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Power Rangers: Dino Thunder, Vol. 1: Day of the Dino (2004) – DVD Review


Written by Douglas Sloan and Ann Austen
Directed by Charlie Haskell and Paul Grinder


  • Virtual trading cards
  • Ninja Moves training scenes
  • Two bonus episodes from another series

Dindrane’s Kiddie Fu Warnings:

  • Badly hidden lair/lab
  • Karate vs. T-rex
  • Annoying bleach-blonde cheerleader
  • Pretty computer geeks
  • The world’s dumbest-looking combined mecha
  • Kids whose wardrobes seriously need to branch out
  • A weapon called a “Pterarang”

Released by: Buena Vista.
Region: 1
Rating: Y7 (but strictly off-limits to all life forms)
Anamorphic: N/A; appears in its original 1.33:1 format.

My Advice: Buy it if you’re in charge of inmates or perhaps simply hate your children and want them to mock you.

Yep, it’s back, perhaps unleashing upon a sleeping world a cruelty the defenseless populace has never known. Just when you think you might be able to survive the show, that it’s not really all that bad, someone attacks something or other, and you’re reminded that you’re not watching Degrassi but are instead watching the freaking Power Rangers. This franchise is either an insanely clever commentary upon the vapidity and emptiness of modern life, especially for children, or it is an evil being perpetrated upon American society which is so heinous, so diabolical and so twisted, that the Marquis de Sade, Stalin, and Commodus would all stand amazed at the creator’s sheer cheek.

The show opens with a bad guy commanding the requisite minions to find some person, and we are almost instantly transported to where that presumed person is all alone, fighting a hoard of armored ninja assassins in a jungle full of explosions. The fact that this poor actor has had a Brazilian wax job done on his chin is, one hopes, not his fault. Never mind why or how, but he and the very three teens in his school who know martial arts end up at a paleontology museum fighting evil critters. The kids each find a colored crystal (matching their outfits); the geek seems to turn metallic, the singer develops a sonic scream, and the jock gets super-speed and heinous kicks. Voila. A new Power Ranger team. Then there’s some bits with color-changing giant metal critters, the requisite combined form that looks lamer than even P.T. Barnum could imagine, and bad guys who mug for the camera. At least the token girl Power Ranger isn’t in a skirt this time.

The high school is absolutely bizarre. It looks like a New Mexico mission, and is way too well-decorated for a real school. The principal is about twenty-two years old, hot, seems to hate children, and is probably a wicked queen or something in disguise. The Rangers-to-be are mostly the good kids, with the exception of the token kyoot soccer player with magic powers that would make Beckham quake in his Nikes. His name is Connor McKnight. He has to be good, right? Except that he’s a sexist truant. We have all the necessary “archetypes” (read: cliché): hip singing alterna-chick, hip computer geek, hip womanizing jock, etc.

The amazing thing is that the kids actually act better than the adults…aside from their amazingly, mind-bogglingly lame transformation sequences. They seriously over-telegraph their actions and motions when in costume, one assumes to make up for not having facial expressions, but the result is ineffective and just plain fake-looking.

The sound of the show is good, all that you would expect from a contemporary television show, which is, given the idiocy of the plots and dialogue, not necessary a good thing: examples of battle cries include “Ptera Grips, baby,” “I’m in it to win it,” “Outta my face,” and “I’m over you.” A little muddled dialogue might have done wonders for the show. Okay, a few lines, especially from Ethan, are rather amusing. The visuals are equally modern and clear. The monsters look a little better this incarnation around—either that, or I’m going insane, which is entirely possible, given that I watched this entire DVD in one sitting, without standby medics. There’s even a subtitle option in case you can’t hear in English and don’t want to miss a single precious word of dialogue.

Some of the fight choreography is not too bad, much as it pains me to admit it, but is of course entirely unrealistic and painfully campy. Each of the three main teens get their alternating moments in the sun, and even their mentor Dr. Oliver gets to have some fun. The jock of course warms up to his Flash persona and powers more quickly than the others.

The bonus features include virtual trading cards that link to information about the characters and scenes from the shows. More cards will be available on future DVDs in the series. This could be construed as a threat. We also get a couple of tutorials from the sensei of the Wind Ninja Academy who teachers us two “ninja moves”: knife hand kata and blade hand kata. The depicted “ninja” acting out the kata look like they know what they’re doing, but, bless their hearts, the producers put them in badly fitting cotton ninja garb (complete with shiny satin tie belt). Finally, the DVD also includes two bonus episodes from the Power Rangers: Ninja Storm series. I have nothing to say to you if you watch them.

This can be recommended to anyone who oversees a group of people they wish to torture—perhaps correctional officers who oversee and want to torture rapists, or just someone who works in a daycare for bratty rich little monsters. Anyone else will be left shaking their head in disbelief and dismay, and saying “God help me” over and over. One can only presume that this show is part of some diabolical plan form the Illuminati or maybe Rasputin to turn the brains of youth to mush. One hopes. Otherwise… no, the idea that this show was meant to be taken seriously or enjoyed is unthinkable. Must be the Illuminati. Maybe the Templars. Must be.

Buy it from Amazon.