Saturday, November 4, 2017

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Live

The 1990s were an interesting time where, if something was popular, they would try to keep it popular in any way whatsoever.  One of the ideas that came out of children’s entertainment was traveling stage shows.  Disney on Ice was a big thing.  The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles had their Coming Out of Their Shells tour.  Mighty Morphin Power Rangers even got in on the stage show concept with their very own Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Live show.

The stage show happened during the second season of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, and as it was included in the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers box set, I’ll be taking a look at the recording while I’m between the second and third seasons of the show.  This is the third of three specials being written about during the season break.  It might be the most interesting, too.  We’ll see as we get into…
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Live
A news report came on the screen about a meteor heading toward Earth.  When the meteor crash landed, two aliens appeared.  They approached Lord Zedd, who was hiding in one of Earth’s cities, to learn his evil ways.  He let them in on his plan.  The reason he had gone to the city was to draw the Power Rangers away from Zordon, making it easier to fight them.

Zordon sent Alpha to investigate Lord Zedd being in the city.  He went to the park and searched for clues, where he ended up being taunted by putties.  The Power Rangers showed up to save Alpha.  Zordon let them know that the putties were just bait to get the Power Rangers to the city, and told them to go find Lord Zedd.

Once the Power Rangers arrived in the city, Lord Zedd unleashed his newest monster.  Lumitor was a fire lion that Lord Zedd was hoping would be a strong enough foe to defeat the Power Rangers.  How wrong he would be.

Goldar appeared in the city where the Power Rangers were and a fight ensued.  He kidnapped Adam and Aisha and took them back to Lord Zedd’s secret Earth base.  Aisha feigned a sore ankle, convincing Squatt and Baboo to free them while Goldar wasn’t watching.  Unfortunately, they weren’t able to escape because Lord Zedd showed up and put them in cages.

The Power Rangers were about to storm Lord Zedd’s base when Alpha stopped them.  He told them it was a trap.  Lord Zedd got mad when the four free Power Rangers didn’t show up and turned his two captives into monkeys.  That didn’t please him, so he then turned them into birds.

To finish off the first portion of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Live, the Power Rangers got their Zords and began fighting Lumitor.  They ended up finishing the fight on foot, going hand to hand against the fire lion.  They ended up winning, sending the story into the second half.

The second half began with Goldar taking Adam and Aisha to the park, where the putties would build a new monster.  A robot named Hollow Monster would be the new foe for the Power Rangers as they tried to save their friends.

The Power Rangers showed up at the park to find their friends.  They found the Adam and Aisha birds and learned about Hollow Monster right before Hollow Monster attacked.  The way to defeat Hollow Monster was to make as much noise as possible.  It would resonate inside his hollow body and destroy him from the inside.  Once they defeated the monster, they noticed that their friends had been taken away.

Squatt was hiding behind a boulder in the park.  The Power Rangers used Squatt to break into Lord Zedd’s secret lair.  They fought some putties, but met their match with a giant Lord Zedd.  They ended up defeating him and saving the day, but it was one of the toughest victories they ever had.  Defeating Lord Zedd also saved Adam and Aisha.

There were fights galore in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Live.  Most of them involved unlanded kicks and punches while a crowd was on stage, so I’m going to skip over describing that stuff.  I’m going to look at the fights that were interesting, unique, or had something other than crowd pushing to offer.  There are still a lot of fights to go over, many of which called upon the audience to participate.

The final fight against Lumitor was an interesting one.  The four Power Rangers who weren’t being held captive called upon the Zords.  All six Zords showed up, even though two of the Power Rangers weren’t there.  They formed the Megazord, then didn’t fight Lumitor in the Zords because he was still normal size on stage.  They hopped out of the Zords and fought him in hand to hand combat before getting the audience to shout “Go Go Power Rangers” to win the fight.  It was a mess of a fight that probably could have been handled better.  Like, maybe, with someone in a Megazord suit?

Another fight that called upon the audience was the fight against the Hollow Monster.  Adam and Aisha, as birds, let the Power Rangers know that loud noises would defeat the Hollow Monster.  While Rocky was kicking it to keep it away from everyone, the Power Rangers asked the audience to yell at Hollow Monster.  As the audience grew louder, the Power Rangers were able to tear the monster apart.  It could no longer attack Earth.

There were two major parts to the climactic fight, each deserving to be mentioned.  The first was the giant Lord Zedd that loomed over the stage.  As he mocked the Power Rangers and threatened to defeat them, they discovered that they couldn’t use their powers.  Lord Zedd was blocking them.  They couldn’t call upon their Zords.  The Power Rangers needed the help of the audience once again.  The kids in the audience had reflector cards.  The Power Rangers told them to hold up the cards and reflect Lord Zedd’s power back at him.  They did that and yelled “More light!”  This defeated the giant Lord Zedd and freed Adam and Aisha from their bird forms.  It also led into the second part of the fight.

A swarm of putties came back to the stage to surround the Power Rangers.  They split up into one on one pairings, and then froze on stage.  One at a time, the Power Rangers fought their respective putty while everyone else was frozen.  It was an interesting use of blocking that helped to highlight every individual fight while still showing how big the battle was.  The focus was placed on one pair at a time so that nothing would get lost during the battle.  This was the only time that this idea was utilized, which is a shame because it would have helped with some of the earlier fights to make them feel less cluttered.
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Live was an interesting piece of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers history.  It had a solid storyline that would have been well suited to the show.  The issues with it came from the staged production and the limitations that it brought.  There were many of those, as well as some interesting notes that stood out among the normal Power Rangers stuff.

One of the first things to happen with Mighty Morphin Power Ranger: Live was the title popping up on screen.  There was a little something extra at the beginning of the title, a little something that wasn’t there during the television show, movie, or specials outside of the live show.  A sponsor helped fund Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Live.  That sponsor was 7Up, the carbonated beverage.  They had definitely invested enough in the live show to get their name in the title so that anyone who ever attended the show or watched on video would get a little dose of advertising.

7Up didn’t factor into the story of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Live.  Rita Repulsa did, however.  There was a running gag throughout the show that wasn’t mentioned in my recap where Lord Zedd was always finding ways to get rid of Rita.  She was turned into a doll and placed in a miniature casket.  She was sent to the moon.  There were various methods of disposal that never quite worked.  This was a great difference from the television show which had, at that point, married the two characters.  One thing gave away the fact that the story took place after the marriage.  Rita Repulsa didn’t return to Mighty Morphin Power Rangers until after The Power Transfer, and when she returned, the two villains immediately wed.  Since the live show had Rocky, Adam, and Aisha as Power Rangers, it had to take place after The Wedding.  Lord Zedd and Rita Repulsa were behaving as they did in The Mutiny, which made things feel off.  It was a good attempt at comedic relief, but it didn’t fit with what the show had been doing.

Also of note was the fact that the live show only used the television show’s cast for pre-recorded videos and voice work.  This meant that the Power Rangers who appeared on stage had to always be in their power suits.  No helmets were ever removed on stage.  It got awkward at times, when the stage actors had to flail their arms around to signal who was talking at a given time.  Perhaps it would have been better to do a “summer tour” sort of thing with the cast, where they could perform in the stage show between seasons of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.  Or they could have entirely just recast the Power Rangers.  That could have caused confusion among the younger viewers, though, which would have killed ticket sales.  The tour with the cast would have been the better choice.

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Live was a small detour from the actual show that was an interesting failure of sorts.  The story felt like it could have fit nicely into the show, even being one of the stronger standouts.  But a lack of having the actual cast made everything ring a little false.  Add in a Zord battle that went nowhere because the Zords couldn’t show up on stage, and there was a lot of mildly disappointing stuff that snowballed.  It wasn’t the worst thing, but it felt like wasted potential.

That does it for the three specials that had to be covered between seasons 2 and 3.  It all began with Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie.  That led into Lord Zedd’s Monster Heads.  Now I’ve capped it off with Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Live.  Three special posts about three special entries in the Power Rangers franchise.  Pretty soon, I’ll be getting back into the main story by watching the third season premiere.  Come back soon and there will be a post all about the first part of A Friend in Need.  See you then.  

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