Take footage from a Japanese superhero show (Sentai Kyoryu Zyuranger), mix it with newly filmed sequences of teenage martial artists interacting with a giant floating head, and you have Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers, the show that launched the seemingly neverending Power Rangers franchise.
A space shuttle lands on the Moon. I guess. It sure doesn’t look like the Moon. Two astronauts find a giant dumpster and immediately open it because why not?
Out come four strange creatures – Finster, Goldar, Squatt, and Baboo, along with their leader, Rita Repulsa, who wears a very large, very pointed hat. She and her group have been trapped for 10,000 years, and to celebrate their newfound freedom, they plan to destroy Earth!
Teenagers with Attitude
Meanwhile, we meet our five teenage protagonists at the Angel Grove Youth Center: Jason, Kimberly, Trini, Zack, and finally Billy – he’s here to take his first karate class, but struggles a lot (since he’s a NERD).
Local bullies Bulk and Skull make an appearance and try to score a double date with Trini and Kimberly, but only succeed in scoring a fall on the floor. Suddenly there’s an earthquake.
We cut to a temple in some cliffs – Zordon’s Command Center. Inside, a robot named Alpha 5 complains about the earthquake, while his boss, giant floating head-in-a-tube Zordon, tells him to calm down.
Our five teenage protagonists appear via teleportation and Zordon tells them that Rita’s really bad and he’s going to give them superpowers to stop her.
Shiny belt buckles materialize on each of the five’s belts, which allow them to “morph” into Power Rangers, granting them “access to a universe of power” as well as giant robots known as zords, which can all combine to form a giant humanoid robot, the Megazord.
But like all teenagers, the quintet isn’t easily impressed and they leave the Command Center.
Elsewhere, Rita has upgraded from space dumpster to moon palace, and seems to be watching these events unfold through a telescope. She sends her clay warriors, the Putty Patrol, to fight the teens.
After everyone gets a thorough beatdown, Jason gets the bright idea to use the Power Morphers to turn into Power Rangers. After all, with “access to a universe of power,” they can surely defeat a bunch of clay people, right? Actually none of that matters because as soon as they morph, the Putty threat has ended (?) and the Rangers must now move to Angel Grove City for another fight.
The Rangers teleport and land on the roof of a building, where they meet Rita’s dog-like minion Goldar and another Putty Patrol (or possibly the same one we saw earlier). The Rangers kick a lot of ass and Rita isn’t happy, so she throws her magic wand all the way to Earth to make Goldar 100 feet taller.
Jason summons the Dinozords (animal robots), which he and the other Rangers literally jump into and apparently already know how to pilot. The five zords combine into a giant robot – the Megazord; after a short sword fight, Goldar retreats.
Overall, this episode was pretty rushed, which is understandable given that this is the first episode and it needs to establish a lot of things. All the characters are introduced, but they’re stereotypical and dull. After Zordon’s infodump, we quickly move from battle to battle to battle. Because of this, I feel like nothing really memorable happened.
True, the first episode’s purpose is to set up the status quo for the rest of the series. The problem, though, is that everything we learned in this episode is already explained in the first twenty seconds of the show’s opening sequence. The fact that this episode is no better than those twenty seconds is what makes it truly pointless.