With a new series of Thunderbirds in the offing and after looking at the Japanese cartoon series, Thunderbirds 2086, it’s time to consider the film ‘Thunderbirds’, released in 2004.
We’re all aware that it’s about as popular as a fart in a spacesuit with Anderson fans, indeed Gerry himself refused some easy cash by turning down an invite to the premier and endorsing it. Has it got any better with age? As a Saturday morning kids matinee is might have held it’s own, but call it a Thunderbirds remake and suddenly you’re in a danger zone!
The simple philosophy behind Thunderbirds is the fact that International Rescue will use anything at it’s disposal no matter what the cost to save lives - that might be a hundred or just a single one - it’s fairly straight forward - the hard bit is getting that philosophy across in an entertaining way.
Did the film do that? Well it did to some extent, however seeing how the crux of the story is having four of the Tracy brothers along with Dad Tracy being rescued by younger brother Alan, Kyrano’s young daughter Tin Tin and Brains' son, Fermat is taking that Tracy family nepotism a bit far .
I can see why the writers went down this road - get rid of the boring adults and the kids can play . I imagine it was also handy to have Lady P and Parker helping out. Lady Penelope is the decorative ‘older sister’ type and Parker can provide the laughs!
Actually I quite liked the characters of Lady Penelope and Parker - maybe it’s because they actually had some character.
The CGI special effects were a definite no-no for me. With the odd exception I’m not that keen on computer generated imagery at the best of times and considering the original series was a ground breaker for special effects you’d think the makers would have built on this.
One little effect that did raise a nostalgic smile was the point in the film when Alan and Fermat are about to launch Thunderbird 1 in pursuit of the Hood. Both their arms reach for the launch levers. For a split second we see a puppet hand complete with strings operating the controls.
The Hood is suitably insidious, with a back story providing a motive for his nastiness.
There’s even a chance for pod vehicles to shine - a redesigned Firefly and Mole!
I’m sure a lot of youngsters found this film a hoot and rushed out to buy up all the merchandise associated with it. It might have even guided them in the direction of the original series providing another generation of fans. I do hope so.
Let's hope we're all still smiling after we've all seen the remake!