07/17/1995 at 01:00 AM EDT
Karan Ashley, Johnny Yong Bosch, Steve Cardenas, Jason David Frank, Amy Jo Johnson, David Yost, Paul Freeman
Halfway through this interminable (for anyone over age 8) movie based on the hit kiddie TV show about teenage superheroes, the epiphany hit: Mighty Morphin Power Rangers is really a training film. Not a training film about how to be a Power Ranger—though it's clear that to become one you must master balletic martial arts moves, snag a snazzy skintight uniform and get someone to make whiplike sound effects every time you move an arm—but rather a training film for toddlers to indoctrinate them in the bash-'em-and-trash-'em, techno-action basics so that they can one day become teenage connoisseurs of Batman, Terminator and (see above) Judge Dredd.
The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers are, for readers minus a karate-kicking preschooler in the house, six hyper-cute, ethnically diverse adolescents (though the fledgling actors playing them are all 20-ish or older) who can morph at will into uniformed superheroes and who, when it comes to locomotion, show a marked preference for backflips and aerial somersaults. Here the Rangers battle an evil creature named Ivan Ooze (Freeman). He's fresh from a 6,000-year hibernation ("I missed the Black Plague, the Spanish Inquisition and the Brady Bunch reunion," he moans) and seeks to rule the world and turn all parents into zombies.
Morphins brims with scary scenes of the Rangers battling hulking monsters. My 5-year-old companion cowered constantly, covered his eyes and sought reassurance that no one would really, really die. At the end, however, he pronounced himself thrilled with the movie and said that the scene in which ill-tempered dinosaur skeletons "fighted" the Rangers, the very scene during which he had cringed the most, was his favorite. Bring on Arnold. (PG)