What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that far-fetched fantasy violence is the name of the game. Human protagonists battle monstrous enemies with oversized weapons (hammer, hand-held bulldozer buckets, water-based gun) and extreme vehicles. The only remotely realistic aspects of the violence are he physical exchanges of punches and kicks, but even they don't result in injuries that are shown. On the positive side, the Rangers exhibit excellent teamwork, and a father and son bridge their relationship with renewed respect for each other. The Power Rangers are heavily marketed to the 5+ set, but they're better suited for kids a year or two older.
What's the story?
The POWER RANGERS: OPERATION OVERDRIVE story begins when wealthy adventurer Andrew Hartford (Rod Lousich) unearths the fabled Corona Aurora -- or Crown of the Gods -- on an archaeological expedition in Africa. His discovery awakens dormant dark forces, who follow his trail in an effort to steal the crown, reassemble its five missing jewels strewn across the world, and assume unparalleled power over humankind. Desperate to save the world from the bad guys' domination, Andrew enlists the help of four extraordinary teens, giving them Power Ranger status so they can battle the nefarious foes alongside him. But when he's captured by the enemy, his thrill-seeking son, Mack (James MacLurcan), suits up in his place and rescues his dad. Once Mack and the others -- Rose (Rhoda Montemayor), Will (Samuell Benta), Ronny (Caitlin Murphy), and Dax (Gareth Yuen) -- adjust to their enhanced DNA and newfound super abilities, they're a power-packed (and colorful) force to be reckoned with.
Is it any good?
The Power Rangers franchise now boasts a mind-boggling 15 incarnations, and it seems the extensive practice has finally paid off. While most of its predecessors suffered from hokey dialogue, overacting, and substance-free plot, Operation Overdrive changes course with a plausible father-son relationship that strengthens through mutual respect, a real attempt at spotlighting teamwork and appreciation for others' individuality, and relatable teen characters played by actors whose skills actually downplay the fantasy series' campiness.
But as tolerable as Operation Overdrive is compared to its many counterparts, the series still suffers from an overabundance of violence, which -- fantasy or not -- makes the show iffy for the little-kid viewers it's aimed at. Young tweens who can grasp the unrealistic nature of the fights are probably better suited for the crusaders' noble quest and their entourage of extreme gadgets and vehicles.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about violence on TV. How realistic is the violence in this series? Does any part of the fighting seem believable? How is the action on this show different from violence kids have seen in other series? Are they ever frightened by what they see? Why do the Rangers rely on fighting to solve their problems? Does it ever totally defeat the enemy? Parents and kids can also talk about teamwork. What makes a good team? What makes a good teammate? What experiences do your kids have with teams? Finally, Power Rangers fans can discuss how this series compares to others. Kids: Which is your favorite Power Rangers show? Why? How is this one different from the others?