Directed by Mark Beesley et al
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Running Time: 138 minutes
Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo English
Release Date: September 18, 2007
Review Date: September 19, 2007
Let’s face it. Younger kids looking for an action-oriented television series operating at their level don’t have lots of options. Thus, Power Rangers: Operation Overdrive - Brownbeard’s Pearl is going to delight them. Part Indiana Jones (times five), part Transformers, and part Kung Fu, the series is eighty percent action with just enough story to propel the show from one episode to the next. It’s not great TV, but I’d be willing to bet it’ll keep young boys under the age of 10 thoroughly engrossed through its mixture of action, puzzles, and comedy.
This first volume in an obvious series of five introduces us to the five athletic young people who become our Fab Five: Red Ranger Mark (James Maclurcan), Yellow Ranger Ronny (Caitlin Murphy), Black Ranger Will (Samuell Beuta), Pink Ranger Rose (Rhoda Montemayor), and Blue Ranger Dax (Gareth Yuen). Together with billionaire philanthropist Andrew Hartford (Rod Lousich) who funds their adventures and his butler Spencer Spencer (David Weatherley), the team is on an around-the-world quest to collect the five jewels that were mounted in the Corona Aurora, a crown whose owner will gain unstoppable power. Naturally, forces of evildoers are also on the trail of the tiara: a set of evil demonic twins (one of fire and one of ice) and a spiteful witch who are not above using their enemies’ all too human frailties (pride, love) to gain the upper hand.
The six episodes in volume one (and likely all subsequent volumes) detail the quest for the first gem, a pearl, and their adventures take them from the lost continent of Atlantis to the Caribbean digging for pirate treasure. The stories such as they are certainly are easy to follow, and the fast moving action, mostly fighting that involves a combination of tumbling, kung fu, and jujitsu makes up a majority of each show. Most of the episodes allow one member of the team to have an extra scene or two in the spotlight, but by the end of each disc, each ranger has made an impression and learned some kind of lesson, and we‘ve also been treated to the only performer that might appeal to adults, the droll butler Spencer who serves lemonade at the drop of a hat and is not above testing the team by donning various clever disguises.
Here’s the rundown of episodes in volume one:
1 - Kick It into Overdrive Part 1
2 - Kick It into Overdrive Part 2
3 - The Underwater World
4 - Heart of Blue
5 - Weather or Not
6 - Pirate in Pink
The show appears to have been filmed for 4:3 televisions though occasional scenes are squeezed so all five rangers can fit into the frame. The show is wildly colorful, and the ultra saturated colors are solid. The images are clean and bright, perfect to hold the interest of the target audience. Each episode has been divided into 6 chapters.
The Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo sound is decoded by Prologic into all of the available channels for an immersive experience. Every kick, grunt, and expletive is clear and precise though loud explosions and the general destruction that are a part of every episode could have more oomph.
Ranger Bios is a 6-minute summation of the backgrounds of the five Power Ranger characters. For those new to the characters, it’s a valuable short cut in establishing who’s who. Sadly, nothing is here on the young actors who are playing the roles.
Ranger Reserve Training Course Level 1 consists of two games for younger viewers. The first is a trivia quiz on events that happen in the disc’s six episodes. Once past that round, there is a search for a pearl using logic and deduction which younger children might need help with. Both of these games are a skill level above the games offered on the usual children’s discs from Disney that I’ve reviewed.
The DVD features a selection of trailers from other Disney-related DVDs including Ratatouille, Return to Neverland, The Jungle Book, and High School Musical 2. Surprisingly there are no trailers for upcoming edtions of the Power Rangers though there is an insert in the case announcing the next releases.
If you have small fry, male variety, looking for something to occupy their TV time, this first volume of Power Rangers will likely serve their needs more than adequately.