Saturday, 30 July 2011

Thunderbirds Review

[caption id="attachment_520" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Thunderbirds 2004 Movie Poster"]Thunderbirds (2004)[/caption]

Why Now?

Why am I reviewing a movie from 2004 that is currently running at 4.0 out of 10 at IMDb. Two reasons:

  1. It can now be found very cheaply in bargain buckets up and down the land. Watching a bad movie at the cinema for a lot of money is quite different from watching a bad £1.99 DVD at home.

  2. I have been made it watch it at least weekly by my four year old son weekly for what feels like the last 23 years, fnord!


My son was introduced to some old episodes of the original Thunderbirds. Pit of Peril remains a steady favourite. He is able to build a giant Sidewinder machine out of almost anything, also his impersonation is quite excellent. Eventually we acquired further episodes, then the movies, then the modern version.

The original series is much better than you think. In Britain we like to mock and demean our childhood memories of TV. We complain of wobbly sets on Dr Who and visible strings on the Thunderbirds. The sets on Dr Who were not that bad, until fairly late on, and the strings on the Thunderbirds were not seen at the time and even yet take effort to see. The show was excellent entertainment in it's day and remains far better than expected today.

The original movies Thunderbirds Are Go and Thunderbird 6 deserve their own reviews. In brief, 6 is funnier and the laughing scene (watch and see) in Go made me a little frightened.

The family love for the Thunderbirds is  is so strong we have led to a one family boom time for eBay sellers, there is a whole world of collecting potential out there. Japanese Thunderbirds, anime and even a toy Tracey Island!

The Review

It is horrific bilge.  If I had to give it a star rating it would be Barnard's.

The film is set as a prologue to the original series and tells us how the youngest Tracey brother (Alan) graduated from being a tearaway schoolboy to being a full fledged member of the team. Brains has a son who is Alan's bestest friend and Tin Tin is his specialest friend to be. The trials Alan must overcome are his own headstrong individualism and an attack by a bald Ben Kingsley who does not appear to be having as much fun as he should be. The story has plot holes like the Matrix and the quality of acting is about Keanu Reeves.

Amusing sound effects abound. Sproing, clunk, tweeting birds amd some boinging.

In fact go to the IMDb site and read the user reviews. They will sum it up fairly well.

From an adult, technical, perspective I would rather stab myself in the eyes with a manky wooden soup spoon thanwatch this tripe again.

From the perspective of my son the film is brilliance itself. The plot takes no effort to follow as it is so slim and nonsensical, there are no complicated adult emotions to deal with (booing at Ben Kingsley is a family bonding moment), the sets are bright and colourful and best of all it has those wonderful flying machines of International Rescue; The THUNDERBIRDS!

The film does have modern remakes of the machines and I like them. There is not enough of them in the movie but what there is I love.

Love, love, love.

Early on there is a scene set outside a hospital:


[SCENE: Outside a hospital a mother and her teenage son (with a saucepan firmly stuck on his head) are approaching the entrance and a huge down draft starts blowing everything around. There are flashing lights and whooshing. The mother looks up.]

Mother: (screams) Aliens!

Saucepanhead: (excited out his tiny tree) Even better! It's the Thunderbirds!

Even better, it's the Thunderbirds.

Whatever the film's faults, which are many, it does have Thunderbirds in it and that should be enough.

Also I really, really like the animated intro to the film and hope to see similar styling in the rumoured animated TV remake.







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