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Thunderbirds: The Complete Collection [Blu-ray]
Thunderbirds: The Complete Collection [Blu-ray]
Dvd ~ Alan Patillo
Price: £27.00

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thunderbirds Are Go On Blu Ray, 2 July 2012
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In the 1960s, the Supermarionation shows produced by Gerry Anderson and co proved hugely popular with viewers around the world, and it's a testament to their brilliance that they have enjoyed equally successful revivals many years later. The cream of the crop is 'Thunderbirds', the epic adventure series depicting the adventures of International Rescue and their fantastic Thunderbird vehicles, manned by brothers Scott, Virgil, Alan, Gordon and John Tracy, with technical wizardry by bespectacled genius 'Brains', and additional help from field agents Lady Penelope and Parker. Each of the 32 episodes feels like a movie in itself, having a scale of ambition that would put Hollywood to shame, and whilst it's easy to make jokes about the puppet characters that populate the show, the artistry behind it has to be praised - particularly in terms of the special effects and model work which brings the Thunderbirds and their world to life.

It has to be said, 'Thunderbirds' looks and sounds extremely good in HD - picture quality is excellent, and although the additional detail gained from HD sometimes shows up the limitations of the puppets and models, that's a minor concern when the show looks as good as this. It's worth bearing in mind that the episodes are presented in 16:9 format (widescreen), and so have been cropped from the original 4:3, which has undoubtedly made some purists unhappy. Some of the criticisms of this decision that I've seen aren't particularly helpful, especially when using very strong terms like 'butchered' - it's nothing of the sort. I'm not generally in favour of cropping, however from some of the comments one would get the impression that this was done with no regard for the framing of the show, which is absolutely not the case as far as I can see. It's been done on a shot-by-shot basis, and very sympathetically to the original material too, so much so that I have no complaints in that department. Whether it should have been done is a matter for some debate - the 16:9 masters are presumably intended for broadcast sale also, where it wouldn't necessarily be appropriate to have a 4:3 image framed with black bars on either side - but it's really not an issue when it's done so well, and in places, the widescreen format actually suits the material, making one wonder if there was ever any consideration towards making the series 'safe' for such a presentation back in the day. Sound purists may also take issue with the 5.1 mix, but there's also a stereo one available.

Extras-wise, if you have previous UK DVD versions of the series, the bonus material remains much the same, although for this set there's the addition of the very good 'All About Thunderbirds' documentary that originally aired on BBC Four. But it's the episodes themselves which are the real selling point for this set, and put simply, 'Thunderbirds' has never looked this good before. For the right price, I wouldn't hesitate in recommending this set.

Doctor Who: The Eternity Clock (PS3)
Doctor Who: The Eternity Clock (PS3)

1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Doctor's Playstation Debut, 27 May 2012
'Doctor Who' hasn't traditionally had a lot of luck breaking into the video game market - there have been several attempts down the years, but they've tended to fall short of expectations, either down to being poorly designed or just not providing the kind of gameplay fans of the show might have hoped for. 'The Eternity Clock' makes efforts to address this, by featuring a storyline which spans several different time zones and settings, classic monsters the Daleks, Cybermen, Silurians, plus relative newcomers the Silence, and most importantly, allows gamers to play as the Doctor or his fellow traveller River Song.

The game itself as a '3D platformer' - whilst the playable characters move on a single plane, their surroundings and adversaries are rendered in 3D. Because the Doctor doesn't do violence, the gameplay is largely focused on finding your way around the environments you find yourself in, solving puzzles and avoiding monsters. You're aided in this by the Doctor's trusty Sonic Screwdriver, which can be used for scanning items, opening doors and so on. River has her blaster (not to mention her hallucinogenic lipstick, always handy for that last-minute prison break), though really the key to succeeding with the game is moving quickly and working out your way around the obstacles that confront you. It can be occasionally frustrating when it isn't immediately obvious what you're meant to do, but as the game progresses and you start to get a feel for it, these things start to come naturally. As you progress through the game, there are levels where you'll play as the Doctor, and others where you'll play as River - and some where you'll work together, either with the second player as an AI accomplice, or if there are two of you, you can play co-op. As you progress through the game, there are collectibles - not only the obligatory trophies, but the Doctor's hats and pages from River's diary (which provide various nods to the show's past for long-term fans) - which provide an interesting little sideline. Once I got the hang of it, I found the gameplay generally very good. It's helped by the game feeling true to the spirit of the TV series - Matt Smith and Alex Kingston lend their voices to their digital counterparts, and also did motion capture work, so the Doctor retains the essence of Matt Smith's mannerisms and movement. Curiously, the monsters don't seem to sound exactly like their TV equivalents, but they sound fine enough, so no complaints there. The music does, though, with TV composer Murray Gold's familiar themes heard throughout.

There are problems, though - a few glitches here and there (the most notable one I've found with dialogue playback for the Doctor and River lagging considerably behind where it should be in places), a lack of guidance in some parts of the game where it would have been appreciated, and a lack of clearly defined checkpoints which mean you sometimes have to go some way back through a level and replay large sections again if you get yourself killed / caught. But I wouldn't say that any of those issues (the glitches, particularly, which will presumably be fixed) detract substantially from the fact that this is a very enjoyable game. The price point should be an indicator that this won't be pitched at quite the same level as a 'flagship' PS3 title, but given the presumed constraints of time and budget that Supermassive Games and BBC Worldwide will have been working to, they've got a lot to be proud of. I've certainly found it worth the wait.

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