Power Rangers Dino Charge: Unleashed

| January 17, 2016

Power Rangers Dino Charge: Unleashed collects the first four episodes of Power Rangers’ 22nd season, and is now available on home video from Lionsgate Home Entertainment. With these episodes, Dino Charge is off to a promising start, and let me tell you, that’s an incredible relief! After all, I’ve previously posted a lot of words to this site on the many failures of Power Rangers Megaforce. In fact, if I hadn’t kept reiterating through those reviews that I otherwise enjoy Power Rangers, especially previous seasons like Samurai/Super Samurai, you might have assumed I hold some sort of grudge against Power Rangers, or that I was just looking for any excuse to complain. But that’s not it at all.

I’m not the kind of guy who’ll go into something expecting to hate it. Unlike a lot of people you see whining online these days, I tend not to watch shows or go see movies I’m not interested in, no matter how much I’m sure I’ll find to complain about. I want to minimize my life’s frustrations.

That said, I’m also not the kind of fan who’ll happily eat up whatever’s shoved in front of me. I’m critical because I care. I think a lot about the media I engage with regularly precisely because I want to love it, because I want any series I like to be the best it possibly can be. And that critical approach I take with me into even the most commonly critically disregarded media I partake in, such as “children’s” entertainment like Power Rangers. After all, we should want children’s entertainment to be just as valuable and socially responsible as any other media our society generates. It’s made for developing minds!

Though Dino Charge may still have considerable ground to make up with regard to representation (this is not entirely Saban’s fault, as I’ll discuss), this season’s early back-to-basics approach to Power Rangers storytelling bodes well for what’s to come. In these episodes, we watch the Rangers come together, learn to control their powers, learn the value of teamwork, and we’re even treated to some quality character development that humanizes some of these characters to a greater extent than any Megaforce Ranger ever was! So engaged were my son and I by all this that once we had worked our way through the episodes on this debut Dino Charge DVD, we turned to Netflix to watch some more. And that’s something I never considered doing with Megaforce.

The one thing greatly lacking among the Dino Charge Rangers at this juncture is gender diversity, though. The team is composed of four male Rangers and only one female, with the team’s scientific advisor and supervisor at the museum at which they all work being a woman as well. Granted, the sentai from which Dino Rangers draws its Rangers stock footage clearly features four male and one female Ranger—later episodes in the sentai appear to have more female rangers from screenshots I’ve seen, but who knows if Saban will use that footage. The thing is, the gender makeup of the sentai teams didn’t stop Saban from upping the female Ranger quota in previous seasons anyway. Look back to Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and you’ll find that the yellow ranger in the stock footage is clearly male in spite of the American cast member, Thuy Trang, being female.

Fortunately though, we at least get some racial diversity, and the characters aren’t all from the same background either, adding some much welcome complexity to the team. The most refreshing addition to what is otherwise a fairly predictable array of your average “teenagers with attitude” is Koda, the Blue Ranger. Played by Indonesian-born Yoshi Sudarso, Koda is in fact a caveman who’s been seemingly granted immortality by the blue Energem, which gives him his Ranger powers. Koda’s background allows for some very familiar, yet still amusing, Encino Man-style scenarios in which his caveman origins come into conflict with modern day living. Televisions frighten him, for example, and English gives him a heck of a time! I’m in fact most excited to see what the writers do with Koda, providing they do anything with him at all.

With that in mind, it’s impossible to tell as yet whether or not the writers will have used this classic setup to do anything fresh and interesting with Dino Charge. Hopefully we don’t find the season and its characters treading water for the majority of its episodes as we’ve seen done in the past—Megaforce was indeed guilty of this with stagnation defining its proceedings almost from moment one. Still, from the episodes collected in Unleashed and the couple I’ve seen on Netflix, I’m happy to say they’re off to a strong start.

If you want to keep up with Dino Charge’s home video/digital releases, get started now as Unleashed is indeed already available on DVD (plus Digital) and Digital HDH from Lionsgate Home Entertainment.

About the Author:

Jef is a writer and educator in Chicago, Illinois. He holds a degree in Media & Cinema Studies from DePaul University, but sometimes he drops it and picks it back up again. He's also the Editor-in-Chief of FilmMonthly.com and is fueled entirely by coffee (as if you couldn't tell).
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