By Owen Gleiberman
July 14, 1995 at 04:00 AM EDT

If kids ran the world, every movie would look like Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie. It’s a video brat’s action fantasy jackpot: Star Wars meets The Wizard of Oz meets Jason and the Argonauts meets every explosive thriller a kid ever glimpsed on the tube five minutes past bedtime. I wouldn’t be surprised, either, if the picture inspired more enthusiasm on the part of its young audience than a prettified lecture like Pocahontas. Disney’s earnest fable tries to improve and uplift kids, but Mighty Morphin Power Rangers gives them what they really want: a blast of rowdy kinetic overkill. As played by the same young actors who star in the hugely popular Fox TV series, the heroes, intergalactic teen commandos who speak in gee-whiz clichés, don’t quite have personalities. What they have are cheerleader grins, an array of dazzling martial-arts flips, and a general avidness about kicking butt that hasn’t been seen since the days of Bruce Lee.

The plot is really a breathless collage of high-energy set pieces. The heroes skydive, skateboard, and engage in hand-to-hand combat; they morph into their color-coded Power Ranger alter egos; they fight giant metallic monsters and a villain who smirks like Freddy Krueger and leaves gobs of purple goo in his wake. Mighty Morphin Power Rangers is an utterly depersonalized thrill machine, yet it’s exactly the film’s go-go relentlessness that is likely to make boys and girls eat it up. Watching the movie, you can feel Hollywood hooking an entire generation on the aesthetics of instant gratification — a generation that may never want (or expect) a movie to be anything but an aerobicized pop blitzkrieg.

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