Dear Saban Entertainment,
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers was a huge part of my childhood. By combining my three favorite things (karate, monsters, sparks), it provided endless entertainment for me and my friends. We collected the notoriously difficult to find toys, we practiced our “moves” in the schoolyard, and we fought over who got to ‘be’ the Red Ranger when we reenacted our favorite battles with the Putties. Heck, I still have an outstanding debt owed to me in the amount of four dollars because I made a lunchroom bet as to the identity of the mysterious White Ranger. I owned multiple VHS tapes of Power Rangers, all of which were worn out by repeat viewings. I wore a homemade Power Morpher belt buckle to match my dollar-store Ranger watch. I stood up against bullies, knowing that it’s precisely how a a Ranger would behave. I learned how to play the Dragonzord summoning tune on my recorder. And when I ran out of Ranger media to consume, I even made the jump to the wildly inferior VR Troopers. It’s safe to say that I was an original, hardcore, Power Rangers super fan. Even last year, when tasked with interviewing Jason David Frank (always my favorite Ranger) at Comic-Con, I was so star-struck that my limbs were shaking, and I’m a 30 year old man.
It is due to my storied history with your property that I humbly request that you stop trying to shut down Joseph Kahn’s POWER/RANGERS.
First and foremost, POWER/RANGERS was independently funded and released for free, so it is inarguably a fan film by definition and is thusly protected by law. Secondly, it’s absolutely stellar. Not only does it update the story of the Rangers for first generation fans like myself, who are all well into adulthood, but it does so in a way that is reverent to the brand. Make no mistake, this is not a parody. Yes, it walks the line of satire, but anyone with a beating heart and a working set of eyes can see that the film, like all fan films, came from a place of love. Upon watching, a feeling of warm nostalgia and genuine affinity washed over me. While it could certainly be argued that my love is a product of a merchandising behemoth, it can’t be argued that my love is anything but that – love. To be reminded of this love by Mr. Kahn’s film was a wonderful feeling to behold, and I cannot imagine that I am alone. Don’t take that away. Fanboys can be a fickle bunch. Do you really want to draw their ire before releasing your upcoming reboot?
Another thing to consider is the culture of fan films. From what I understand, if your company can prove that POWER/RANGERS‘ existence is damaging to your brand, than you do indeed have a shaky legal leg to stand on, however, that’s difficult thing to quantify and to what end? If such a concept can somehow be proven, you will open Pandora’s Case File in regards to all existing fan films, while simultaneously putting the kibosh on future projects. Is anyone going to even bother to put together a project if they know their work won’t be seen? Your product has inspired creation AND paid your bills. Nobody loses in this equation. Let it ride.
So please, close the book on this litigious ego trip. POWER/RANGERS does not hurt your brand. In fact, it bolsters it. I’ve thought more about my favorite spandex-clad ninjas in the past week than I have in years, and every thought was positive. Moreover, the Power Rangers (and a host of other Saban properties) are fueled by the love of their fans. Fans like Joseph Kahn. And when the inevitable Saban-made Power Rangers reboot is released, it’s the fans who will be buying tickets … or not buying them.
To quote a million different fanboys in regards to a million different fanboy properties: SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY.
Author: Dan Scully
Dan Scully is a film buff and humorist living in a tiny apartment in Philadelphia. He hosts the podcast I Like to Movie Movie and is the proud father to twin cactuses named Riggs & Murtaugh. Also, he doesn’t really mind when Batman kills people. Follow him on Twitter and Letterboxd.