Saban’s Power Rangers movie is now out on home video – on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital HD.
And one thing long-time Power Rangers fans have come to expect from the franchise is the somewhat cheesy, inexplicable trait that the Rangers are always seen wearing their Ranger colors – whether in uniform, in school, or in public.
With Saban’s Power Rangers movie attempting to revitalize the franchise in a much more mature, mainstream way, the film’s costume designer, Kelli Jones, knew she would have to take a unique approach to create the cast’s wardrobe.
How could she put a more mature twist on such a classic Power Rangers trope while staying true to the campiness, and nostalgia that’s made the franchise successful for nearly 25 years? Jones explained all in an interview with Syfy.
“I think [our wardrobe] was classier. You didn’t need to hit it on the head. It wasn’t campy. Dean kept some campy elements of it that I think were really important with the nostalgia and the fans who grew up with the Power Rangers. But with like the Pink Ranger, the pinks I used on her were dark burgundy. With Becky [the yellow Ranger], I almost did a mustard color, like in her bomber jacket. So I stuck with their color palettes, but not in an in-your-face way. It was much more subtle.” – Kelli Jones, Costume Designer
Jones even notes that her favorite wardrobe choice was one of Billy’s sweaters, worn by actor RJ Cyler depicting a bear with blue boxing gloves (seen above). Jones and Cyler note going through a long pitch to convince Director Dean Israelite to approve the sweater’s design.
Yet even more difficult than creating the teens’ wardrobe was Jones’ task of designing costumes for the evil Rita Repulsa. Jones explained to Syfy her thought process in designing the many outfits Rita displayed from alien creature to full-blown antagonist.
“I did a bunch of illustrations that had her in a black outfit. but I didn’t want her to be too Underworld. So I did a bunch of variations for her then, making her dark green. [For her nails] I looked up some avant-garde work online and I saw this crazy nail installation. I thought it would be cool on her hands.” – Kelli Jones, Costume Designer
Jones also had high praise for Elizabeth Banks, who would eventually wear the designs Jones had created conceptually.
“I got really lucky with Elizabeth. I had already done the illustrations with my illustrator before knowing that she for sure was signing on to the movie. I met her at Legacy, who was going to build the green costume. I made the black costume with the rope and the tarp up in Vancouver. So it was really her coming in and showing her the illustrations and explaining the first variation where she’s tied up in ropes to the green variation. How lucky were we that she was like, “Cool.” She just wanted to make sure certain things were covered, but she was super open to it. The green costume especially takes 10 to 12 weeks to make, and by the time she does her main fitting, it’s a week before she has to start shooting — so it has to work. But she does full body scans, so they had her sizes down to the millimeter. It was formed to her and held together by this really strong nylon out of France. We couldn’t have asked for a cooler actress for those costumes.” – Kelli Jones, Costume Designer
If there’s one thing Power Rangers fans have complained about minimally thus far, it’s the film’s wardrobe. And tasked with having to tackle one of the longest-standing tropes in franchise history, Jones should consider her work on Saban’s Power Rangers a success.