The final chapter of Power Rangers: Operation Overdrive can now be told! Buena Vista Home Entertainment has released Power Rangers: Operation Overdrive - Pink Emerald, Volume 5, the last seven episodes in the popular Toon Disney's Jetix/ABC Kids series. It's one of the more entertaining kids' fare I've seen this year, with a surprisingly decent (but admittedly thin; let's not get crazy) subplot involving teen angst, filtered through an android identity crisis.
I've written before about this fun tokusatus series (you can click on Brownbeard's Pearl, Volume 1 , Toru Diamond, Volume 2 , Blue Sapphire, Volume 3, and Star of Isis, Volume 4 to read those reviews), and I was curious to see how they'd wrap it up. If you're unfamiliar with the storyline, the basic background concerns the adventures of explorer and adventurer Andrew Hartford (Rod Lousich), Hartford has inadvertently released brothers Flurious (Gerald Urquhart) and Moltor (Mark Ferguson), who crave the Corona Aurora (the "Crown of the Gods"), a jewel-encrusted crown that will give them unlimited power. Hartford's recovery of the crown - sans the jewels - has awakened the brothers (Flurious was encased in ice; Moltor in lava), and now it's up to Hartford to pick five young novices to become the new Power Rangers, to fight the two villains.
Hartford selects Will Aston (Samuell Benta), a safecracker who will become the Black Power Ranger; Dax Lo (Gareth Yuen), a stunt man who will morph into the Blue Ranger; Ronny Robinson (Caitlin Murphy), a race car driver soon to be the Yellow Ranger, and Rose Ortiz (Rhoda Montemayor), an archeologist who will be the Pink Ranger. After rearranging their DNA to boost their powers (Will=super hearing and sight; Dax=giant leaping; Ronny=super speed; Rose=invisibility), Hartford plans on joining the gang as the Red Ranger. But his son, Mack Hartford (James MacLurcan) wants to help, too; he feels neglected by his father who spends all his time on his adventures and who is overprotective of his son's well-being. Can Mack convince his dad to let him become the Red Power Ranger, and attain super strength? And will the Power Ranger Team be able to stop Moltor and Flurious before they gain the scattered jewels to put back into the Corona Aurora, and gain total domination over the world?
Power Rangers: Operation Overdrive - Pink Emerald, Volume 5 ties up all the loose ends of this driving adventure fantasy, and seen through the framework of an "afternoon TV kiddie show," it's fairly impressive in scope and execution. Featuring far-flung location work, copious stunt work, and dazzling (or at least colorful) special effects, this season of Power Rangers has a big-screen sweep to it (albeit on a small budget) that I found convincing. Most interesting was the subplot of Mack's identity crisis once he found out he was an android, and not human. It takes several episodes for Mack to come around to understanding his father, and not before he's given Andrew quite a bit of grief over his "conception." Realizing that all his dreams and memories were in reality "programming" (Mack only went on-line two years before), Mack has to find himself, as well as accept the fact that he is fundamentally different than his friends. I suspect a lot of pre-teens might find this plot compelling.
Other highlights in this final go-around include Crazar, the female Firecat who even manages to scare the Rangers; the Red Sentinel Ranger powering up into action and pulverizing the bad guys; Miratrix's transformation into a terrifying bird of prey robot; villain Magmador's fireballs, and the super-sweet battle royale between the Chillers and the Rangers right inside Andrew's mansion. Sentinel Knight's final transformation of Mack into a real little boy screams Pinocchio, but it feels right in relation to previous scenes with Andrew and the other Rangers telling Mack he's just as relevant and valid as a human being. All in all, a pretty satisfying fantasy series, with plenty of slam-bang action.
Here are the seven episodes of Power Rangers: Operation Overdrive - Pink Emerald, Volume 5:
Red Ranger Unplugged
Crazar, in an devious plan to destroy the Rangers, calls up the "Evil Rangers," villainous clones of the Rangers. Later, the Rangers deploy the massive Dual Drive Megazord to try and defeat Crazar.
Home and Away (Part 1)
The Octavian Chalice, when filled with Minerva's Staff, Root of Hesper and the Sands of Scylla, will release an energy source that could crush the Earth. The Rangers fail to stop the Fearcats from gathering these relics, which, when combined, formed the fearsome monster, Agreos.
Home and Away (Part 2)
Mack demands that Andrew reprogram him in order to pilot Tyzonn's FlashPoint Magazord. And good thing, too; Agrios is prepared to lay waste to the entire city. Meanwhile, Kamdor decides it's time to take out Moltor and Flurious, once and for all.
Way Back When
Mack is hooked up like a TiVo, and the Rangers watch a recap of the entire season.
Two Fallen Foes
When the team takes the Octavian Chalice to Greece, to capture a solar eclipse in order to locate the fifth jewel, Miratrix interrupts, grabbing the Chalice and demanding its power. Meanwhile, a huge meteor speeds toward Earth.
Nothing to Lose
Sentinel Knight and the FlashPoint Megazord are employed to fight Magmador, before Moltor can possess the Tri-Dragon Key.
Crown and Punishment
Flurious and the Chillers, intent on getting the final jewel for the Corona Aurora, mount an assault against Andrew's mansion. The Battlefleet hosts the DriveMax Megazord in a final battle.
The full frame, 1.33: video image for Power Rangers: Operation Overdrive - Pink Emerald, Volume 5 is super-sharp and brightly hued, with a sparkling, clean picture.
The Dolby Digital English 2.0 stereo audio mix is fine for these adventures, but can you imagine them in 5.1 Surround? Come on, Disney - step up to the plate! There are English subtitles available, as well.
Ranger Lessons Learned has the cast discussing what they've gained personally from their various adventures this season. There's also a DVD game: Ranger Reserve Training Course Level 5 - Red Jewel, that's mild fun.
The final battle is done, and the Power Rangers are victorious. Power Rangers: Operation Overdrive - Pink Emerald, Volume 5 winds up this 15th season of the popular franchise in fine fashion. Tons of cool vehicles, imaginative villains, and fun special effects keep the storylines moving smartly along. And a few of the subplots actually have a bit of substance to them. I recommend Power Rangers: Operation Overdrive - Pink Emerald, Volume 5.
Paul Mavis is an internationally published film and television historian, a member of the Online Film Critics Society, and the author of The Espionage Filmography.