Inspired by our childhood heroes, but in a much more NSFW kinda way, the makers of gory new Power/Rangers are facing mounting pressure from the original creators of the kids' show.
Remember getting home from school and plopping in front of the TV and watching the Power Rangers take on the forces of evil, all Crayola-coloured costumes and cheesy dialogue? Did you wanna be the pink one? There was no blood, no gore, no guts, certainly no snorting of cocaine. It was bubblegum, obviously, as a kid’s show (also featured grossly bad production but that’s beside the point). By now, you've likely seen the bootleg reboot of the 90s tv series, which features all of the above.
The reboot, called Power/Rangers, is a 14-minute short directed by Joseph Kahn that takes on a reinterpretation of the classic show. You’ve also likely noticed that video has generated equal amounts of buzz and controversy. Opinions on the reboot, which is a significantly more graphic and adult take on the show are largely positive. Many have praised the grittier take on it, a few have slammed it for the same thing, and the net has just generally been buzzing insanely about it, but the biggest issue the film is facing right now is that it may very well be embroiled in a legal battle very soon.
This R-Rated Power Rangers short film is probably the best thing i've ever seen!! I want moreee!!! https://t.co/vaT24AS4oX— Dominic Crossland (@dscrossland) February 25, 2015
that Power/Rangers video is amazing, makes you wish an adult version of the show was made, I grew up on the original Rangers just amazing 😢— OutLast (@OutLa5t) February 25, 2015
That shit was wack, guns, gore, sex ,profanity , and dubstep is not how you make power rangers.— CRAZY DIAMOND!!!! (@Mrxdgrafiti) February 24, 2015
Power Rangers are still lame even with cursing, death, gore and sex. Sorry.— Sam Kaufman (@Sam_Kaufman) February 24, 2015
According to Joseph Kahn, the producer of the 90s Power Ranger, Haim Saban and Saban Capital Group Power Rangers LLC, the company that owns the rights to the Power Rangers IP, is trying to shut down the new Power/Rangers video, claiming copyright infringement. Vimeo had it taken down based on just that, but it may be restored as its creators have filed a DMCA counter-notification to fight the claims. Kahn also took to Twitter to refute the copyright claims with a series of tweets “Every image in 'Power/Rangers' is original footage," he posted. "Nothing was pre-existing. There is no copyrighted footage in the short. I am not making any money on it and I refuse to accept any from anyone. It was not even Kickstarted, I paid for it myself. This was made to be given away for free. It is just as if I drew a pic of Power Rangers on a napkin and I gave it to my friend. Is it illegal to give pic I drew of a character on a napkin to someone for free? No.”
The director’s intention with the short movie was to get as far away as possible from the original, which is clearly evidenced in the final product which is darker, grittier, more graphic, features quite a bit of blood and is definitely NSFW. Oh, and Dawson is in it (aka James Van Der Beek). "The trick that I really wanted to do with this was to make that dark and gritty version that everybody keeps talking about, but really do it," he said. "Really see if I could totally accomplish it with essentially a really incredible incredibly silly property."
Considering the insane amount of hits it's already garnered, the movie definitely hit a chord with audiences. Unfortunately the original creators are not quite as pleased, but considering how weak the copyright allegations are, Saban may very well back down, but it’s still up in the air. According to TMZ one of the producers on the project, Ash Venkatram, is going to keep the video on YouTube “until he gets a cease and desist.”
Saban, who, fun fact, is originally Egyptian and was born in Alexandria but migrated to Israel in 1956, is currently teaming up with Lionsgate for a theatrical film release of the Power Rangers franchise, which is still in the works but set for release in 2016, so if a legal situation ensues, it may impact the production of the film.
You can watch the movie below.