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TV REVIEW : 'Rangers,' 'Bonkers!' Not Top Kiddie Fare

The New Season. One in a series.

September 06, 1993|CHARLES SOLOMON | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

The first new children's shows of the season arrive this afternoon, giving parents two good reasons to start the Labor Day barbecues early.

Billed as a "live-action, science-fiction comedy," Fox's "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers," which airs at 2:30 p.m. on KTTV-TV Channel 11, combines elements of "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles," "Transformers," "The Monkees" and a toy commercial: Five high school martial artists acquire super powers and an array of mechanical dinosaurs to fight the evil machinations of "interplanetary sorceress" Rita Repulsive.

The well-trained cast performs the gymnastic moves skillfully, but the writing never approaches the level of the stunts. After being zapped to interplanetary good-guy headquarters, one of the girls comments, "This isn't exactly the mall, is it?"

The real purpose of "Power Rangers" seems to be to hawk the robot-dinosaur toys, which appear in slow-motion in the battle scenes in an unsuccessful attempt to make them look big and impressive.

"Bonkers!," the newest and probably least impressive segment of the "Disney Afternoon" cartoon block (4:30 p.m. on KCAL-TV Channel 9), marks the return of Bonkers D. Bobcat, one of the stars of last season's less-than-thrilling "Raw Toonage."

The clumsy delivery boy has been reincarnated as an inept Toon cop, the junior officer to a long-suffering human detective. The attempt to re-create the world of "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" falls flat as all the characters are animated, which eliminates the vital distinction between Toons and humans.

Bonkers jabbers constantly, and the camera zips around the frame to suggest energy and disguise the limits of the animation: The results are frenetic, fast-paced and effortful.

The Mad Hatter and March Hare from "Alice in Wonderland" make the cartoon equivalent of a guest appearance in the "In the Bag" episode, but they're pallid imitations of the brilliantly animated originals. Why does the management at Disney allow characters from the animated features they refer to as the company's "crown jewels" to be prostituted in this way?

Kids used to watching "Roger Rabbit" on cassette or laser disc may have a hard time accepting this lame attempt at a remake.

Also premiering at 8 a.m. today on KCOP-TV Channel 13 is "The Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog," which was unavailable for review.

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