Power Rangers DinoThunder: Collision Course (December 11/04)
Power Rangers DinoThunder is the latest Mighty Morphin Power Rangers spinoff, and it's not difficult to see why the series has managed to stick around for so long. Aimed unapologetically at young children, the show features easy-to-identify-with heroes and detestable bad guys (the latter of which are always vanquished). When in human form, the Power Rangers participate in soap opera-esque plot lines that most adolescents will be able to relate to (ie how to deal with a bully). Collision Course collects five episodes of the series.
The first episode, titled "Leader of the Whack," kicks off with Dr. Oliver encased in hard amber by the villainous White Ranger. While investigating a possible method for freeing the Doctor, the Rangers encounter a meteor that causes them to adopt a completely different personality (ie punk-rock Kira becomes a vacuous mallrat). Meanwhile, Mesogog has dispatched a robotic adversary to take on the newly weakend Rangers. An incoherent battle ensues.
In "Burning at Both Ends," Dr. Oliver is finally freed from the amber - except he can't seem to shed his Power Ranger get-up. His faithful students-turned-Rangers get to work trying to undo the damage of the meteor rock, while the White Ranger continues to sabatoge and undermine their efforts (even going so far as to trick the Rangers into believing he's changed his ways, only to screw them over yet again).
The disc's third episode, "The Missing Bone," continues the storyline, as Kira is tricked into giving Mesogog a key bone that will unleash a mind-reading dinosaur. As a result, Kira is forced to fight her colleagues - though it's no long before she's returned to her old self. Meanwhile, Mesogog's human alter-ego begins teaching Dr. Oliver's high school science class.
"Bully for Ethan" is fairly self-explanatory, as Ethan must confront a bully without resorting to violence. The episode's subplot involves Dr. Oliver and his reunion with a forgotten figure from his past - though it's not quite the happy get-together that Dr. Oliver would've liked.
The final episode on the disc, "Lost & Found in Translation," is a gimmicky affair that features Kira, Ethan, and Conner watching a Japanese riff on the Power Rangers phenomenon. Conner is initially reluctant to watch the show, fearing that it exists solely to mock the Rangers, but soon finds himself becoming engrossed in the episode.
Older viewers will be hard-pressed to find much here worth embracing, although there's no denying that the show isn't quite as bad as one might expect. This is mostly thanks to the various performers, who are surprisingly charismatic and adept.