What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this show relies heavily on martial arts fight scenes for its success, as the plot has very little substance to offer kids. Fantasy violence includes punching, kicking, sword battles, and firepower, none of which has serious consequences. The Power Rangers are heavily marketed to the 5+ set, but they're better suited for kids a year or two older. Little kids may find some of the monstrous villains scary, and occasionally a Ranger turns into a vampire or similarly frightening being. Lessons on friendship and teamwork are muddled in the midst of the show's suffocating violence.
What's the story?
POWER RANGERS MYSTIC FORCE is the 14th incarnation of the long-running Power Rangers kid TV series adapted from a Japanese martial-arts show. Years ago, a war raged in a magical parallel dimension, and good wizards battled evil forces bent on controlling the human world. Eventually the good guys drove out their enemies, sending them into the Underworld for all eternity, and humans prospered happily, oblivious to the efforts made on their behalf by the magical beings. But now evil forces are seeping back into the world through a magical forest, forcing the sorceress Udonna (Peta Rutter) to recruit five teens to battle these new enemies. The teens use cell phones (their own request -- no surprises there) as modern-day magic wands, keying in a number sequence that morphs them into brightly clad Rangers, and they also rely on martial arts, weaponry, robotic vehicles, and their own individualized mystic powers.
Is it any good?
The Rangers tout teamwork and illustrate the adage about the whole outweighing the sum of its parts, but the show is so dominated by violence that it's hard to feel good about the weak attempts at morals. Kids old enough to weed through the plot and find a few lessons will likely be turned off by the show's corniness, and younger viewers will get the wrong message from the fighting.
A trip down any toy aisle will remind parents of the powerful partnership between product marketing and successful TV programs. Power Rangers Mystic Force is another example of marketing leading the way and a sub-par show enjoying second-hand success.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about effective ways to settle disputes. Why do the Rangers rely on fighting to solve their problems? Does it ever totally defeat the enemy? How do you resolve differences with siblings or friends? Parents can also discuss the difference between fantasy and real violence, reminding kids that in the real world, fighting can have severe consequences.