As a franchise, the Power Rangers brand needs no introduction. But, whilst even casual fans are familiar with the adventures of Jason, Zack, Billy, Trini and Kimberly from the original Mighty Morphin’ series (and recent big screen reboot), some of the later installments have slipped under the radar. This isn’t without good reason. Shaky offerings like Operation Overdrive (2007) and Megaforce (2013) almost sank the series but thankfully Dino Charge is a blistering return to form.
Saban made the unusual choice to opt for a staggered DVD release of the series and RISE is the fourth chapter in the rollout. It covers episodes 13-16 with special Halloween-themed episode The Ghostest with the Mostest thrown in as a bonus. Since RISE picks up in the middle of the season, let’s quickly recap the premise. 65 million years ago antagonist Sledge tried to take control of the Energems, a source of great power in the universe, but he was thwarted by an alien called the Keeper who bestowed the gems to the protection of the dinosaurs. As you do. In present day, the Keeper meets scientist Kendall Morgan, and together they team with a new group of rangers to find the Energems before a returning Sledge can get his evil clutches on them.
Sledge is a fun villain who harks back to the golden age of Lord Zedd and Rita Repulsa. The same can’t be said for the Keeper, who is a less polished version of Zordon, but where Dino Charge truly excels is in its diverse and likeable cast. The series benefits from freeing its protagonists from the binds of high school, and the inclusion of Koda and Sir Ivan as a fish out of water provides a depth rarely seen in the PR-verse. The series also scores top marks for pushing the talented Camille Hyde (Shelby) and Claire Buckwelder (Kendall), particularly given its history of relegating female cast members to supporting roles in previous offerings.
Let’s be real, no Power Rangers episode is going to win a Peabody for outstanding writing or performance, but that’s not the point of the show. Dino Charge is usually entertaining, and at times genuinely funny. There’s nothing significant in terms of story development in this particular selection, and whilst the episodes are solid in their silliness, there’s no classic PR standout like Forever Red or Green with Evil to be found here.
Even though this is one of the stronger Power Rangers series, there’s no denying that the show is primarily aimed at under 10’s. Dino Charge isn’t likely to convert any adult fans that enjoyed this year’s movie reboot. That doesn’t prevent it from being great fun, and there’s no better way to nurse a Sunday morning hangover than indulging your inner ‘90s kid than with some nostalgia-fuelled shenanigans.
POWER RANGERS DINO CHARGE: RISE - VOLUME 4 / CERT: PG / DIRECTORS: VARIOUS / SCREENPLAY: VARIOUS / STARRING: BRENNAN MEJIA, CAMILLE HYDE, YOSHI SUDARSO, MICHAEL TABER, JAMES DAVIES / RELEASE DATE: 2ND OCTOBER