Saturday, March 1, 2008

"WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE, I and II: Spirit Unleashed and "SIGH OF THE TIGER": The Next Karate Kid

Between the toys, the Ranger promos (albeit short) and the fact it's the last year (at least in New Zealand), I couldn't help but feel excited for the new season this year. I was a little afraid it would go unwarranted, but it didn't. For the first time, I watched the premiere knowing exactly what happened in the sentai. It makes GekiRanger more fun for me and (at least in this case) didn't take away from it. Another reason I was ready to get this underway -- I absolutely love Geki's story theme and the suits. Yeah, Jungle Fury is basically a straight rip, but there should be enough new and re-done fight scenes to keep my interest in both than to feel like deja vu. Can't get any worse than some of MF and OO's weird footage adaptations/character development -- or Ten Terrors eps. >_>

Now let's break it down:

Turning on the premiere, it was great to hear the theme for the first time (which hadn't happened since the "DAY OF THE DINO" ABC Family premiere). Reminds me of sort of a lighter mix of the Ninja Storm theme. Sounds much more like something Disney would do than the power-pop rap.

I like how the show began with Lily, Theo and Jarrod honing their kung-fu skills before being chosen to go up to the next level by Master Mao. And then Jarrod gets expelled and Casey the cub is chosen to take his place. A little more focus on Jarrod being a bully would've been nice, but I liked it. And great to have a Red who's there right from the start.

Interesting how the great evil spirit was sealed by warriors over 10,000 years ago. Couldn't they have made the box say, have a lock? -_-

I like how it was setup that the Rangers met RJ at Jungle Karma Pizza and the command base is a simple loft up and behind it. Now of course they work there. Fran joining the staff so quickly was pretty silly, but for the most part I thought the humor was well done (especially when they thought the old Asian guy was their master). The "12:32 lunch rush" reminds me of the high school lunch rush at the grocery store I work at.

Really liked when RJ gave our heros the morphers. Yeah, I'm sure that ol' what's-his-name had something to do with it, but that name doesn't need to be mentioned in the show ever again. As for the sunglasses, I wasn't sure what to except at first, but it's kind of a new spin on morphing and I like how the helmets are formed out of them. The transformation sequence is pretty cool.

Right away RJ reminds me quite a bit of Toby. Barnie Duncan doing this role wouldn't have worked because of that obviously, so I'm glad they have someone who seems they'll do a good job with it (not to mention becoming a Ranger when that episode happens). Also, nice to see a tough Blue Ranger this year in Theo -- a total change from Dax. Lily's ditzy attitude was kinda lame. Gotta say she looks pretty good though, especially in the work clothes and normal attire. As for Fran -- How funny. Ya know, it's fun to be a regular of Rangerboard sometimes. <_<

I liked how Casey couldn't figure out how to morph at first. Of course they gotta do something to make Red go last and this was a nice change from always showing up to save the day when the others are in danger.

I don't mind Bae so much in Geki, but having to listen to Flit will be more annoying it seems. They better give him something later on.

It would've been cooler if they had waited until the third of fourth episode to reveal Jarrod as Dai Shi, but at least they waited until the end of the premiere. Great job making his voice deeper. And wow! Holly as Camille is totally different than Leelee! NICE! Also, I rather like that they kept the name Rinshi and how they can be powered up to create the MoTDs (even if getting the power ups does seem to be random).

Hopefully this will be a year I like the villains for the ENTIRE season, but they do always seem to mess SOMETHING up (i.e. As much as I liked the underworld villains for much of MF, we all know what eventually happened). The villains(s)-of-the-week theme in OO wasn't too bad, but at this point I'm really digging Dai Shi and the gang. Nice job recreating the RinJuDen too.

Going into "SIGH OF THE TIGER" the first thing that came to mind was whether Casey would be cleaning the floor. I enjoyed the flow of the episode and how RJ had him do various things that tied into training to fight Bullalord. Unlike past Reds, Casey wanted to get BETTER, not quit. Good job.

Camille breaking into the museum was pretty OO-ish, but it was okay. I figured they'd use part of and/or redo some of the Rinirinshi stuff from Geki.

Poor Fran. She really got it. Jungle Karma Pizza = Best use of the Rangers hang out/employer and extras since DinoThunder BY FAR.

Not surprised Casey did clean the floor, but I would've thought they'd use the Geki battle footage.

LOVIN' the one minute instrumental.

4/5 for all three episodes. I'm pretty much ready to write-off Operation Overdrive altogether. <_<

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