MIGHTY MORPHIN POWER RANGERS - THE MOVIE
SUMMARY OF PLOT & DIFFERENCES BETWEEN
ORIGINAL SCRIPT AND FINAL CUT
by Paul Matthews, Nov 1995.
The original script does not mention who was to read the preamble at the start of the movie. A few words were changed, however generally it was the same. It basically tries to explain the existence of the Power Rangers for the (few) who might be present in the cinema who don't know about the past.
PROP PLANE, SKYDIVING EVENT:
This is largely unchanged from the original script. The original reason for the event gets buried in the final cut: it was a fundraiser for the Angel Grove Observatory and was to be related to Ryan's Comet. This was to establish the Comet at an early stage to allow it to be used at the end to destroy Ivan. The dialogue is generally unchanged.
They were supposed to end up at Ernies. Of course Ernies was virtually deleted from the final cut. Bulk & Skull were supposed to land in a tree at the park, in fact they land in the Construction Site as Ivan's tomb is discovered. The Construction site is known as "World Square", a stillborn building which
suffered from the "recession" in Sydney, and occupies a city block on George Street. The only way into the site was up/down 7 storeys of narrow stairs. Everything, every bit of equipment, had to be carried up and down these stairs every day. The average location crew was 220. The site was occupied by Tengu Productions for about 7 weeks.
ERNIE'S WATERSIDE CAFE:
Was totally deleted from the final cut. It was intended to establish Fred Kelman at this point. 'Ernies" was actually the Exhibition Theatre at Darling Harbour, Sydney.
At this point in the cut the Rangers teleport to the C.C. as in the old script. Dialogue was truncated. Perhaps the most important deleted point was that Zordon states that it was "The order of the Meledan" which imprisoned Ivan there in the first place. He also was supposed to introduce the new opt-scan devices in their helmets which didn't happen, though we see the scanner in use later on Rocky's helmet. (Billy was also supposed to have a special gadget but this did not eventuate.). The Command Center was constructed in the Commemorative Pavilion, Sydney Showgrounds between 15/9/94 and destroyed on 22/12/94.
DISCOVERY OF IVAN BY ZEDD/RITA:
The character "Mordant" was originally a small furry creature capable of grabbing onto Goldar's leg. Mordant is "Goldar's second cousin three times removed on his mother's side" - dialogue deleted from the final cut. The rest of this scene, which involves the Ooze morphing into Ivan , is as original.
RANGERS ARRIVAL On SCENE:
A Running gag involving Billy being repeatedly teleported into puddles was supposed to occurr in the movie, starting here. In actual fact the water at the Const. site was found to be too polluted to permit people to enter it and such the scene was not filmed. As such the gag was left out of the movie.
The Rangers meet Ivan, as original. However where Ivan creates the Oozemen these were originally supposed to be "Rat Creatures". The "Rat fight" WAS filmed, taking two nights but looked so hopeless it was cut immediately whilst an alternative was found. The original RAT CREATURE costumes were later reused by the TV show production in "Return of the Green Ranger" which was filmed around Sydney.
The resulting Oozemen fight scenes were totally rewritten and filmed in mid December.
IVAN TRASHES C.C.:
Ivan's intrusion and destruction of the Command Center is pretty much as written, except that Alpha was supposed to be affected and begin malfunctioning calling out nonsense phrases. The comments from Ivan are as intended except for "The Brady Bunch Reunion" which was a Paul Freeman addition on the day of filming.
RANGERS LOSE POWERS, RETURN TO C.C., LEAVE FOR PHAEDOS
Considerable dialogue within the C.C. was cut at this point. Otherwise the final is identical to the scripted parts. The use of a vile of energy to contain the last fragments of morphing grid energy did not eventuate, the provision for it was not included on the control panel (whoops, wooden spoon to our team on that one..)
ZEDD'S PALACE, CREATION OF TENGU WARRIORS
This is where Ivan double crosses Zedd & Rita by zapping them into a snowglobe. The overal scene is similar to the original script. Goldar and Mordant are given the chance to join up with Ivan which they do. The Tengu Warriors are crated and fly off to Phaedos. At this point a Tengu was to grab Mordant and take him to Phaedos, however since Mordant became a Pig instead of a small furry creature, this was dropped. The dropping of dialogue in this scene was also common, especially in the snowglobe since
this scene was not actually filmed but created from a virtual set (the original set was created and not used). Zedd's Palace was built inside the Commemorative Pavilion, Sydney Showgrounds, between 15/9/94 and destroyed on 22/12/94.
ARRIVAL ON PHAEDOS
Originally to be in a jungle clearing, this became "Rocky Terrain" as changes to locations were made. The location is Bombo Quarry, Kiama, on the south coast of NSW Australia. It was filmed in the third week of January 1995.
The original script had Billy landing in a puddle, but this was deleted as explained before. The skeletons in the final cut were not in the original, they were added as part of the new Phaedos concept which culminated in the Bone Creature scene.
AT THIS POINT the movie's narrative splits in two, swapping back and forth from Phaedos and Earth, following development of the Rangers and Ivan. I will deal with the narratives SEPARATELY here, starting with PHAEDOS.
In the old script the Rangers are attacked by the Tengus but Dulcea (described as a small creature) defeats the Tengus in a big fight which was itself deleted (infact in the final cut Dulcea does nothing more than twirls pipes and appears as herself with no morphing ability).
Originally, the Rangers were to follow Dulcea to her home where she was to train them in the ways of the Ninjetti. This included a huge collection of scenes where the Rangers initially fail but eventually succeed in realising their new powers. The Ninjetti Uniforms were supposed to reveal themselves on the Rangers during sleep overnight. An overall 12 minutes of scenes were cut and effectively replaced with the Bone Creature scene.
Originally, Gabrielle Fitzpatrick was to play "Dulcea" but a sudden admission to hospital one day before filming was to commence (for removal of an ovarian cyst) meant that she was (reluctantly) replaced by Mariska Hargitay, daughter of sex idol Jayne Mansfield. This series of events almost destroyed the movie.
Mariska filmed all the scenes at "Dulcea's Compound" with the Rangers. This included the night scenes (where yes, the Rangers slept on color-coordinated beds!) and where David Yost ate countless eels, and animals representing each Ranger were used extensively. The location used was the Chinese Gardens in Darling Harbour, Sydney, between 10/11 and 21/11/94. But it didn't work. The scenes were boring, lacked character, and there was insufficient time to develop the characters. ALL these scenes
eventually hit the floor and were replaced by the Dinosaur sequence. By late December Gabrielle had recovered from her operation and was again offered to return and reprise the part. In the background was another girl called Catherine- who 8 months later went on to become the new Pink Ranger in the TV show (she originally auditioned for the Dulcea part). One more character (Snoggle) who was supposed to be Dulcea's comedy relief was also deleted.
By cutting the "Dulcea's Compound" scenes the Producers deleted
the following important information;
- The power of the Ninjetti was developed by the Nathadians.
- Dulcea is the sole surviving example of the "Nathadians"
- Dulcea, Zordon & others made up "The Order of the Meledan"
- The Nathadian Monolith is where the Ninjetti powers are based.
- To enter it, they must focus it's own power on itself for 20 triacs.
- A Triac is 2 seconds.
Much interaction between the Rangers was removed by cutting the Dulcea's Compound scenes. This has left the final cut rather thin on plot (in true MMPR style) which did little towards gaining new fans to the movie.
The replacement for Dulcea's Compound was "Phaedos Outlook" which was built inside the space left after demolishing of the Command Center and Zedd's Palace at the Showgrounds in Sydney. It is here the final cut shows the Rangers getting their new powers and ninjetti costumes, aided by the now recovered Gabrielle as Dulcea, these scenes being filmed late January 95.
In order to get to the Nathadian Monolith, the Rangers would have to go through another battle. Initially this was to be with "improved" Tengu Warriors. It was to take place on and about a long rope bridge over a deep crevice leading to the monolith. The bridge was completed and even set up infront of a greenscreen as late as Feb 95 for use but then was never used.
Replacing this scene was the Gargoyle fight. The Gargoyles were developed to add variety as it seemed restrictive to over-use the Tengu Warriors. The Gargoyles (sometimes called Gate Keepers) were built by local Sydney firm Studio Kite. The "new" Nathadian Monolith set (where the jungle opens out to the entrance) was constructed at the Warner Movieworld Studios in Queensland, Australia, and filming took about 7 days in early February.
The other "new" scene in the final Phaedos cut was the Bone Creature Fight. This was done totally practical, there are no Computer effects used at all in the sequence. It was the very last sequence in MMPRM to be filmed in mid February in an actual Queensland jungle location. Good as it was, it contributed little to the plot but left a large gap of imagination to be filled by the anticipated young viewers.
THE DEATH OF ZORDON
Originally, it was intended that Zordon would die, and the Rangers would return from Phaedos to the C.C. to find him dead. They would then restore Zordon and the C.C. BEFORE going off to save Angel Grove from Ivan's monsters. This running order was swapped in post production. As for the C.C. all the scenes in the "Restored" C.C. were simply filmed before the destruction sequences.
IVAN'S CHEMICAL PLANT
Originally it was intended to use an actual location for the Chemical Plant and dozens of possibilities around Sydney were scouted. By mid December it was clear it would need to be constructed and so it was - full size. The windows and walls you see in the plant are infact the interior of the Government Pavilion, Sydney Showgrounds. The sequences were eventually filmed in late January 1995.
There was originally much more dialogue to occurr in the Chemical Plant. Bulk & Skull were supposed to be recruited by Ivan as his "Spokespeople". These scenes were not filmed. The Chemical plant has two spouts (one on each side of the gangway on which the villains stand) which are supposed to spurt ooze. They worked, but they were not used for shooting.
In the final cut, Hornitor and Scorpitron are "Commissioned" inside the Chemical Plant. Originally they were supposed to first appear in the city. The final scene was done using a mix of graphics and matte paintings.
A gag between Ivan and Mordant involving a video camera in the Chemical Plant was supposed to happen but was never filmed.
Various scenes were supposed to include Ivan as "The Wizard" subverting the young kids to Ooze. A few made it, most didn't. Ivan was to have a Silver Tooth which would occasionally glint into camera and thus give away his identity as the Wizard.
The kids are briefly shown trashing Ernie's Seaside Cafe. This scene was far more complicated than that included in final cut. Ernie himself does not feature in the movie despite Richard Genelle being present for the entire 2 months.
THE KELMAN RESIDENCE
Long discussions and location scouts took place looking for the right house which had to look typically American (difficult in brick-filled Sydney as opposed to Wooden California). The car from which Mr Kelman comes is right hand drive- yet Mr Kelman gets out of the lefthand side door as an attempt to further cover the real location, which was in East Sydney. The scenes were shot in mid January.
The plot is the same however - the Ooze contains an ingredient which makes kids lose control of their responsibility and yet places Adults under Ivan's control. Fred Kelman is not affected because he suspects Ivan. HIs parents are affected and he embarks on a scheme to find out what really is happening and then save the parents, whom Ivan is using to dig at the Construction site to unearth the parts of his ectomorphicon machines. The only parts of the ectomorphicons constructed were a hand and forearm and a leg of Hornitor, both fullsize.
THE TENGU WARRIORS
In final cut they return from Phaedos and report to Ivan (one voice sounding very much like Danny Stallcup to me) and are then destroyed. The old script had Mordant returning with them and reporting, after which the Tengu were supposed to be strengthened and a new Queen Tengu created.
After the creation of the Hornitor & Scorpitron, Ivan instructs the parents to go and dive to their deaths at the Construction Site. Fred was then supposed to go to Ernies and gain the attention of his peers by hosing them with a fire hose, however in final cut it's nothing more than a loud wolfwhistle that breaks the spell. The kids then go off to save the parents using the monorail (which is an actual monorail which links Darling Harbour with Sydney). After being saved by FalconZord from plummeting to death through a break in the track, the kids reach the construction site and Fred uses the firehose again to wake the parents up and prevent them from jumping the cliff.
ANGEL GROVE TOWER
This is a 7/8 copy of Centerpoint Tower which stands in the middle of Sydney Australia. It was built in the Government Pavilion, Sydney Showgrounds. In mid-November, there was some media interest in the Showground site and politicians and cameras roamed the site, this being because the Prime-minister had said that the Showgrounds were to be sold to Fox to become a major studio. What few knew was that the site was already being used to make MMPR:TM. The news bulletins showed clear shots of AGTower and the outside of the C.C. on many occasions but drew no conclusions as to what they were. As late as October 1995 the same footage has been used in news bulletins in Sydney as stock footage. The actual shots of the tower took place early December 1994.
Originally Ivan was to stand atop the Tower, point his hands down below and lightning from his fingers would create the monsters below. This scene was filmed but did not make final cut. There were various tussles between Goldar & Ivan atop the tower, most of which did make it to final cut. One problem was the backdrop which was smaller than anticipated thus reducing the depth of field the director had hoped for.
Initially it was planned to take plates of Sydney and insert the CGI monsters however this was soon realised to be impossible due to the need to give a 3 dimensional representation of all plates to the CGI people to work the monsters in. So most of the Third Act (the fight between the Zords and Ivan's monsters) was shot using cuts between Cockpits and GI shots on plates shot of a miniature city which was created in L.A. in March 1995. However a
few shots involving actors were shot using the original concept, including the car explosions, the running crowds, and the Rangers surveying the destruction. Sydney was shut down three times (1 day & 2 nights) to permit this. Complexities were caused by the "Visor" issue (see MMPRM FAQ).
However most of the Third Act appears in the final cut much as it was originally scripted.
The cuts back and forth in the third act were made realistic by extensive use of the cockpit shots. The Stunt actors did all this. For what it's worth, here are the details, in order of shooting: Bear, Wolf and Crane were shot in late December in the Commemorative Pavilion. Frog and Falcon were shot in mid January in Commemorative whilst Monkey and Megazord were both shot late January in the Government Pavilion, in and about an Australian event called "The Big Day Out". The punters outside had no idea what was happening inside.
This was pretty much as scripted, with the fight taking off into outer space and Ivan ending his days thanks to Ryan's Comet. However in the older script Ivan was supposed to envelop Scorpitron- however in the final cut it is Hornitor which he envelops.
In the final cut, after the fight, the Rangers return to the C.C. and restore it, however in the old script they already did this before tending to Ivan. After this, the final say is left to Goldar, Zedd and Rita who have to settle their differences.
If it's any consolation, I am in the movie. At the end where there is a cut from Zordon's restored CC to the crowd celebrating on the waterfront. This scene begins with a pan across the crowd in front of a blue "Celebration" sign, slows briefly on Bulk & Skull who are relating their story and finally fixes on the Rangers eating in the fish restaurant "Jordans".
At the start of this scene you can make out a figure with glasses, head about 1 foot above the rest, next to the pole holding the "Celebration" sign. It's me, looking at the sign, and holding the stand which repeatedly blew over in the wind. The only way to stop it was to stay and stand on it, which I did for about 3 hours at the direction of George. Fortunately it seems obedience to my superior on set paid off - Im one of the very few crew who made it in...
Happenings as reported by the Sunday Telegraph, 5th Feb '95 - referring to the Phaedos Rocky Outcrop location in Kiama.
The Rangers arrive at Kiama / Phaedos Rocky Outcrop. Clipped from the movie.
The Rangers in the Command Center set. Photo : Marc Vignes.
My master shot of the completed Megazord Cockpit.
Photo : Paul Matthews.
A "Behind the Scenes" shot of the Tengu taking off from Zedd's Balcony, over the heads of the assembled crew. Danny and team were true to character, with much squawking and flapping in evidence. In practice they were actually slung up to electric chain motors strapped to running rails above. As the motors lifted the actors, they would be pulled outwards off the balcony and overhead by four off-screen stunt people who simply "ran off" down towards the end of the pavilion with ropes tied around their waists through pulleys to the tracks above. In the background can be seen the exterior of the Command Center set, where I was working that night. Below you can see what it looked like from the Camera's angle.
Photo : Paul Matthews.
And here's what us crew saw - not much to it eh? But it sure took them ages to get it done.
Photo : Marc Vignes
Oh the controversy! Here is a snap from the widescreen version of the film which shows what many fans (back in 1995/96) on the 'net seemed to talk about regularly - Gabrielle's (Dulceas') backside. Although there's not much to see, apparently it reduced some adult fans to vallium on the floor. I was not one of them.
And here's another view of Dulcea - Naked - in front of the Greenscreen that was to become the rest of Phaedos..
No matter how much Peter dared me to get under that foot, I couldn't. This lifesize model of Hornitor's Foot was the only real part of the creature that was built. You see it first all dirty in the construction site, then later all shined up in the Chemical Plant, which is where this photo was taken.
Photo - Paul Matthews.
And now the digital version... however don't be fooled, the road under his foot in this shot is the -real- corner of York and Market Streets in Sydney This is one of two shots that were NOT done with models AT ALL, and they cost an absolute fortune. It was originally Bryan's dream that the whole of Act 3 be done this way but as usual they ran out of money. Pity they wasted so much.
A truly fantastic shot - imagine what could have been if the whole 3rd act had been done this way. This is the REAL Corner of Market and George Sts, Sydney. On your right, Gowing's Clothing store. The Hornitor threatens to destroy the pedestrian bridge between Grace Brothers and Centerpoint Shopping Centre. The working Monorail track on the left featured one trainset with "Angel Grove" stuck on the side, going round the loop again and again. The Rangers look on in shock and horror. This simple, 5 second shot cost about $6 million. Remember it was done twice - because the first time the Rangers didn't have their visors in their helmets. The first time (when I was there) was a quiet Sunday night. But what you see here (the reshoot) was taken on a Friday Night- only two weeks before Christmas- and was a logistics hellhole. The rubble is all ours, mostly junk from the trashing of other sets.
Another REAL shot, Scorpitron deals out dishings for the poor Datsun Bluebird that was blown up three times. This shot is from the first location night, the night I was there. Basically in reality you are standing where the Rangers are (Cnr George & Market Sts) and you've spun around 180 degrees to look west this time down Market St to see Scorpitron. Therefore both monsters are coming for them - one per side. That is not readily apparent in the film cuts. To your right is the same Monorail track. To your left, St Martins Tower.. The wonky pillar to the left is a fake. Below, the map of Sydney gives you some idea.
Another real shot. Scorpitron is on Kent St, with the Queen Victoria Building to the right and St Martins' Tower to the Left. This shot was from the first day of filming, 31st October 1994 on a Sunday Afternoon.
Scorpitron Cnr Kent & Market, daytime, as above.
In February (only God knows why) the unit took the Rangers and Dulcea to the Northern Territory for some desert shots. Another huge expense for little gain. This is one of the only two shots that made it from that three day adventure. However the Ranger Actors enjoyed it and after all they had been through, they somewhat deserved it.
Someone, Somewhere was responsible for the disaster caused by the above statement in Sydney's Daily Telegraph, 1st February 1995. Can you blame most of the crew for backing out?
On 1st november 1994, the Sydney Morning Herald printed this story introducing Sydney to the world of the Power Rangers Movie, based on the location shoot that had occurred the day before. Below is a larger reproduction of the text.