Directed by Britta Johnstone, Mike Smith
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Running Time: 138 minutes
Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo English
Release Date: February 12, 2008
Review Date: February 6, 2008
The fourth volume of Power Rangers picks up the story where it left off in volume three with the Rangers and their philanthropist hot on the trail of the remaining jewels for the Corona Aurora. Having found the pearl at the end of the first set of adventures, the diamond at the end of the second, and the blue sapphire at the end of the third (only to lose it to powerful witch Miratrix), the team now turns its attention to retrieving the Star of Isis. Their adventures take them from Stonehenge to Egypt and then to the Everglades in a series of adventures that ups the ante of the previous three volumes.
The team is still made up of the same six rangers: Red Ranger Mark (James Maclurcan), Yellow Ranger Ronny (Caitlin Murphy), Black Ranger Will (Samuell Beuta), Pink Ranger Rose (Rhoda Montemayor), Blue Ranger Dax (Gareth Yuen), and Mercury Ranger Tyzonn (Dwayne Cameron). Together with billionaire philanthropist Andrew Hartford (Rod Lousich) who funds their adventures and his butler Spencer Spencer (David Weatherley), the team again battles the evil twin demons Moltor and Flurious and the continued skullduggery of witch Miratrix (Ria Vandervis). One new villain arrives in the first episode, Thrax (Glen Levy) who urges all of the evil powers to temporarily join forces to defeat the Rangers. Though it works well for a time, the Rangers themselves have some surprises up their sleeves, especially when they are joined by a new force, the Sentinel Knight (Nic Sampson).
The producers of the series have obviously increased the budget for the series with this latest installment as there are more villains, another set of future Power Rangers, a huge new megazord, and more special effects sequences that seem a step up from previous editions. Yes, the miniatures and animation are still obvious, but the stunt work and explosions continue to impress. What’s more, we get to see the actors doing a lot of the tumbling undisguised by the Ranger outfits, so we can see that these are true athletes at work here.
The storylines maintain their primary level of thematic simplicity, but the writers have included life lessons in the episodes about individuality, trust, and teamwork And most importantly, the writers reveal a complete surprise in the volume’s sixth episode that will catch many unaware.
Here’s the rundown of episodes on volume four:
1 - Once a Ranger, Part I
2 - Once a Ranger, Part II
3 - One Fine Day
4 - Ronny on Empty, Part I
5 - Ronny on Empty, Part II
6 - Things Not Said
The show appears to have been filmed for 4:3 televisions though occasional scenes are squeezed so that all six rangers can fit into the frame (and at one point there are eleven rangers side-by-side). The shows feature bold color (sometimes too bold bordering on over-saturation), good sharpness, and good black levels. 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 consistent from the other editions. 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 power and drive. The sound could really use a legitimate surround track, but if one is listening merely through TV speakers, he likely wouldn’t notice the difference.
Ranger Genetic Enhancements is a 5½-minute summation of the genetic enhancements the five original Rangers have undergone to increase their effectiveness as warriors. Each character describes his own specially enhanced gift. It’s in 4:3.
Ranger Reserve Training Course Level 4 consists of three games for younger viewers. The first is a trivia quiz on events that happened in previous adventures. Once past that round, there is a reasonably educational geography lesson based on locations the Rangers have visited over their four adventures. The third round is an obstacle course trying to sneak past laser beams and security cameras to find the gem.
The DVD features a selection of trailers from other Disney-related films and DVDs including The Aristocats, Snow Buddies, Minute Men, Wall-E, 101 Dalmatians, and High School Musical 2, among others.
If you have small fry, especially the male variety, looking for something to occupy their TV time, this fourth volume of Power Rangers will likely serve their needs more than adequately. These juvenile adventures continue to show improvement in story and character development as the series progresses, and I have to admit I‘m curious to see how it will all end myself in the last volume.