by Gene Turnbow, station manager
Producer Adi Shankar and director Joseph Kahn have made a short film that SCG Power Rangers LLC, the company that owns the rights to the property (and apparently hates things that are fun and awesome), really really wants taken off the internet. There are two versions; the most explicit one Shankar had posted on Vimeo has already taken down. The other, cleaner version is still up on YouTube, where it will remain until Shankar gets a direct cease and desist letter from them.
If you’re curious about what was in the more explicit one, don’t worry, you didn’t miss much beyond some very short shots of partial nudity that didn’t really add that much to the story anyway.
SCG Power Rangers LLC is by far one of the most litigious license holders in Hollywood, rivaling Disney itself. In 2011, they even went after fans in the online MMO Second Life to stop vendors from selling digital costumes for avatars. The costumes sold for less than a dollar per costume, so nobody was getting rich from that, but they really didn’t care. They were going to squelch the fandom in Second Life anyway, and they succeeded. That effort was a tempest in a teapot by comparison to their new crusade against Shankar. The Streisand Effect is already kicking in, and the video on YouTube already has more than six million views in just 24 hours.
Update: Saban has just ordered the takedown of the video from YouTube as well. For the time being, you can still watch it here.
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The film stars a number of actors from the original Power Rangers series, including James Van Der Beek, who shows off some serious sword work, and Pink Ranger Katee Sackhoff, who shows off some serious acting chops. From start to finish, you as the viewer are in the moment, and every moment is breathless adventure.
It’s also extremely extremely dark. Adi Shankar, the producer, is admittedly a rather bizarre personage himself. In his personal video about why he created this film that he himself describes as “bootleg”, Shankar says that the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers were among his childhood favorites, and he got to thinking about it – a bunch of teenagers recruited by an alien entity to help fight an intergalactic war would have to grow up with some serious issues. Shankar produces mainly grind-house style films, like The Grey, Dredd, Killing Them Softly, Machine Gun Preacher, and Lone Survivor, but also does off-license fan films on a non-profit basis, such as The Punisher: Dirty Laundry, and Venom: Truth in Journalism.
The moderately cleaner, less explicit YouTube version was up for less than 48 hours before Saban filed their DMCA against it and had it pulled down
You should watch this film if you know anything about the Power Rangers. It’s a transformative alternate vision of the original, and as slick as anything you’ve seen.
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