Native New Yorker. Lover of all things pizza, chocolate, pets, and good friends. Karaoke hero. Left of center. Survivor. Fond supporter of cult, obscure and independent cinema - especially fond of Asian movies and global action cinema. Author of the bi-weekly Hit List. Founder and editor of Film Combat Syndicate. Still, very much, only human.
It’s funny how the smallest of details can mean the biggest of changes in the course of events. The latest online craze over Bootleg Universe’s deboot short, Power/Rangers has been the biggest example of this as of four days ago, unleashing the biggest, darkest, most visually stunning and violent take on the 90’s childrens’ Ameritoku series, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, just four days ago, followed by litigatory threats from billonaire media magnet and franchise owner Haim Saban and Saban Brands which ultimately led to its disabling on Vimeo and YouTube over a day later.
Of course, the initial Vimeo upload on the channel shortfilm’s director, Detention and Torque helmer Joseph Kahn was already downloadable with a disclaimer stating that the project, produced by Dredd producer, Bootleg Universe’s own Adi Shankar was merely a freebie one-shot for the fans. Despite this, the near-immediate popularity and virility of the short became the biggest and likely the most divisive issue between fans familiar with the American crossover series; It’s slick, glossy sci-fi appeal incorporated with its dark, gritty, gory and tragic tone embodied the very reasons why fans alike (including several of the show’s original cast members) either loved it, hated it, or shared professional opinions mixed from both ends. Nevertheless, what ensued was almost troubling for Shankar and Kahn who felt that Saban’s legal response just a few days actions were a signature stamp on the gloomy nature of how fandom gets observed by any content creator online.
With this, however, comes some good news via Deadline that Shankar and Kahn were able to reach a deal with Saban in a settlement that now allows Power/Rangers, in both its NSFW and SFW versions, to remain online. Both versions now have more legally-termed disclaimers as well as age restrictions so as to further set the boundaries between what Power/Rangers is, and the children’s show is aimed at when online users of all ages search for something on the web. “They put these disclaimers on so kids so don’t confuse our super-violent film with their Power Rangers brand.” Kahn told Deadline. “There are no hard feelings. We signed contracts. We can play it anywhere we want on all platforms. I think they realized that people just want to see it.”
Obviously, Power/Rangers is and always will be a one-shot pitch, and there shouldn’t be a stranglehold on creativity to such levels where legal action is the result. But then again, there’s a lesson to be learned here when it comes to filmmaking while adapting something to your own vision, even as a fan contribution, and that is to get the blessing of the copyright owners first and foremost and establish an amicable dialogue, lest you find yourself at the other, less-approving end of a copyright infringement lawsuit.
At any rate, Saban Brands is currently developing a theatrical feature film franchise as of last year with the help of Lionsgate. So, in lieu of this new short, the new report ought to extinguish the angst a bit more between both parties now that the lines are drawn and all is well.
On that note, both versions are back online, SO CLICK HERE AND GO NUTS!