For nearly 24 years, the franchise’s alien witch character Rita Repulsa maintained a whimsical appearance — in a period-inspired floor-length gown and dramatic headpieces.
But in Banks’ turn as the villain, she is reimagined in va-va-voom Poison Ivy-like style — a glossy head-to-toe green number with cutouts along the torso and legs, with plenty of flesh on show. Her shoes are wedge heel boots that seamlessly blend in with the armor.
This iteration of the character represents both a nightmare — and a fantasy — for the hormonal teen heroes, director Dean Israelite explained to Footwear News on Thursday at the film’s premiere in Los Angeles.
“The idea for Rita was always to create a character that was at once terrifying, but also absurd and hilarious, and there to be a kind of sexuality about her… and alluring about her — the movie is about teenagers, coming of age; it’s about puberty and a kind of tension — all kinds of tension, including sexual tension,” Israelite explained.
“I think it’s interesting that she brings part of that to the movie and she’s a strong character in her own right,” he continued. “I wanted to make a villain that’s like a Tim Burton villain of yesteryear. I think that’s really bold of us because it’s not just a straight, evil villain — it’s someone who can toe the balance between something that can be absurd and outlandish, and also eerie and terrifying; and her costume captures all of that in sensuality — and that’s in a coming of age story.”
The actioner is the third big screen picture in its franchise history. The story follows a group of five outcast teens who save the world from evil after discovering their ability to morph into glossy superheroes — the Power Rangers.
While out of costume, the teens wear sneakers by Nike, Vans and Skechers. When they morph into Power Rangers, they wear customized boots. The female Power Rangers don wedge heel boots that Israelite said were incorporated to help with evening out heights among the cast.
Meanwhile, Banks told FN at the premiere that her all-time favorite piece of wardrobe from her career was far more avant-garde than her Rita Repulsa costume.
“I was given a pair of Alexander McQueen shoes from playing Effie Trinket in ‘The Hunger Games’ and that is my most beloved pair of shoes,” she said of McQueen successor Sarah Burton’s hoof-like fall 2012 collection.