Sorry for the late update on this second part, everyone; I got a bit distracted and then lost focus. But, thankfully, the piece was not lost to the eons of time. So, last time, the rangers warped into the construction yard to try and locate Ivan– will they find him, are they too late? Read on and find out the obvious.
Then the rangers warp into the construction yard. Yay!
They search the egg a bit before encountering the security guard; but wait, lo and behold, the security guard is actually Ivan Ooze!
This is one of the lamer parts of the film since the screenwriters went as far as to try and fool the audience by having the security guard rub the back of his head constantly, as though he was actually the one knocked unconscious. This is par for the course, however, since the rangers in encountering this security guard actually asks him if he has seen “a morphological being” lurking around. I’m not sure, but if someone asked me that I would think that they were high.
But the guard then transforms into Ivan Ooze and the special effect for that, while not super impressive, is still pretty impressive for the time. It has, at any rate, aged well. But talking about aging and special effects, I am happy to see that during this viewing, I noticed that make-up actually gave Ivan shark-like teeth—all of his teeth are super-pointy and sharp; I say good because all too often teeth in epics are perfectly white human teeth and that makes you wonder.
Ivan and the rangers then have a bit of back and forth.
“‘Gee, a teenager with a big mouth; I see that not much has changed in six-thousand years’” [observes Ivan].
Really? Pre-history teens had the same verbal predisposition that contemporary postmodern teens have? How so? Do the screenwriters mean to tell me that human society six thousand years ago was built in the same way as today, with all the authority invested in the parents and that ‘talking back’ was a no-no? I think it bears repeating: were the screen writers Creationists?
“’You don’t know who you’re dealing with, Mr. Crazy Head!’ [Taunts Kimberly].
‘Oh, really?’ [Ivan says with ever so amusement]
‘Yeah—we’re the Power Rangers!’ [exclaims Tommy].
“Whoa—where’s my autograph book?!’ [shouts Ivan].”
I love Ivan’s response here, his tone is just so right and it actually manages to emit a bit of the megalomaniacal danger that he’s supposed to be. It dismisses the rangers over the top confidence and introduces a sense of unease; most of the time this is done through a display of power, so it is actually pretty cool that this time it was done not through violence, but just by talking, and comedy no less!
“’Power Rangers, huh? So, ZORDON is still using a bunch of kids to do his dirty work?’ [Mused Ivan, dismissively walking away from the rangers].”
Let’s ignore the fact that the “evil” doers in this film explicitly refer to themselves as being evil and adversary to all that is good. Once that is done, don’t you think it is interesting that Ivan chooses to remark on this revelation? I mean, yeah, it is not wholly surprising since last time he was put away by such young warriors, but the fact that he does comment on it means that, somewhere, some part of him thought that ZORDON might change tactics. And then there is the inclusion of the ‘dirty work’ jab—what kind of work does ZORDON and Alpha-5 actually do? I can’t remember from the show but what is the goal of each faction? Why does Rita want to conquer Earth? What kind of empire did Ivan run? I want to stress that it is still super… off, that ZORDON does use teenagers to fight for him, and I guess that I wasn’t the only one since Ivan feels that it is something worth noticing, even after being locked up for such a long time.
Okay, speculation aside, Ivan then summons some acrobatic slime men to battle the rangers. The fight scene is not too interesting: Tommy kicks some ass and the rangers, deciding to, for some reason, not power up, fight them as humans; but until they do power up, they fight Ivan’s minions with your standard, if not pretty well choreographed, martial arts. Unfortunately, all the tension from the fight evaporates by the time you notice the cartoon sound effects associated with each combat hijinks. But hey, I guess this is fine since, as a kid, I remember this scene being still a bit tense even with the goofy antics.
But the rangers do decide to power up—finally!—but by the time that they do the minions fall back into the semi-constructed buildings in the construction zone.
One of the things that I noticed during this viewing was just how much unnecessary physical movement is involved with communicating; the rangers power up, then as they talk there is a bunch of arm flailing and odd battle stances being poised and unpoised as perform basic interactions. It is weird.
At any rate, the scene ends with them tracking down the minions. We then cut to the front of the command center. ZORDON and Alpha-5 are hoping against hope that Ivan can’t get into the center, but—surprise!—he totally does. Shocking, right? Well, Ivan literally oozes his way through the power doors then proceeds to some banter. Because what is revenge without stringing along your foes with various sarcastic pop culture infused jibes?
So the rundown of this scene is that Ivan gets into the center, belittles Alpha-5 a bit (why he doesn’t just destroy her, I really don’t know), argues with ZORDON some, then proceeds to wreck up the joint. But Ivan’s dialog is fun, so it is reprinted below.
“’Gee, pretty fancy-schmancy. I guess if you invest your money well for 60 centuries, then you can buy something pretty nice.
‘You stuffed me into your stuffy little hyperlock chamber and tossed me away into the depths like yesterday’s trash. You any idea what it’s like to be locked up in an egg for 6000 years? It’s boring! Not to mention that I’ve had a charley horse since the Renaissance.
‘Oh, the things that I have missed—the black plague, the Spanish Inquisition, the Brady Bunch Reunion.’”
Ivan is such a character!
Of course he puts on that Yiddish stereotype when he muses about the value of ZORDON’s property, of course, he can only say that his imprisonment was boring, and of course, he rates the Brady Bunch reunion as being far worse than the witch trials and mass disease. I think if I were a teen being forced to take my younger sibling to go see this movie, then I would at least find his pop culture musings amusing (even if, logically, how he would know about such events is a mystery).
But then the scene ends with Ivan wrecking up the place and we cut back to the rangers fighting Ivan’s boogeymen in a building’s parking complex.
This whole scene has a horror vibe to it and I remember it freaking me out as a kid, but that is just because I had, at that point in my life, never seen a horror movie where there’s this build-up with the monster stalking the hero and then suddenly attacking. Watching it now, I can identify the places which unnerved me as a kid, but as an adult as just tedious bits of false tension.
The action scene isn’t anything to write home about, though it does feature some disemboweling in that the rangers kick Ivan’s minions into and through various objects which splatter them violently; in hindsight, I’m actually a bit surprised that those deaths made it through the censors, considering how gruesome they actually are (to get an idea, just replace all the purple slime with red blood, and a minion exploding in a shower of purple after being power-kicked through the iron lattices of a tower, is fairly gross).
But the rangers overcome the minions but lose power shortly after defeating said minions, something which never before has happened to them (though, it has happened to men in general—bazinga!). Rushing back to the command center to find it totally trashed from Ivan’s fit.
I will always remember this scene when it comes to my childhood movies because it was another facet of defamiliarization—what else do you call it when the big energy head which had previously denoted ZORDON, now appeared as a shriveled and indistinct mass of flesh? Though we later learn that interdimensional beings like ZORDON and Dulcia are bound to strict areas of space, for otherwise they rapidly age, I kind of wonder what ZORDON’s deal is: he appears in a bed of crystal, so, is his body always like that when the center is healthy and not wrecked, but we only see his face as a kind of magnification? If so, then, huh… that makes some sense.
It is interesting, though, because the blue ranger says that ZORDON is outside of his time warp so he needs more power; power? What is power? Is ZORDON’s guzzling of power supposed to be positive? If his usage of it draining it away from other sources which may need it? Could it be that Ivan’s grudge against ZORDON has nothing to do with ‘good v. evil’ and instead how power is consumed?
This scene is actually full of laughable moments. Like the one below.
“ZORDON you can’t leave us. Ever since you came into our lives, you’ve been like a father to us all.”
What?! What does Kimberly mean, been like a father? Do none of these rangers have parents? Do they really think a parent sends their kids off to fight evil with gigantic weapons of mass-destruction? Is that why the rangers only ever hang out with each other, because they are so broken and socially dysfunctional that hanging with other people is just impossible? (And their hanging around of Fred doesn’t exactly help dissuade me, either.)
But then Alpha-5 shambles into the scene saying that on the distant planet of Phados there may be a power which can save ZORDON, but that it is protected by great obstacles and all who have tried have perished. But’s let stop for a moment—it is at this moment that the film cuts away back to ZORDON, the camera looming over his mid-section, with Kimberly’s hands in the praying position.
Now, to be fair, Kimberly’s hands are not in the position for very long, but I think that for the brief moment that the camera is on her, that is the stance her hands take for most of the time that we see her: I find this revealing since rarely do religious practices find their way into something like Power Rangers. Also, it heightens my suspicions that the screen writers are those kinds of Christians.
Then Alpha-5, whom I am pleasant to find doesn’t have much in the way of gendered identity, does some techno-babble.
“’Maybe if I can download the last plasmatic morphing gem into the transport core, I might have just enough power to get you there. But there won’t be any left to get you back.’”
Interestingly enough, my spell-check says that ‘plasmatic’ is a real word. Since I am writing this without access to the internet, I can’t double check this, but it seems like that this bit of techno-babble is easy to conceptualize; ‘plasmatic’ sounds like a malleable substance, and since we know it is a gem, it is a kind of power source for the transporters. Pretty simple! (good luck with the actual science, however).
Okay, then the rangers warp to Phados and as their brilliant rainbow plumes streak across space, we see a gliding shot of Rita and Zedd’s moon palace (which, incidentally, must make moon exploration fairly difficult). Rita is not too happy that Ivan allowed the rangers to slip through his hands since she evidently knows that the rangers are going after the great power.
Ivan, not too happy with Rita’s impedance, shuts her mouth with some of his purple slim and Zedd seems relieved, since, evidently, he is above physically abusing his wife despite being super-evil. But, hey, I’m not complaining that spousal abuse is lacking here, so moving on.
After barging in with a “honey, I’m home!’ reference, Ivan proceeds to launch a coup against Rita and Zedd.
“I think circumstance forces us to choose a new leader; and I pick, me!”
This is noteworthy. Although on one level you could categorize Ivan’s words in the sense that he is talking about the royal ‘we,’ that is, the ‘we’ which is formed spontaneously when one has no other options left, I also want to think about this in an extended sense, in that, Ivan knew where Rita and Zedd’s moon palace was and casually strolls into the place. It makes me think that perhaps this idea of evil could be an extended idea where, throughout time, Evil, whoever that might have been, has used this moon palace for a while and so becomes passed on through the ages. Perhaps that is over thinking things, but it just seems like Ivan knows a whole lot despite only being around for what, a few hours?
Regardless, Ivan trounces Rita and Zedd and imprisons them in a snowglobe, hijacking their former brother-in-arms. Ivan then, literally, snots out some bird-minions to sick after the rangers. In this viewing, it is only now that I notice the discrepancy: the rangers are traveling to Phados as pure energy, the bird-minions by slowly flying—so, this begs the question on how on earth did the minions get to Phados around the same time as the rangers? I guess you could argue that the plasmatic gems were doing double time to transport so many people, but I think that’s a bit of a cop out.
But the rangers do get to Phados and not much happens. They land on a beach location with a bunch of rocks, discover a skeleton of some ancient space-faring race with horns (a skeleton which always freaked me out as a kid), get attacked by the aforementioned bird-minions, but have them chased off by a woman-women knock off of Xena (whose early scenes come complete with a close up shot of her boobs; gotta pander to the teenage boys who were forced to see the film as a chaperon for their younger siblings!).
Not-Xena, her name is Dulcia or something. But before this action scene happens, the film cuts back to Earth with Ivan at the remains of some decommissioned toxic chemical plant.
Here, Ivan waxes eloquently on the difficulty of finding good help to run the world on his behest. Pig-man-minion asks, dim-wittingly, if he wants him to make a few calls, but Ivan belays that offer and says that he plans on recruiting the parents of Angel Grove, I guess to prove what a badd-ass he is? Hard to say; I think that we are supposed to see some kind of morality difference between his exploitation of the parents’ labor in unearthing his machines and ZORDON’s use of teens as fighters, but I am not seeing it. (If you want to argue about it in the comments, go right ahead!)
So Ivan says that he is a master of disguise and that through this mastery of disguises, he will hatch a plot to turn the parents of Angel Grove into Not-Zombies so as to have them dig up his Not-Zords. Gargoyle-minion-man asks how he plans on doing that, and Ivan says by showing them the wonders of being wicked; this, of course, doesn’t make sense, since ‘Ivan’s Ooze’ automatically turns parents into zombies—it is the kids who get to ‘be wicked,’ and Ivan doesn’t actually comment on what role the kids play in his plan; everything related to the kids is seen either symptomatically or sub-textually.
Then Ivan uses his purple lightning power to activate the mill machines (cause I guess that’s all it takes, is a power source, and that these machines were in no way rendered incapable of reactivating based on a whim…), to which water, amazingly enough, has yet to be turned off in what I had assumed as a defunct mill. After getting the machines started, though, Ivan and his new minions have a laugh fest, since they evidently find everything hilarious—but hey, maybe I would too laugh myself silly if I was finally taking revenge after thousands of years.
Back to Phados!
The rangers are walking and then Kimberly suddenly stops to pout for ZORDON, which gives Tommy his cue to comfort her as waves splash against them. Gross. Thankfully, they are attacked by the bird-minions and such a scene is cut short. So, as I said, Dulcea fights them off and aggress to help the rangers after she learns that Ivan has been freed.
Though Dulcea’s entry marks her as a bad-ass, since she is so scantily dressed and is clearly designed as, as I said, a Xena rip-off for the teen boys—blatant wank material—it is hard to look upon her as super-starry eyed, especially when we consider how she is a pastiche of Native American cultural exploitation (remember the ‘Spirit Animals’ she eventually gifts the rangers).
After the quick moment with Dulcea we cut to ZORDON and Alpha-5 who have a desperate exchange. ZORDON wants to help the rangers in any way he can, and Alpha suggests that maybe they could communicate with them via a viewing globe; of course, this is a dead plot end and they never actually contact the rangers, only Ivan and his evil deeds. Which is good, because the transition to Ivan marks a fun period in the film.
We see Ivan in a wizard costume at a fair. This marks him as some kind of dark Merlyn. He is hawking his ooze to teens. (which, I mean, gross.)
“’Guys and girls, girls and guys, gather ‘round and feast your eyes—when you got your own supply of Ivan’s ooze.’ [Shouts Ivan]
‘What are we supposed to do with it?’ [Asks a kid in the audience]
‘Show it to your parents. Show it to your friends. When you got your ooze, the fun never ends. […] You may have heard the phrase that looks can be deceiving. I’m sure that when you’ve tried it, you all will be believing. Did I mention, it’s free! […] Take it home in boxes, take it home in cases. If your parents try and stop you, just throw it in their faces!’”
I find it remarkable that Ivan dresses like a wizard, an evil knock-off version of Merlyn. Why? Because he does it in order to appeal directly to teenagers. Remember—Ivan has remarked that he is able to literally smell teens. And now he is unleashing their pent up potential for change by manipulating their rebellious desires in order to give him a slave army made from their parents. Throughout the whole film, as the city of Angel Grove is going to hell in a handbasket, literally, as it is being torn apart by Ivan’s war machines, the teens are just partying like it ain’t no thang. What? Ivan and his minions have left them alone? Why? Maybe because Ivan has a thing for teenagers? Is that why he finds it so repellent that ZORDON uses teens as his fighting force?
Regardless, this scene is also noteworthy because we establish that Ivan’s ooze’s zombiefying abilities do not work on kids. The second kid who interrupts Ivan’s sales pitch is clearly shown with a big handful of the slime when he says that “this is kind of gross,’ and yet, he doesn’t turn (in fact, a little later, there is a close up of the ooze jars and the slogan is “Safe for kids of all ages.” I’m not sure to what degree this feeds into children’s immunity, but you could do a bit with it if you knew a bit about medieval witchcraft). I still don’t know why, as having an army of teens working for you would still be labor… but maybe too many people would notice if all the city’s kids vanished? I dunno. None of this makes a whole lot of sense.
Back on Phados… nothing happens, really. Dulcea and the rangers hike through a vast terrain of varied locations and it is as boring as it sounds. Eventually, Dulcea stops playing coy and takes them to some sacred site which prefaces the dangerous part of the planet (who know, where this Great Power is located).
“’These are the ancient ruins of the Ninjetti Temple.’”
“’We will call upon the sacred animals of the Ninjetti for help.’”
Ninjas? You bet! Native American cultural exploitation? Again, you bet!
Back on Earth, meanwhile, far more interesting things are afloat. Fred’s father comes home looking for Fred, but only finds his purple Ooze slim; for reasons unknown, the father opens the jar and takes a huge handful of the slim. Wrong move, buddy! Now he is a zombie. Oh well.
Fred’s father then mechanically marches off outside to join a large crowd of other parents who seem to be turned as well. They are just mindlessly walking down the street; later one we will see a news announcer asking where all the missing parents are and I find it hard to believe no one knows with hordes of adults just absent-mindedly walking down the street. But I digress. I’ve always have had issue with why such a large crowd manifested after Fred’s father touched it, but looking back on it now, I think the movie is trying to tell us that the reason the crowd manifested was because all the parents came home from work. Even then, though, that is a tall pitch.
Following this, ZORDON and Alpha are surfing the channels of their viewing globe; they cannot, evidently, get the HBO experience that is the rangers on Phados, but they can get all the crappy local programs like Ivan’s commercials.
“‘Hi folks, Ivan Ooze here: are you bored with your work? Are you bored with your life? If so, then come on down to ooze city and let’s get sticky!’”
Aside from the fact that Ivan is only a semi-talented salesman, at best, nothing happens here aside from angst from ZORDON and robot-san.
Meanwhile, on Phados…
The rangers receive Dulcea’s wadda-wada about animal spirits being buried deep inside everyone. There is some ceremony with a crackling fire, some special effects, then the rangers are given some new supplementary powers which come with generic ‘Ninja-as-imagined-by-Westerners’ outfits. They implore Dulcea to come with them beyond the confines of the temple, but she relates that she is unable to due to her own temporal issues—if she crosses over into the forest, then she would age as rapidly as ZORDON’s present predicament. Bummer.
(Oh, also, as Dulcea comments on each of the rangers animals spirits, Kimberly gets the crane, and the only thing that Dulcea says is that is agile and as light as a feather; sexism, much?)
Coming back into the house after being somewhere else, it is never explained, he discovers the opened container of ooze and goes about searching for his father. His search leads him to the construction yard; normally I would complain about him being able to find his father at all, but honestly, with the mindless hordes of parents just shambling down the street, he’s hardly ingenious.
But Ivan is pissing and moaning about parents.
“’I forgot how slow parents are. I thought my ectomorphicons would be dug up by now.’”
Interesting. So during his previous reign, Ivan also turned parents into slave minions? There is an interesting academic paper to be written about Creationists and Ivan Ooze’s modus operandi. If this is his usual plan—using kids to take control of their parents—then he also has an interesting relation to the Oedipus complex as well as the collective unconscious.
At any rate, Ivan and Gold-gargoyle-minion have a romp with a worker forcing him to dance. Then the minions get back, lie to Ivan about the rangers, Ivan sees through the lie, and then zaps to death the bird-minions (evil guy kills his own minions? Check!). Ivan freaks about Dulcea helping the rangers, since the two seem to have a prior meeting, and then hurries the slaves double-time to get the Not-Zords dug up before sub-down.
After a montage of the rangers walking and some idle chatter, we cut back to Fred at the construction yard trying helplessly to force his dad to remember him, but instead, he overhears Ivan’s plan to, apparently, take over the world by destroying it—negative enlightenment at its best. Don’t worry, this tedious scene doesn’t last long since we are back on Phados with the rangers wandering through a graveyard, while someone mentions a Jurassic Park reference.
This is the beginning of a fight scene involving reanimated skeletons. As a kid, this scene was the one which freaked me out the most since the lead-up to the fight itself was pretty creepy, what with all the monster viewpoints and never knowing when the creepy skeletons were to be reanimated—a bit of the surreal and uncanny mixed together, so it was a bit much for my young mind.
When I was little, this scene I considered to be the tensest battle in the movie, even more so then the epic final battle, since I knew, even on my first viewing, that the rangers would emerge triumphant. But it also had to do with the creepy-factor. As for the battle itself, though, it is really just the rangers prancing around the jungle graveyard avoiding the skeletons. After a while, they get lucky with their foes, find his weak spot—which happens to be an anatomically correct weakness, so I will give the screenwriters points for being scientifically accurate (to a degree)—and the dino-skeleton is put back to sleep. Then the movie finally moves on.
So we are back at the ooze factory.
Nothing really happens. Fred just skulks around the factory as the workers mindlessly churn out containers of ooze and assemble the Not-Zords. Ivan slams the workers for their “ugly faces” and “dull personalities,” which I love because it is a meta jab at his own indoctrination, which makes it witty. Then Ivan orders the workers to return to the construction site so as to leap to their doom—good thing that Fred is there to stop them; did somebody call a horde of teenage heroes?
Before we find out about that we return to Phados. Because that was fun, wasn’t it?
Per the norm, not much happens on Phados: the run down is this: the rangers encounter a wall of stone monster freaks, the monster freaks come to life and go to town on the rangers, but the rangers persevere against said freaks. Then, the stone wall which had the monster-freaks embedded opens up to reveal the great power. The great power bestows them, well, great power and the rangers regain their former abilities and suits. They then warp back to Earth to confront Ivan as Dulcea, transformed as an owl—which is something she evidently can do—wishes them good luck.
So, Phados: killer of many great warriors, but what did that challenge amount to? Some reanimated dino-skeletons and some stone warriors. Wow. Everyone in the universe must suck at fighting.
But, again, I digress.
Back on Earth Ivan’s Not-Zords are tearing the place up something fierce. You know, blowing cars up and causing terror. Yet, oddly enough, the Not-Zords are oddly stiff in their movements and they don’t actually cause much damage; it is almost as though they were special effects crated with a limited budget. How about that? Oh, and Ivan says “the boys are back in town.”
So, the rangers warp back to Angel Grove and see all the destruction. Needless to say, they are pretty peeved. Mysteriously, though, one of them suggests that they “go back to the command center,’ a suggestion which doesn’t make any sense—Ivan is there in the city, how about go and battle him? I’m pretty sure that ZORDON can wait a little more. But, hey, if he only heals if the rangers get close with the great power, then I guess I can see why they may want to return ASAP. That being said, though, I don’t know why, if that is the case, they wouldn’t just warp back to the command center to begin with, other than confirming what they should already know.
Because I don’t feel like narrating a blow by blow detail, I will say this about the rest of the movie: the rangers summon their Zords and confront Ivan’s machines. While the rangers duke it out with the Not-Zords, Fred is rallying the other kids who, again, are just partying the night away. Somehow, Fred manages to convince a hundred or so to help him in rescuing their parents, despite the fact that his rambling is absurd (but, hey, the city’s being torn apart by evil and they are just partying, so…). But he and his posse get in a monorail and rush to the construction site so as to stop the impending mass suicide. But on their journey the rail section on the route to the construction yard is destroyed, so Tommy and his Zord act as a secondary support. So that is cool: but the machines are tough cookies and eventually, in order to confront an Ivan ooze who forces himself into the tall Not-Zord (by doing a super creepy stretch which makes him look like a long purple dookey), the rangers form a megazord. What is absurd about this part is that as this megazord has a sword and it gets broken in half by Ivan’s weapon… an observation tower; let’s get this straight—a sword from the “ultimate power in the universe” gets shattered by a normal, everyday human construction. What. The. Fuck?!?!
At any rate, after Tommy saves the kids and rejoins the others, the rangers take the fight to outer-space so as to spare the city (something which, as far as I’m aware, was not something that they did in the series). They fight Ivan but ultimately leave killing him to Hayley’s Comet, which whacks him out of existence. Turns out that Rita and Zedd are also hoping that the rangers emerge victorious. Weird. But, hey, whatevs.
After Ivan is space dust, via a nice kick in the nuts which puts him in the path of the comet, his hold over the parents’ break and they are saved from jumping to their doom at the last minute. Then a loving reunion happens and Fred’s father says how much he loved Fred. The rangers return to the command center and have a touching reunion with ZORDON as the command center gets magically pieced back together. Then the film ends with the rangers and Fred hanging outside as the city celebrates the defeat of Ivan with a fireworks spectacular in which they thank the power rangers via said fireworks display (though, really, shouldn’t they be angry with them that their continued extra-legal presence brings such calamity in the first place?). With happy, upbeat music, the film ends on a suitably empowering note.
So that is it. Sorry for rushing through the final bit of the film but there wasn’t really a whole lot to comment on, aside from petty asides. I will save my whole thoughts until the review, but I thought the movie was… not good. Lol… it wasn’t terrible but it was far from a, you know, non-cringe-inducing experience. It was fun for the nostalgia factor but not a whole lot.
So, what were your thoughts? Do you remember the film from back in the day? Where you a fan, someone forced along or someone watching it for the first time in order to study children’s media from the nineties? What did you think of Ivan Ooze as a villain? Let me know in the comments and thanks for reading!