When we last left the Dino Thunder Power Rangers, Tommy was in a coma…and how often do we actually see Power Rangers in the hospital? Let’s rejoin Lewis “Linkara” Lovhaug and his other dinosaur-riding friends, including the traditional last-season team-up.
- The episode with Tommy battling his past selves. Nice idea and you get to see how far he’s come. Except for Billy he’s been with the Rangers the longest and unlike Billy had numerous Ranger suits. Sadly left behind: the Ninja Ranger Power costume. Gladly left behind: the Metallic Armor.
- I haven’t always agreed with Lewis when it comes to the Battleizers, at least while I was watching the show, but this one didn’t work for me. It’s not only the super-stretching arms and sholderpads, but the fact that he gives up a hand for a dinosaur head. I’ve seldom liked “head hands” on Beast Wars Transformers figures and it doesn’t work here either, especially since there was no reason for it.
- I also agree about the White Ranger’s arc. Another alternative would be to keep Trent in the bad guy’s control until the Sentai allowed them to team up. From what I’ve read about “AbreKiller” this was the PR’s idea rather than the Sentai’s.
- The team-up probably should be more memorable for me that it is, mostly the final fight. I think I was more into Mesogog’s fight with Lothor because I don’t remember ever having the Rangers’ VILLANS fight each other. Usually it’s some mix of the villains or a brand new threat. I do remember that the idea of the Wind Rangers turned evil was a nice idea and the two groups of actors played off each other well. By now it’s becoming a requirement for the team-up, something that’s only been missed twice for obvious reasons. They couldn’t get the Wild Force actors for Ninja Storm due to the move overseas and from a story perspective getting the Jungle Fury Rangers into RPM would have been difficult, although that takes place in a separate universe from at least Power Rangers Samurai.
- The clip show to Kira’s song at the end makes for one of the better Power Ranger endings as you get a sense of how far the Rangers have come not only as Rangers but as friends when they used to be part of different cliques. To me that makes them a lot different–and possibly an improvement–from the last dino-riding high school Rangers. The Mighty Morphers were already good friends despite showing few shared interests in the pilot, only finding mutual exercises as they started doing way too many extracurricular activities for the sake of the episode’s plot. The Dino Rangers, on the other hand, had to become friends, drawn together by their shared experience, something I really like when Ranger shows do it.
And now for the characters in general.
- The villains as a whole are good villains. Mesogog has a different agenda from your typical “conquer the universe” villain, and I also like these deviations. The Jekyll/Hyde issue with Anton is also a nice change and a twist we didn’t see coming. Compare that to Master Org, who was mostly out for revenge against the world and woman who shunned him. Elsa really isn’t all that developed other than “Mesogog made me evil, and I have a crush on Tommy like I was a Pink Ranger”, which didn’t pay off at the end when it appears she might end up with Anton. Zeltrax’s backstory felt like an afterthought, like it wasn’t developed until later and they just wanted to give Tommy an arch-rival.
- Lewis calls Connor an idiot and he may not be too far off but I don’t think a radical change would have worked for him. The fact that he starts caring more about others (he originally pretended to care about the environment to date the “one-off girl” when he really didn’t until the end) is enough for me and he does make a good Ranger.
- My only problem with Kira were the times the writers used her to make negative comments about pop music and the music industry, specifically the episode where her old singing buddy becomes a Brittney Spears type and when some music agent tries to give her a makeover into something Arthur Knowledge would be discussing on his “Beatdrop” show. It felt heavy-handed, especially to me since I enjoy both the style Kira sings and pop music, along with a whole lot of others. She was one of the better female Rangers for one lacking martial arts skills and I never hated her.
- Ethan…got on my nerves. The best episode was the one where he defeated a bully not with his Ranger skills but actually trying to help him with his soccer game. Otherwise his mouth and tendency to use his hacker skills to pull pranks just to be a jerk was kind of annoying and while he helped Cassidy gain a conscience there wasn’t a whole lot to him–at least from memory.
- Trent’s tragedy made him one of the more interesting evil-to-good Rangers. I don’t mind that his story didn’t parallel Tommy’s, but Tommy didn’t beat Rita’s mind control on his own, either. Jason had to destroy the sword that the spell had been linked to. Still, seeing Trent overcome the White Ranger persona would have been good, too although this did start Anton fighting back against Mesogog. Plus Trent is an artist/cartoonist and personal bias pops up. He just needed to be a writer as well and he’d be perfect.
- Tommy really didn’t change much in this story, but I guess he already had his evolution in the early series. He was what I call a Mentor Ranger, a mentor that became a Power Ranger, which we would also see in SPD and Jungle Fury. After that Haley kind of went from Tommy’s Alpha-5 to the mentor role with Tommy just being a more experienced Ranger. I could have sworn that early toy packages pointed to Zack as the returning Ranger but I could have been wrong. Still, I think Billy would have been better in Tommy’s place. I could see him becoming a scientist and teacher, although they would need a reason for him to come back from Aquatar. But imagine him coming back with his Aquitian wife and meeting their kid or kids. Someone needs to think about that. That said, it was nice seeing Tommy in action again, and any of the original Mighty Morphers fit in Dino Thunder since in a few ways DT is an update of MM.
- Haley herself wasn’t all that memorable outside of being a female version of Cam. Not in the terms of personality and she didn’t want to be a Ranger but her big job was to sub for Tommy and make stuff. I liked her and the Cybercafe she ran was a nice update to the “juice bar” of the original series, but that’s pretty much it.
- I already mentioned that Cassidy develops a conscience but that’s really all she gained. She’s still a bit superficial and not always running on all mental cylinders, but once she developed a better sense of “the right thing” she became almost likable. Her counterpart, Devin, on the other hand, was kind of her Jiminy Cricket and could have been friends with the Rangers and he starts to develop a spine around the time Cassidy and Ethan become friends. I liked him and if he had become a Ranger I would have been all for it.
Overall, I did enjoy Dino Thunder. It was a mostly well thought out series (Zeltrax being the biggest flaw in that area) and a good update for Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers. As of this posting it is also the last time Power Rangers would be seen attending high-school unless something happened in Mystic Force.
I’ll get to Power Rangers SPD when Linkara finds the time to get to Mystic Force. Until then, let the power protect you.