him the presence of your drunk uncle you only see on Thanksgiving. The same uncle who excitedly talks about that big wall that's going to be built soon.

There's this sharp jolt of energy that Rito brings with him, and I think I know exactly why. Goldar is supposedly a powerful soldier in the army of evil, and Squatt and Baboo are worthlessly stupid comic relief. Rito Revolto somehow manages to blend those two characters into one multi-faceted idiot that can be used for a "badass" fight scene or silly gags regarding how bad he smells. It's almost like giving a character more than one dimension can lead to more situations you can utilize said character in. It only took Power Rangers 3 seasons to figure out that characters should be given 2 or more different things to their personality. I bet we'll have characters with actual families by Wild Force!

Alpha 5 and Zordon attempt to locate the cause of the energy fluctuation on the moon, but they can't because the parametric spectrometer is currently on the fritz.

Let's open up the floor. Taking all bets. Did I invent that piece of meaningless technobabble or did this show try to pass it off as a real thing that exists in Zordon's sex dungeon? The answer may surprise you.

For such an otherworldly technological paradise, the Command Center's gadgets are always malfunctioning. Can't there be one episode where something is working right? Why even cut back to the Command Center if it's to tell us that Alpha and Zordon are in the dark? If we don't see them, then we can assume they're not aware of Rito's arrival. The audience doesn't need to be informed that Alpha and Zordon know something is wrong, but they don't know exactly what that something is yet. That'd be like the protagonist of a detective novel stopping to inform the audience that he anticipates a murder taking place within the next few pages.

Oh yeah, and the Ranger Teens are still playing volleyball. Why does this matter? Because whoever is doing ADR for this scene really botched it. Ernie's voiceover says "Come on guys, you can do it!" while the teens play, and we cut to a scene of Ernie on-screen saying the exact same thing 5 seconds later. It's comically terrible, and I somehow only noticed it during this rewatch. That's what makes this show so fun. The layers of incompetence lathered upon its every inch.

Rita spots the eggs that Rito buried with her new Repulsascope, and asks her brother what stupid shit he brought her this time. Rito refuses to ruin the surprise, because he's busy observing his surroundings.

This is also how my new fanfic begins. It's entitled "Rito Bones Zedd."

Zedd rips his staff from the bony appendages of this mongoloid skeleton and demands an answer. Rito retorts that those eggs are a wedding present for his darling sister, and her husband Ed.

No, I'm not being cutesy. One of Rito's character quirks is that he refers to Lord Zedd as "Ed." If his voice performance wasn't so goddamned charming, this joke might not land. But Rito is portrayed so perfectly as an incompetent brother-in-law that I can't help but smirk. Lord Zedd is introduced as this devious and calculating intergalactic warlord, and now he's reduced to being called Ed by some schmuck covered in bones. I love it.

Rito says that not only has he bought some discount space eggs for the Moon's foremost power couple, he's also going to get rid of the Power Rangers for them. Zedd balks at the assumption that this idiot could do any such thing, but Rita concocts a scheme. Rito can take a group of monsters down to Earth and hide them. When the Rangers engage Rito in battle, the hiding monsters can emerge and ambush Tommy and his five friends.

For some reason, Zedd thinks this plot is one of tactical genius. Using his braindead brother-in-law as a decoy to draw out a bunch of snot-nosed high school students. After two seasons full of absolute clunkers, that's what's going to tip the scales against Zordon's team? Zedd didn't even know Rito existed 10 minutes ago, but now he's the perfect candidate for an assault on the Power Rangers? That sounds just convenient enough to work!

Oh I almost forgot to mention. The Ranger Teens won that volleyball game you were all so invested in. It was so exciting, you wouldn't even believe it! It was tied up, but then Billy scored the winning point. It was a real nail-biter of a match, believe you me. Ernie announces that since everyone played such a great game, lunch is on the house for both teams! Ernie, you commie fuck. 

The Ranger Teens enjoy their FREE LUNCH at Ernie's, ignoring all the hardworking Dominican immigrants that their money isn't going to while they slurp down milkshakes. Thanks for helping the economy you absolute shitheels. Well eat up all that government cheese while you can, because Rito Revolto is getting ready to come after you!

Some low-impact teabagging from Goldar.

Bulk and Skull also enjoy Ernie's lunch, the likes of which spits in the face of our glorious capitalism and all that it holds dear. They do so by respectfully shoving a plate full of sandwiches under their shirts. Don't blame them, blame their parents who have a case of the brown bottle flu that's so bad it impacts their ability to buy groceries.

Then the episode screeches to a halt so Bulk and Skull, as well as the audience, can eavesdrop on the conversation of two bodacious b-b-b-babes. They don't have names, because it's the 90's and women were considered less than a third of a person, but they sure do have wet vaginas. The girls talk about how much they want to get they bone on with one of those dude Rangers. Their tedious conversation ends with them expressing how much they love a man in uniform.

Bulk and Skull take the ramblings of two horned-up teenage girls as their sign from above that they need to get uniforms. If only there were a group that was willing to accept uneducated buffoons into its ranks in exchange for a uniform.

Bingo!

Yeah. This is going to be Bulk and Skull's character arc from now on. They're going to become cops since two hornball chicks talked about banging superheroes. Hopefully this takes us to the same hilarious peaks as their last character arc did. Don’t you remember all the hysterical scenarios that were invoked when Bulk and Skull tried to discover who the Power Rangers really were?

Ah fuck me running. This is going to be awful isn't it?

Bulk and Skull stand up to announce their big decision. They attract the attention of all the extras in attendance at Ernie's outdoor café, and declare that they're about to become junior police officers. This results in a gag where everyone looks on in complete shock, and the only reason I bring this up is so I have a reason to post this image.

I thought that was Rocky for at least a decade.

Look at this fucking guy's face. Just look at it. Why would you put someone who looks like that so close to your central characters? Why would anyone ever make that face on camera? Why wouldn't someone take that extra out back and shoot him before re-taking this scene? Who was responsible for that face? I want names, and I want their date of death. That face can't be allowed to be made on camera ever again.

Back on the Moon, Finster announces that his monster armada has been completed. Be still my beating heart, all four of them are Zyu2 monsters! Lizzinator, Octophantom, Stag Beetle, and Fighting Flea. Aside from Lizzinator, not exactly the top bananas in terms of monsters. Maybe Finster found a couple of monster molds in the trash he didn't feel like tossing out. Finster promises that these creatures have been blessed with astounding new powers, which is Power Rangers­-speak for "They won't do anything new, but we'll act like they're stronger than they were before."

As the monsters depart, Rito guarantees that he'll turn the Rangers into toejam tacos. Whatever in the blue hell that means. Our skeletal friend charges towards Finster's lab before he realizes he doesn't know how to leave the Moon Palace. Rita screeches at him to get the hell out of her palace before she puts a boot up his bony ass, and Rito grumbles that "Maybe the big lizard knows the way outta here."

I am loving me some Rito Revolto. When the comedic stupidity of Squatt and Baboo amounted to nothing more than "Tee-Hee, we are dumb!" you have to appreciate a villain like this. One who's so proud and arrogant about his own abilities, but quickly illustrates what a dipshit he really is. It's beautiful.

When Rito and the monsters arrive on Earth, he commands his forces to spread out and hide. Immediately he gets upset that his creature friends are all taking the best hiding spots and not leaving him anywhere to seclude himself. Fighting Flea reminds Rito that he's the decoy, and he's the only one of them not supposed to hide. Rito repeatedly smacks himself on the helmet to jostle his bone brains into remembering this simple fact, as Flea chastises him for being such a doofus. This "check in but they don't check out" looking mother fucker needs to take the bass out of his voice while talking to the bone daddy.
The monsters conclude their hiding by finding really narrow trees to lightly place themselves behind. Ah, the Rangers will never think to look there! Good thinking everybody! Rito decides to make the most of his decoy activity by kicking back and laying down in the woods. He twiddles his toes around as he asks what he's supposed to do next. If this season somehow makes me hate Rito, I'm going to throw these DVD's in the goddamn trash.

Alpha contacts the Ranger Teens to warn them about a skeleton or something, I don't fucking know. Who cares? The spectrometer magnifica is on the fritz and I'm not a telepath.  

The Ranger Teens dip out from their godless free lunch and teleport into the woods. No sooner do they show up, than does Rito leap onto the scene to antagonize them. Tommy's foot starts to twitch as he sees a whole big juicy pile of bones in front of him, but the Rangers convince their fearless leader that they need to morph. Rito scoffs at their colorful costumes and promises them an even cooler trick. He's going to grow really tall by using a bomb or whatever.

Oh wait, hold the phone just a minute here. This is Season 3 motherfucker. Nobody's suicide bombing themselves into a giant this year! Nope. New season, new method of monster growth. So what's on the docket this year?

This scene brought to you by Forced Perspective

Now that Rito's gone giant, the Rangers decide to even the odds. They summon their brand new Ninjazords to challenge the evil skel-what's that? They're calling out the Thunderzords again? But I thought those were destroyed when Ivan Ooze blew up the Command Center. As a matter of fact, why haven't we brought up that Ivan Ooze fiasco yet? Are you trying to tell me that movie I forced my parents to take me to wasn't even canon?! Ivan Ooze never even existed!! Well Mr. Saban if that is your real name, you're going to be getting a harshly-worded e-mail from some loser with too much time on his hands about how poorly you handled your franchise for babies.

So yeah, the Rangers bring out the Thunder Megazord and White Tigerzord. Because my life is an unending spiral of those two lumps of shit getting dragged in front of the camera. Rito declares that the Rangers will be finished, just as soon as his gaggle of freakish animal friends come to back him up. The Rangers laugh at his foolish bluff and engage Rito in a sluggish Zord battle.

Why is it so sluggish? Because it's almost entirely U.S. footage. The Thunderzords come from Dairanger footage, and Rito comes from Kakuranger. So a fight between the two naturally didn't happen in the source material. Shots of Rito getting hit by attacks and firing energy bolts will be Sentai footage, and the shots of the Thunderzords attacking would be the same, but for the most part this is all original footage. Much like the fight between Repellator and the Thunderzords in "A Friend in Need Part 3." Just with fewer big floppy tongues on green slobbering idiots.

Rito and the Thunderzords engage in a brief skirmish before Goldar notes that Rito is in position for the ambush to begin. Rita and Zedd launch another cloud of growth lightning, and all four of the Zyu2 monsters turn gigantic.  Rito gives his monster cohorts shit for taking so long to show up. Lizzinator responds in kind by making fun of his boss for holding up so poorly against the Power Rangers. Two lines of dialogue that are almost completely unnecessary, but their inclusion is well-appreciated. The fact that you're giving any amount of characterization to the mindless animal golems that are going to get murdered every week is astonishing in a show where half of your main cast could be replaced with scarecrows.

Fighting Flea and Lizzinator gang up on the White Tigerzord while Octophantom and Stag Beetle challenge the Thunder Megazord. Well Stag Beetle challenges the Megazord. Octophantom gets kicked once and sits the rest of the fight out. Exactly what you'd expect from an ink-vomiting shitheel like him.

The monsters quickly gain the upper hand, and Rito joins the battle again. He launches massive blasts of energy at both Zords and leaves the Rangers reeling. Alpha 5 warns our heroes that he's trying to charge the Zords with more energy, but it's an extremely dangerous risk with how low they're running. This sounds an awful lot like Alpha forgot to take the Zords out for gas and he's acting like this is someone else's fault.

Thunder Megazord and White Tigerzord both try attacking Rito, but the shambling corpse isn't deterred. He reverses the flow of the Tigerzord's Thunderbolt, and spews a stream of fire at the Thunder Megazord. Zordon warns Alpha and the Rangers that their power supply is becoming incredibly unstable, and they run the risk of losing their powers. Quite similar to the events that occurred in that movie nobody saw a few months ago.

Alpha hammers on buttons on the control panel in a desperate attempt to gain control of the Zords, but nothing works. He even tries hitting that one button that teleports a bunch of unsuspecting children into his miserable slave palace to sing Christmas carols, but for some reason that doesn't help the Power Rangers out very much.

Rito and the monsters combine their forces once again to launch an assault on the Megazord pair. After an onslaught of energy blasts (as well as Lizzinator's super stink breath), the Rangers are forcibly ejected from the cockpit of their Thunderzords. Once the Rangers hit the ground, they notice that they've been demorphed and wonder what that could mean. Probably nothing too major. Maybe just a glitch in the Morphing Grid Flux Matrix or whatever.

CHRIST ON THE CROSS!

Wait…oh my God. The Rangers lost their Thunderzords? They'll never have access to the mightiest weapons in their arsenal again? No more Thunder Megazord or White Tigerzord to battle the forces of evil?

GOOD!



TO BE CONTINUED
  




Your Weekly 90's Nostalgia: Joining the Police to Pick Up Chicks



Personal Thoughts:


I'm all about this episode, and it's all for reasons that have nothing to do with the Power Rangers. Rito's arrival is excellent, and I appreciate that he's shown to be a total fuck-up from minute one. Compare that to Zedd's introduction in Season 2's opening. He's a gigantic badass who flips all the villains into disarray with his presence. Rito comes in and everyone shrugs him off for being such a jerk-off. Though even your initial view of Rito is shifted when he blows up those godforsaken Thunderzords. Oh yeah, and also I liked how four monsters came in and fought too. I like monsters a lot.

This episode legitimately blew me away when I was a kid. The Dinozords being destroyed was shocking, but they were reshaped into the Thunderzords so it was no big loss. The Thunderzords literally fell apart in front of us. They were scrapped so viscerally that it felt like a much bigger blow than the Rangers have ever faced before. I didn't care much for the Thunderzords even when I was young, but that didn't change the fact that seeing them come apart like they did flipped my world upside down. It's really a fantastic moment that perfectly sets up Season 3. 

Rito Revolto marks the first villain who originates from Ninja Sentai Kakuranger. The Sentai series following Dairanger. He was originally one of the main villains, and his appearance in Power Rangers signifies the switch to Kakuranger footage for Season 3. But they're still using the White Dairanger suit and the 5 Zyuranger suits. How are they gonna make this work?! Season 2 was such a goddamn mess with every monster fight, this is guaranteed to stink.

Not quite! Stay tuned.



7 comments:

  1. The tiger zordragon not so much but how can anyone enjoy the destruction of the thunder zords it was horrifying then and still is now. Sure I was prepared they were going to be gone soon but to destroy them in such a graphic gut wrecking proper fuck you way to fans of daire oh like me was totally not needed. Couldn't they just blow up in a flash and that's it?

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  2. Love the destruction of the Thunderzords. Really gave the situation some gravitas (not a word you often associate with Power Rangers)and felt very dramatic. Even re-watching it through adult eyes I think it's one of the best scenes of the Mighty Morphin era.

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    1. It's so visceral. You know if this happened in any other era of the show (Except maybe lost galaxy), they'd just explode in a cheaply done process shot and vanish. But no, they actually fall to pieces.

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    2. It's horrifying to me but admittably very well shot and at least it's memorable. I don't think there has ever been a zord destruction so final and decisive.

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  3. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=upn-K2ZJkaw

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  4. Man, this episode. Without the internet, my young hey-girls-are-fun-to-look-at-and-I-can't-quite-understand-why-yet brain just would not focus on the dramatic death of the Megazords. All I could focus on was Kimberly in a belly shirt that rose up a bit.

    Watching it now, it's interesting how AJJ (being, as you've said before, was the best actress on the show) is the only one who is actually acting like the death of these giant robots mean anything to her. Everyone else is doing generic grimacing, and she's having to be held back because she wants to run towards the things and try and save them.

    Unrelated, I've been watching a lot of other PR series, and its funny how being demorphed is no longer a big thing. This episode made the notion of having your suit removed mean a Big Thing. Nowadays, it happens every few episodes.

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