Go Go Power Rangers! – as if there weren’t enough superhero movies congesting the current market of high-budget entertainment produced in Hollywood, a “Power Rangers” reboot featuring the main characters of the original Power Rangers television series, aired back in the 1990s, currently awaits more or less pleased moviegoers.Portrayed by a new cast, the film’s highly creative storyline centers around its five main characters who, after being recruited by a wise galactic sage called Zordon, are instructed to stop an alien threat led by a witch answering to the lovely name Rita Repulsa and, therefore, must save the world in order to defend humanity – probably just like every superhero movie there has ever been, which would explain the fairly mixed reviews the movie is getting by various film critics.
For the musical score, as announced by early 2016, Brian Tyler was brought in. Within the last couple of years, Tyler has become the go-to composer on nearly every large-scale action-adventure movie produced in Hollywood, his recent discography ranging from various entries into the incredibly popular Marvel Cinematic Universe to his work on the Fast and the Furious franchise. On several occasions, he has proven that he, in comparison to a huge number of composers working in the industry, is clearly capable of writing densely-orchestrated, intelligent action music; his scores for the “Now You See Me” films easily come to mind. Unfortunately, following up the highly disappointing “xXx: The Return of Xander Cage”, Tyler’s “Power Rangers” score cannot continue this path as well due to its heavy reliance on uncompassionly-handled power anthems and simplistic string ostinatos – seriously, we have heard it all before. Tyler may have tried to do the best he could with the material given to him, but the final result just remains another rather basic entry in the recent Hollywood action scoring.
Written for large orchestra, as usual conducted by the composer himself, frequently used electronica and synthetic sounds, the score brings a massive musical accompanyment to the movie that closely resembles any Tyler score from the past. If you mix together Steve Jablonsky’s “Transformers” scores, Daft Punk’s popular “Tron: Legacy” and the composer’s own stylistical approach, well-known by now, “Power Rangers” would be the unsurprisingly generic-sounding outcome. Many fans, myself included, have hoped that this score might have resulted, judging by stylistical terms, in the inofficial sequel score for “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”, a score Tyler had written in 2014 but never got the opportunity to get back writing an original score for the follow-up. However, particularly in comparison to his “Now You See Me” scores, it falls short. Still, the energetic score is a lot of fun – at least, if you turn out your head and simply like to sit back enjoying a pretty standard, yet simultaneously entertaining effort.
Like most of the composer’s earlier works, the score is built around a heroic-energetic main theme, at first introduced in the 4-minute album opener “Power Rangers Theme”, that – despite its strongly simplistic chord progression – acts as the score’s cornerstone on which Tyler expands as the story demands. In addition, the composer employs the original television series theme, first heard in “Let’s Ride” and in the album’s final cue, that nicely acts as a throwback to the film’s basis. Rounding out the thematic palette is a creepy four-note theme associated with the story’s main antagonist, Rita, that – would you believe it – receives its first appearance in the same-named cue, and, hereinafter, is turned into a menacing action motif.
Thrown in between these huge action sequences are some moments of relief that, in their pleasant tranquility, focus rather on melodic grace than on sheer volume and, therefore, allow the score to breathe. Fragile piano tunes and warm synthetics, leading into a soft, guitar-driven statement of Tyler’s main theme, dominate the enjoyable “Confessions” that finally succeeds in breathing some life into the score. “United” continues that path, the fluid piano writing, combined with rising strings, providing emotional depth that is further enhanced by the noble main theme variation. Sparkled throughout the score, cues such as “Be Who You Want To Be” and “This Is What Matters”, are written in the same vein, taking a badly needed break from the nearly ever-present action bombast.
Other musical moments of note include the muscular, brass-heavy “Megazord”, the action-bursting “Hold The Line”, both of which include various renditions of Tyler’s main theme, as well as the short but beautifully serene “Square One”.
The pair of “Together We Stand” and “The Final Stand” forms the movie’s end, accompanying the Power Rangers’ late victory against evil forces and their well-deserved praise, shown by them being celebrated as local heroes. Furious string ostinati, aggressive brass, pushed forward by relentlessly pulsating electronics, illustrate the on-going fight before, after regaining the peace, fading into a modest but graceful performance of the six-note main theme. Meanwhile, the conclusive “Go Go Power Rangers – End Titles” sees Tyler referencing the opening theme of the original Power Rangers series “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers”, the rollicking performance by orchestra and heavy percussion as performed by the composer himself ensuring a satisfying musical continuity. Once more, Tyler’s main theme appears, strings and noble brass underpinned by loudly mixed electronic effects, accentuating the rhythm, and finally closes the 78-minute album.
If you cannot get enough of sheer orchestral bombast written for superhero movies, this one comes highly recommended, for Tyler creates a pulsating, rhythmic-driven soundscape, strongly resembling Steve Jablonsky’s “Transformers” and the composer’s own prior works, that – if you are willing to ignore its generic nature – works very fine in context and makes up for an entertaining listening experience. As such, Brian Tyler’s “Power Rangers” score, due to its powerful orchestral performance, certainly does its name justice, but ultimately fails to develop any sort of musical personality that could elevate the movie itself and, therefore, falls short in ranking above the average level of what you could expect from the composer.
Music composed, conducted and co-orchestrated by Brian Tyler. Additional music composed by Stuart Michael Thomas. Orchestrated by Robert Elhai and Brad Warnaar. Album produced by Brian Tyler.
1. Power Rangers Theme (4:22)
2. Seek Those Who Are Worthy (2:50)
3. Zordon Awakes (2:15)
4. It’s Morphing Time! (3:21)
5. Destiny (2:19)
6. Confessions (4:22)
7. Megazord (4:20)
8. United (2:46)
9. Birth Of A Legend (4:12)
10. Metamorphosis (2:40)
11. Goldar (2:03)
12. The Morphing Grid (3:59)
13. The Zords (2:35)
14. Let’s Ride (2:20)
15. You Were Born For This (2:05)
16. Reflection (2:15)
17. The Lost Ship (3:00)
18. I’ll Show You Mine If You Show Me Yours (2:24)
19. Be Who You Want To Be (2:08)
20. Hold The Line (3:36)
21. This Is What Matters (2:06)
22. Tresspassing (1:05)
23. Rita (2:30)
24. Square One (1:12)
25. Power On (2:34)
26. Together We Stand (2:21)
27. The Final Stand (2:46)
28. Go Go Power Rangers — End Titles (2:59)
Album available on Varèse Sarabande.