This Power Rangers Dino Charge review contains spoilers.
As a little kid, I would lose my mind the night before a new season of Power Rangers would premiere. I wouldn’t be able to sleep. I’d keep thinking about what I’d see the next day. What will the new characters be like? What powers will they have? What will the theme song sound like? What’s the story?
I’ve never quite lost that feeling as I’ve grown up. Even when I knew a season had every reason to be awful, I still looked forward to the premiere because it was new Power Rangers. Something different. New in jokes. New fan theories. New headcanons. So when the Power Rangers Dino Charge premiere was announced? I was hyped. Well, as hyped as I could be after the last four years of Power Rangers.
I won’t lie to you; the last four years have been tough for this Power Rangers fan. Sure, every season has some good aspects, but for me? I’ve had to actively look for things to enjoy. Making up my own headcanons was required. The show wasn’t giving me enough. It didn’t engage me. It was bad on nearly every level.
So when Dino Charge brought in fan favorite Judd Lynn at the helm and former Executive Producer Jonathan Tzachor was gone? I wanted to hope. But after four years of being constantly let down? I couldn’t get hyped. I refused. So I approached this premiere with what I can only describe as cautious optimism.
I was blown away. Totally and completely blown away. Is it the greatest PR premiere ever? Probably not, but it was fun.
Right off the bat, we have almost ten minutes dedicated to introducing the back-story of the show. Think about that for a second. That’s a huge risk. They don’t show a single ranger character and instead focus on the villains and what we can only assume will be our new mentor, The Keeper. The villains we meet all have distinctive personalities that are fun, the best of which being the engaged Sledge and Poisandra. They recall some of the Zedd/Rita dynamics in Season 3 of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. More of this, please.
Sledge is also keeping what appears to be a whole group of monsters imprisoned along with a collection of asteroids. This is a man just trying to make his way in the world, get married, and what happens? The Keeper sends a bomb up to the ship that inadvertently causes the death of all dinosaurs. WOOPS. But in all seriousness, the shot where the Keeper realizes his plan to take out Sledge is about to rain fiery death on Earth? That is some heartfelt stuff. Gives The Keeper some guilt.
We cut to millions of years later where we start being introduced to our Rangers. Tyler, on a quest to find clues to his missing father. Chase, wanna-be ladies man. Koda, lover of burgers and strong guy. Kendall, lead scientist. Finally, Shelby, our POV character and employee of the Dino Bite café.
In my past Super Megaforce reviews, I’ve talked about the treatment of female characters in Power Rangers. So seeing not only a female be the main focus of the premiere but a woman of color at that? Bravo, Power Rangers. Bravo. Shelby is someone we want to root for. She wants to dig up dinosaur bones but is stuck serving burgers and fries. (Side note, did you see those ribs they were offering? GIVE THEM TO ME.) So what does she do? She sneaks to the dig and ends up confronting an ice monster while Tyler is off spelunking in a cave.
Choosing to give the main focus to Shelby, secondary focus to Tyler, and introducing the others on the side was a smart move. Hell, they didn’t even show Green Ranger, Riley, at all in the premiere! We get to have time to get to know Shelby and Tyler instead of trying to introduce everyone and their powers. Power Rangers hasn’t had this kind of restraint in a long time.
Speaking of which, when was the last time we had an episode, especially a premiere that was 100 percent original footage? No Sentai whatsoever? “Quaser Quest Part 1” comes to mind. Perhaps “Beginnings Part 1?” Regardless, it’s rare. But it helps the series establish itself without rushing to have a ten-minute fight, ala the Megaforce premiere.
In fact, our one Ranger fight this episode is very quick and involves a spectacular sequence where Tyler and Shelby morph by accident. Always nice when PR plays with its own conventions. They are able to fight off the monster when a giant T-Rex zord comes stomping through. Only shilling toys for a few minutes of your premiere Dino Charge? Really bold.
The episode ends with Tyler becoming a modern day Ryan Steele from VR Troopers when he explains how his father has been missing for ten years. The two ride off but are followed by Fury, one of Sledge’s generals.
“Powers From The Past” works so well because it takes its time. It slowly introduces everything but leaves a few questions dangling. When will the other Rangers show up? Are Chase and Koda already Rangers? Where did Sledge and company go after The Keepers attack? Where is the Keeper? These are great little hooks to keep the audience watching.
The only real nitpick I can find with the episode is how easily Tyler was able to get into a cave WITH AN ACTIVE LAVA FLOW. How is that not blocked off? But in the grand scheme of the episode, very minor.
Dino Charge is charged up and ready to go. Hopefully the next few episodes carry the momentum of the premiere. I’d hate for this to be another SPD situation where the premiere is solid and the rest of the season takes a swift down turn as it goes on. But for now? I’m holding tight and keeping my power alive!
– Wrench? The blue guy on Sledge’s ship? Love his voice. Need more.
– The return of the 80’s sitcom style, turn to the camera and smile thing. PR should have never abandoned this.
– ALL HAIL THE KEEPER. He is the Ferbus look alike we need.
– When Sledge was looking through the wanted posters, did anyone else spot Monkeywi from Power Rangers Jungle Fury? He was one of the few monsters in Jungle Fury that was just wandering around the Earth for who knows how long so…. Coincidence? Or master plan? YOU DECIDE.
– Open the door, get on the floor, Keeper killed the dinosaurs!
– “Ladiesss.” “BUZZ OFF.” I love Chase getting turned down TWICE in this episode. A stark contrast to Jake from last year.
– On that same track, Shelby being the most desired one out of the team AND being a woman of color? That’s rare for TV in general, not just PR. I LOVE IT.