[REVIEW] Dino Charge Episode 1 – “Powers of the Past”

Well, today was finally the day. Just about a year after we first heard of Power Rangers Dino Charge (the news broke February 8th, 2014), it premiered today. “Powers of the Past” is the first episode of the 22nd season of the Power Rangers franchise and the fan base is excited.

Check out my review  after the jump

Thanks to Mr. ChangeDragon for the suggestion of doing reviews. Would anyone want to see me do reviews for every episode?

The episode is now available on Nick.com and the Nick App

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Dino Charge Behind the Scenes
Dino Charge Casting
Dino Charge Filming Photos
Dino Charge Production

Overall, I just want to say I thought the premiere was great. There were a few nitpicks I had with it which I will get a little bit more into below, but overall, this blew me away. I had some reservations when this season was first announced due to the past four years of Power Rangers, but my hopes were lifted when news broke that Judd “Chip” Lynn was back running the show. And I was not disappointed.
Opening Theme:

I’m not really a fan of the theme song itself, but the visuals with it were better than what I could even begin to guess it’d be like. The fact that we didn’t have the roll call was a big hit with the members of Ranger Nation. Personally, it wasn’t a big deal to me that they had it, but they switched it up this time around and they didn’t have it. Instead, they had an 80s-like style where the cast turned and smiled at the camera. With these graphics, and the slight change to how the theme song was arranged, it really gets you pumped up for the show. I also liked how near the end, you see the Rangers posing in three different areas, but showing it as one fluid movement. The title animation with the energems was a nice graphic.


There was also a picture where they showed the dinosaurs with some faded out in the background. For those of you who have watched the sentai Dino Charge is based off of, Kyoryuger, they’ll know all the dinosaurs. However, I hope these become revealed when they become introduced.

Embedded image permalink(Image from Razzle1337)

Rangers/Actors: I’d have to say that I think this is the best cast we’ve had so far, and it’s diverse as well. After 22 years, we’ve finally gotten an African American pink Ranger in Camille Hyde, something that has been long overdue. The cast is nothing short but great so far. The acting from everybody feels more natural this time around an more realistic. I found myself smiling and nodding in various places at the way a line was delivered.

Brennan Mejia as Tyler Navarro – Tyler isn’t the type of leader you’d typically think of that has the strong voice and kind of aloof personality and it works here. He’s fun loving, goes on adventures, and is following in his dad’s footsteps as an explorer. Only, his father has been missing for 10 years so his explorations are to try and find what happened to him. He stumbled into being a Ranger and accidentally morphed and that whole scene was gold. His “I don’t know, I just spun this ting and it worked” had me smiling. He has a fun personality that’ll show he can be a friend and a leader all at one time.

Camille Hyde as Shelby Watkins – Camille’s portrayal of Shelby had me smiling throughout the episode. You can tell she’s the type that won’t let anything stand in her way in regards to something that she wants. She delivered her lines naturally, and to have the first episode focus, in a way, on her was a nice touch. She has the perfect mix of of being a girly girl and a tomboy and she sure knows her stuff when it comes to dinosaurs. She has charisma I can’t wait to see more of in the show.

James Davies as Chase Randall – Chase is described as the flirt of the group. I’m so glad they allowed him to play a kiwi and to use his accent. It’s a nice change of pace especially when he gets turned down by three girls in a span of five minutes. To have him think he’s a ladies man with no luck so far, but to continue to have confidence in himself is great. On Chase’s skateboard, you can also see that he has a kiwi bird not only on the top of his board (possibly grip tape) but on the bottom as well. Fun fact! One of the girls who says “buzz off to him” when he goes to the Dino Bite cafe is James’s real life girlfriend.

Yoshi Sudarso as Koda – We don’t get to see a lot of him but we do get little tidbits to his past. For example, he eats a burger rare and has incredible strength. He only had one line (“Go where”) which was muffled by a hamburger, and he still delivered it convincingly. With knowing Koda is a caveman this brings more questions to where he was found, how he was found, how has he adapted to modern life, and more that we’ll have answered as the show goes on.

Claire Blackwelder as Kendall Morgan – Whether she’ll eventually turn into the Purple Ranger like the sentai suggests is unseen, but we do get a few clues. Purple glasses, a purple ring, purple backpack. Claire is one of the youngest members of the cast, but she certainly carries herself as an older woman. Whether she is a paleontologist or part of the paleontology department of the Amber Beach Museum (as it’s not been said what exactly her job is) her no-nonsense attitude against Shelby’s eagerness worked well. Claire and Camille have great chemistry together.

Michael Taber as Riley Griffin – Did not appear in this episode.

In the short scenes they had, they’ve shown way more personality for the Dino Charge Rangers than the past seasons have shown in their respective two years and it’s a change we’ve needed. With Judd Lynn at the helm of this show there’s little worry of them being pushed to the side as the series goes on. In the next episode we meet Riley played by Michael Taber and the team comes together.

I have a theory that with Kendall’s “highly trained personnel” line in reference to Chase and Koda, as well as the repeated “museum policy” stopping Shelby from joining the dig that she so badly wants to take part in, that Chase and Koda are already Power Rangers. But, that’s just an idea.

There’s plenty of potential in this cast that I can’t wait to see being tapped into as the show goes on.

ADR: ADR wasnt used a lot in this episode due to the little morphed footage there was, but finally the ADR actually matched the movements of the Rangers after they morphed. “You look great”, “So do you” from Tyler and Shelby respectively matched the movement of the suits. This time around we don’t have the needless, fight talk to fill silence. There was one hiccup where Camille was giving Koda a “Bronto Burger” earlier in the episode where the emphasis was put oddly on the word “Bronto.” ADR is not just used while in suits but to overlap on lines outside if it’s hard to hear due to a plane passing by, or it being windy, or anything like that.

Morph/Weapons: We didn’t get a full morph in this episode, but the accidental morph was perfect. It was written in a very realistic way and was pretty humorous. The energems, which then turned into Dino Chargers, that Tyler and Shelby had allowed them to retrieve their Dino Charge morphers and while testing out what the morpehrs do, Tyler fired off a shot, nearly hitting Shelby. We got the witty line, “Nice shooting, Tex” from Shelby before they tried spinning the barrel on the side, and they accidentally morphed to fight the monster. I can’t wait to see how the morph looks when we get to see the whole thing.

Villains/Keeper: The introduction of the villains and Keeper at the beginning, and not a short introduction, was a great change from what we got in the past couple of years where the future Rangers were introduced first. Not that there was anything wrong with that idea, but it’s different, in a good way. The Keeper doesn’t look like much to begin with, but he shows that he has some awesome moves when fighting against Fury who desperately wants to steal the energems from him. Sledge, Poisandra, and Fury get more of an introduction in this show than we’d have in the past four Power Rangers seasons. Sledge and Poisandra are engaged, a nice touch and callback to Rita and Zedd from MMPR.

Power Rangers
(The Keeper, Sledge, and Sledge’s fiancee, Poisandra from ComicBook.com)

The voice acting for all these characters are great! They picked the right people to showcase their talents for these menacing villains, and in the Rangers’ case, their ally. Poisandra looks really interesting and you already get a sense of just how villainous Sledge is with cell block after cell block of monsters he had caught just for the reward money he’d get by doing so. Also, showing the cell blocks was an incredibly original way of showing the different monsters that will appear in the show.

Location: Apart from the usual locations used in Power Rangers such as Bethells Beach, Vector Arena, the Wainui Quarry and more, we have a new location here. The Amber Beach History Museum is shot at the Auckland World History Museum. We’ll be seeing this location more often throughout the show as well as the set for the Dino Bite Cage, where Shelby works. Location wise, I’m glad we’re seeing new areas right off the bat, and the sets, the Dino Bite Cafe, for instance is great. The layout is amazing and is a place I’d want to go to. I cant wait to see what other deviations we may get from the season in regards to film locations.

https://i1.wp.com/www.morphinlegacy.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/The-Dino-Bite-Interior.png(Shelby in the Dino Bite Cafe, in the Amber Beach History Museum, from Morphin Legacy)

The overall look of the Dino Bite Cafe is awesome. The little details like the fact that Shelby wears a Triceratops name tag when she becomes the Pink Triceratops Ranger is great. The volcano and the dinosaur on the wall in the back, the hats, the menus…you have  to give props (some pun intended) to the art and props department. They’re working hard to bring this world to life.

Cinematography: As I had found before, this year, Dino Charge was using two different cameras to film this show. The cameras they used were ARRI Amiras with Zeiss Ultra Primes and ARRI/Fujinon Aluras in comparison to the RED and ARRI Alexa cameras used for the Samurai and Megaforce seasons. I was worried the use of the new cameras for Dino Charge would be weird, but it looked great. These new cameras are known to be used for documentaries and films of that regard. It was beautifully shot and the different camera angles done in the fight against Keeper and Fury really stood out.

Overall: I think this was the best season opener we’ve had in years and one that people will remember (and watch over and over again) for a while. This is a great improvement over Samurai and Megaforce so far, and I can only expect it to get better. Just the first episode and we already see good changes from the past couple of years. I’m glad Judd Lynn is back and can’t wait to see this season unfold. The fact that the opening of the show was set 65 million years ago, but the Earth looks how it does now took away from that timeline just a little bit.

The episode did feel a bit rushed, however, I like how we’re not introduced to the whole Ranger team at one tie. This didn’t feel like a two-part open but like a season that has an ongoing storyline, something that will take this season far. Judd Lynn’s changes to the series are already apparent, but I’m looking forward to seeing how else this season holds up.

I’m charged up for more and giving this episode a 5/5.