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3.9 out of 5 stars
155
3.9 out of 5 stars
Thunderbirds [DVD] [2004]
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on 13 January 2016
DECENT FILM. THE INTERNATIONAL RESCUE PLANES ARE A BIT NAFF THOU - ESPECIALLY THUNDERBIRD 2. LADY PENELOPY'S PINK ROLLS ROYCE IS NOW A FORD. NAH.! NOT AS GOOD AS THE ORIGINAL. PARKER THE BUTLER.! I PREFURE THE PUPPET FROM THE 1960s THERE'S MORE LIFE IN HIM.! AND AS USUAL NOBODY IS SWIMMING IN THE POOL OR SUNBATHING UNDER THAT TREE WHEN THE SPACECRAFTS COME OUT TO SAVE THE WORLD.?
HARTY FARTY PLOT. BUT WORTH ADDING TO YOUR MOVIE COLLECTION.!
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on 18 July 2017
Amazing DVD nothing wrong with it at all
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on 27 December 2008
I had dreaded watching this, especially after all the really bad reviews, but found that I couldn't resist any more.

I hope that you will excuse me while I give you some background.

In 1965 a genious called Gerry Anderson began production on a children's show called Thunderbirds - THUNDERBIRDS - Complete collection of 32 episodes incl extras - dig. remastered - 8 disc DVD Box set. Over the two years 32 episodes were made - 26 episodes in 1965 and 6 in 1966 - before production politics interferred and Mr Anderson decided to stop production of the show. Forty plus years later the puppet series is cult amongst adults, and popular with the young again.

In 2004 this Thunderbirds film was released. I'll be honest - I can live with an Americanised Tracey family, even though they were originally American there was still something very British about the way they interacted. With all the American money involved, I wouldn't have expected anything else.

Unfortunately the film makers (according to Director Jonathan Frakes's commentary and interviews in related articles and books) changed the script the day before filming started from the kidnapping and rescue of one of the Tracy boys to the current story. It would have had a more mature Alan Tracy rather than stroppy teenager. A second version of the script would have seen the Tracy family trying to recover important items of national security (sort of like Spy Kids [2001]). All alternative version were abandoned for this one, unfortunately.

At the start of the film we see a daydreaming Alan Tracy (Brady Corbet) wishing he was a member of the Thunderbirds, aka International Rescue, over the next 5 or so minutes it is established that he is the youngest son of Thunderbirds leader Jeff Tracy (Bill Paxton). Jeff Tracy has 5 sons, each one is named after an astronaut from Mercury Seven, Scott Glenn(Philip Winchester), John Carpenter (Lex Shrapnel), Virgil Grissom (Dominic Colenso), Gordon Cooper (Ben Torgersen) and Alan.

The main thing that ticked me off was the replacement of Lady Penelope's iconic pink Rolls Royce for a naff Ford bubble car, that turns into a plane and a boat - at least the director admits it was nothing more than product placement. Lady Penelope is played by Sophia Myles and Parker by Ron Cook.

Brains (Anthony Edwards) has gained a son called Fermat (Soren Fulton) who is about the same age as Alan Tracy.

The eternal enemy of the Thunderbirds, The Hood (Sir Ben Kingsley) is kept on as the enemy of choice for the film, thankfully. However, Tintin played by Vanessa Hudgens of High School Musical (Encore Edition) [2006] fame (who I found the most annoying child of the entire film) has inherited some of her Uncles special powers.

One I stopped looking at the film as Thunderbirds, and started looking at it as an American adventure film, I really enjoyed it. I do the same with the Geraldine McEwan versions of the Miss Marple stories - I try to forget that they are supposed to be Agatha Christies Jane Marple and think of them as the old lady investigates.

It has some good young actors playing the Tracy boys, in fact I believe that the entire film was let down by the wholesale changes that were made to the script.

Tracy Island was a wonder to behold and TB1, TB2, TB3, TB4 and TB5 were great representations of the machines which I had grown up with. For that I thank Mr Frakes. It is a shame that such considerations were not made for the script or for FAB1.

On the good side this was apparently meant to be a vehicle for the Baldwin brothers - thank goodness that idea fell by the wayside.

It is a great shame that this film was not handled better, but it is still a good piece of switch off the brain, sit back and enjoy entertainment. There are a good number of extras, many about the TB vehicles and far too short with the actors who played the characters in tiny little boxes. There are a number of short featurettes about Lady P but not a single one about the Tracy family. No outtakes, and no cast commentary.
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HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERon 15 November 2005
I've always thought that most huge box-office flops usually have something to recommend them, but after the remake of Around the World in 80 Days and Thunderbirds, I'm beginning to doubt it. For those not familiar, it's based on a puppet show about a family of astronauts who use state of the art rockets, spaceships and subs to rescue people from various disasters (falling bridges, stricken planes, burning buildings, etc) each week. Well, the puppets are gone (replaced by far more lifeless teenagers), and so is the premise - only one ineptly staged rescue and a plot shamelessly ripped off from Spy Kids without any signs of imagination, wit or entertainment. Young Alan Tracey feels left out of all the rescuing we never see the other Traceys do because dad won't let him play with a real rocket until he passes his exams. Grounded on a beautiful tropical island (some punishment!), his chance to shine comes when the rest of the family - a bunch of identikit bleach-blondes who look like a gay neo-Nazi boy band without a single bit of characterisation between them - are stranded in space and he has to have the day by, er, running around the jungle, making a phone call, firing a hose at the inept comedy relief villains and dousing them in gunk for bad measure.

The good points are few and far between. One of them is that the film is mostly in focus. The other is they all got to go to the Seychelles, which looks nice.

The bad points: where to start? Ben Kingsley's career lowpoint performance? The aforementioned inept comedy relief sidekicks who would disgrace the Children's Film Foundation at its worst? The almost complete lack of action or effects in a $70m sci-fi film? The terrible script, the lifeless direction, the odious moralising? But most of all is the fact that the film is so patronising in every possible way. Forget the life lessons and off the peg sentiment, this is a movie aimed straight at the under-eights by people who know they're making a kid's movie and are constantly talking down to their intended audience, throwing in fifth-rate jokes and routines that would insult most children who had only recently mastered the art of speech. This film could replace being sent to bed early without their dinner as parents' favourite punishment for kids.

At one time the biggest flop in British film history (it didn't even cover the cost of prints and marketing), it's just about watchable if only as an object lesson in how NOT to make a summer movie.
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on 6 January 2009
This is an outstanding set that as a fan of the (Thunderbirds) series I knew I couldn't be without.

It includes:

- Thunderbird One - the silver and blue rocket, which has a firing nose cone (pressed the button on the top to fire it).

- Thunderbird Two - the colossal green workhorse of the Thunderbirds machines, which carries all of the equipment that International Rescue may require for rescues. Press a hidden button on the top of his model and the yellow rescue platform is lowered from the underneath of this Thunderbird.

- Thunderbird Three - the red space rocket, used to take resources to the space station.

- Thunderbird Four - the yellow mini sub.

- Thunderbird Five - the wonderful space station that is the eyes and ears of International Rescue. This space station has docking facilities for Thunderbird Three (a docking platform on TB5 slots into the side of TB3).

These models were made by the company Bandai in China. This was one of the companies which, in 2008, was forced to withdraw toys from the shop shelves after it was discovered that there were high levels of poisons in the paints and other colourings that they had used.

There is also a "special Tracy Island map" - which is a massive let down. It is simply a piece of green with lines drawn on it. Sadly lacking in any detail, or images of the buildings or photographs of the vehicles or Tracy family, this could have been so much more.

At least the makers of this box set resisted the urge to include that monstrosity that replaced Lady Penelope's iconic pink Rolls Royce.

I bought one when the film was first released, well about 9 months after the release when it was in the sales, mainly for the models.

Please note that the box itself is flimsy and prone to bending and creasing, so extra care needs to be taken when handling it.

The dvd is the same as usual, and includes the same stickers sheets, the same picture wheel, the same leaflet and the same film and extras.
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on 26 February 2011
Having loved the original series from my childhood (and owning the DVD's now) I was excited when news broke of a live action Thunderbirds film. I also count myself as a kean Star Trek fan and was pleased to see Jonathan Frakes as the producer (Riker from ST Next Generation) and thought that despite being American (where the original series wasn't a success) he maybe the right man to modernise and introuduce Thunderbirds to a new generation.

What we got was a poorly explained, childish and silly mockery of the original series. Major characters from the series take some what more of a back seat in the film..and there is so much chopping and changing that goes on it takes a knowledgable Thunderbirds fan a good while to figure out who is who?...leaving the newcomers no hope of knowing what is going on..or the initial story behind Thunderbirds. This leads me to believe that the film is definatley intended for fans of the original series as you are thrown head first into a plot that dosen't explain itself or any of the main characters. The film also provides no real explanation of who International Rescue are...and major series characters such as Scott, Virgil, Gordon and John Tracy play such a small and insignificant role each character has no more than 2 to 8 lines in the entire film. Also some characters are not even spoken about...they just appear as a Tracy brother..so its guess work who is who at times.

The original series creator Gerry Anderson said in an interview after he saw it "that was the biggest load of crap I have ever seen" and I think that is a compliment to what I would of said it was quite possibly the most traumatising thing I have watched in my life time. A pure insult to the Thunderbirds legacy. It really takes the original series and rips it apart limb by limb, stamps up and down on it and leaves it in bits. If you loved the original series as a youngster..all this film will do is anger and confuse you. The original series although viewed as a childrens programme was very much picked up on by adults. However this is a very childish and silly approach to the Thunderbirds world..a very plastic, Americanized and prissy version..Imagine...Spy Kids...with a side order of rocket ships and planes, thats what this film is. It literally pays no respect to the original magic of Thunderbirds...something that made the series so special and unique to millions of people. The front cover of the DVD says it all...the three kids on the front (Alan, Tin Tin and Fermatt)..when the original series boxes drew you in as it included the Thunderbirds pilots stood there in there uniforms.

To try and explain all the silly changes would take far too long..and this review would bore you as much as the film does. For those of you who count yourselves as avid Thunderbirds fans..then I will explain a few differences to you.

*Jeff Tracy (now pilots Thunderbird 2 as opposed to never being involved in a rescue like in the series)
*Virgil Tracy (now pilots Thunderbird 3 as opposed to Thunderbird 2 in the series)
Alan Tracy (now a public schoolboy who isn't a member of International Rescue as opposed to Thunderbird 3 pilot in the series)
*FAB 1 Lady Penelope's Car (Now a Ford, not a Rolls-Royce...and now flys)
*Brains (now has an irritating stuttering son called Fermatt..who isn't a character in the series)
*Tin-Tin (Now a teenage school girl..as opposed to a grown young women and IR member in the series)
*The Hood (can now levetate and performe "Matrix" style moves...eyes also glow red...unlike yellow in the series)

There are PLENTY MORE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Some may think I am nit picking..but if you are a series fan this is a massive insult..if you are not a series fan then this is just another poorly made rubbish kids film.
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on 1 December 2004
This is a great fun kids movie - I liked the original Thunderbirds and was expecting to be disappointed but wasnt. My children (6 + 7) really enjoyed it and so did I - we went to see it twice! It's sort-of based on the original Thunderbirds but if you're expecting a continuation of the traditional Thunderbirds universe you'll be let down - it's the Thunderbirds concept reinvented for a modern kids audience and it's much better for it.
The techno gadgets are there and given a new look, but the film isn't fixated on them. Instead it concentrates on the usual grown-ups-in-jeopardy-saved-by-precocious-kids theme that thas served so many kids films well in the past.
It's not going to (and didnt) please middle-aged Thunderbirds obsessives, but then anything that would please them would bore kids to death nowadays. After all, Thunderbirds was for kids, wasn't it? Hmm? Yes? You know it's true really...
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on 4 April 2006
Back in 1999 with the release of Star Wars - The Phantom Menace, some fanboy reviewer proclaimed; "George Lucas has ruined my childhood!" I wanted to slap the silly clown for reinforcing the stereotype that Science Fiction fans were snobbish nerds, obsessed with their entertainment. And although Phantom Menace was a rather mediocre film, it did NOT deserve that kind of vitriol.
Gerry & Sylvia Anderson created several classic shows, but it is Thunderbirds that commands the most respect and love. It is a testimony to the quality of the 40-year old young-adult's show that Thunderbirds is still quite watchable today. What made the 1960s show work? (NOTE: the word ICONIC is about to be used a lot): The stories, the technology, the optimistic and lovable characters, the humour and the absolutely iconic vehicles make for an irresistible package, loved by hundreds of millions.
WHAT'S GOOD: Say what you like about Director Jonathan Frakes, at least his film isn't boring. The cinematography is bright and pleasing. The sets are a satisfying blend of retro and modern, combined with bright primary colours. Tracy Island itself is beautiful, truly a paradise you'd want to live on. The visual effects are impressive. Then again, in this day in age there's no excuse for bad effects in a big budget picture. The re-design of the iconic Thunderbirds machines are, for the most part, pleasing. However, the new Thunderbird 2 looks like a flying saucer with a pointy nose. Sorry guys, you changed that icon WAY too much. But I didn't mind the new FAB 1, flying or not.
Because Rolls Royce/BMW refused to be associated with a "kids film", they missed a valuable product placement opportunity. More fool them, as the new FAB 1 toys have all sold out in England and Europe.
Sophia Myles is the new Lady Penelope and I'd say that a new star is born. Of all the actors in this movie, she is the one who comes off best and the character of Penelope survives the transition to live action reasonably well. Myles is drop dead gorgeous and all those other clichés. Every time she appeared, she quite literally lit up the screen, Watch out for this young lady, she's going places!!
Veteran British character actor Ron Cook is an adequate Parker, though the script supplies him with few really character defining moments. The old marionette Parker was a splendid cockney stereotype that nonetheless, could be relied on when the going got tough.
WHAT'S BAD: I believe "The Suits" really got a hold of this potential franchise and dumbed it down to nearly "Scooby-Doo" levels. The script's lack of plot and style has set near record levels of puerility and mediocrity. It's NO boast to say that I could have done better myself. This film comes off like a illegitimate brother of the Spy Kids movies. I also watched with a sinking feeling as a cynical, second-rate rip-off of Harry Potter's Ron, Harry and Hermione trio was perpetrated in the form of Alan Tracy, Tintin and the totally unnecessary Fermat character.
There is also the destruction of one of Thunderbirds most beloved and iconic characters; Brains. Anthony Edward's depiction is a cruel parody of our beloved geeky scientist, who in spite of his odd puppet caricature, stammer and thick glasses always had a charming dignity to him. But the movie-style Brains has the worst possible hairstyle and his speech impediment, never excessive in the puppet series, is exaggerated in an attempt to get cheap laughs. But I blame the script more than I do the actor. The live action "Brains Hackenbacker" has no dignity at all.
Genre veteran Bill Paxton is the patriarchal action man, Jeff Tracy. During one of the films few high points he utters lines that almost manage to save the spirit of this Thunderbirds film. He sternly says to Alan Tracy that there are no shortcuts to achievement in life and that saving people is what International Rescue does, no matter what. Alan is played by Brady Corbet, who has an unfortunate tendency to stare open-mouthed when not delivering lines. Ben Kingsley as the Hood tries hard but lacks the arch-villain factor. His motivations in the film are a snooze: He blames Jeff Tracy for his old injuries (yawn) and wants to use the Thunderbirds to rob the Bank of England's vaults (yawn again!).
The Hoods two main henchmen are badly written characters that manage to bungle nearly everything they do. They give no sense of menace or villainous competence at all. Am I missing the point? Are they supposed to be incompetent so three young kids, Ron, Hermio- er, I mean Fermat, Tintin and Alan can defeat them? No, plainly they suck. There's even homage to Harry Potter's Quidditch matches with a chase scene where Alan Tracy evades the baddies. Other things of note: The words: "Thunderbirds created by Gerry Anderson" does NOT appear in the opening credits, which are a cringe-worthy set of images with an annoying voiceover.
There are several reasons for this, chief of which is Gerry Anderson's backing out at the last moment of any kind of endorsement of the project. And one of the film's worst failings is an abominable techno-backed version of the Thunderbirds overture. The original music, though a bit cheesy is dramatic, melodic and absolutely iconic. Hans Zimmer's music gives no sense of drama or majesty to this movie. None at all.
There's always the possibility of an unwelcome remake that lurks unseen like a menacing shark, out in the dark waters of our pop culture. And we Thunderbirds fans could sense that predator out there; just waiting for the right moment to strike. Too dramatic? Perhaps. But at least Jonathan Frakes didn't ruin my childhood.
Thunderbirds: The Movie was not a disappointment, because THAT would imply we didn't KNOW disappointment was coming.
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on 19 November 2009
It speaks volumes in our fast-moving world that the original Thunderbirds television series still looks futuristic after nearly 45 years.

Against that, this Americanised live-action version is already looking a little dated after only five.

Of course, maybe the buyer of this DVD doesn't care about some ancient history and just wants to know if this film is worth getting.

Fans of the television series will know that what mattered was the saving of people in danger ("We're gonna die, Joe! we're gonna die!" "NO! Here come International Rescue") and the procedures to launch each of the Thunderbird craft, especially numbers 1 and 2.

Neither of these elements features in the film - a monorail crashes into the Thames and we experience hardly a creak nor a twang (cf National Theatre of Brent) from the perspective of those trapped. The launches are perfunctory affairs.

Instead, we find that the baddies are led by a sleepwalking Ben Kingsley as a decidedly non-Oriental Hood and, in a shameless display of ignorant sexism, Rose Keegan (Transom) is introduced rear-end-first as "foxy" (supposed to be good) but it is then revealed she has "bad teeth" (I quote - "eeuw") (which is supposed to be the reaction). Why does she try to get it on with Brains? Why should we care?

On the one hand, the Tracy brothers look a bit like a toothpaste advert (even Alan is wearing a brace) but on the other they are irredeemably scruffy. Even the International Rescue uniform has become a kind of grey overalls...

And the focus of the action is Tracy Island.

In fact, this film's central character could be Bill or Ted but is actually Alan Tracy, who is involved in a chase caper across Tracy Island. Inexplicably, Brains has a son called Fermat and Tintin is said to be "blossoming" - yuk!

Lady Penelope (Sophia Myles) is a successful Emma Peel-type take on the role. Parker (Ron Cook) (he played Chivery in 2008's "Little Dorrit") is quite good but isn't really given the lines to develop a character.

There are several good extras about the making of the film though they are hard to access through a menu.

The product placement is completely crass. Fords abound everywhere, and even FAB 1 (which everyone knows is a pink Rolls-Royce) is based on a heavily-modified American Ford Thunderbird, apparently.

Overall, I see these CGI workers in garret rooms working hard on the film in the extras, I see Tracy Island, I even note that each Tracy brother has a flash of a different colour on his overalls, I note that they have filmed opposite the Houses of Parliament and in the Seychelles, I note that they even closed Tower Bridge to fly through it in real life, and I wonder how come the end result is not miles better!

Just goes to show that pots of money are no substitute for true invention - like V for Vendetta's creator Alan Moore, the ghost at this feast who is not credited is Gerry Anderson...
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on 11 September 2010
One serious question "Did the writers even the watch the original Thunderbirds series?!!" I mean, many adaptation of television series are not the most faithful like Inspector Gadget, The Flintstones and Mr. Magoo but this, this was just awful. For any strong Thunderbirds/Gerry Anderson follower, you will feel slapped in the face.

The film was almost simply aimed at pre/early-teens. The characters seemed ridiculously young for their parts. Nearly all the characters in the original series were adults but here, I am sure that Lady Penelope was played by a 12-year-old. The CGI was a mess. The space background looked low budget and the rockets itshelves has lost a lot of its uniqueness. The plot, I am not even going there!

This is nonsence. If you are fan, then avoid at all costs. Instead, get the original puppets films from the 60s. This will only infuriate you.
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