Thunderbirds (PG)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner19/07/2004

One out of Five stars
Running time: 100 mins

Thunderbirds are GO-ing straight to video if there’s any justice. This is a flat out disaster and is nothing short of a betrayal of the original series – it’s badly acted, poorly written and completely lacking in wit, tension, or excitement.

On paper, Thunderbirds looked as if it could be something special, even if the teaser posters did look a bit like the top view of The Hulk’s balding head. After all, it’s directed by Jonathan Frakes, who ought to know a thing or two about the cinematic possibilities of spaceships after all that time spent in front of and behind the cameras on Star Trek:TNG. The casting seemed perfect too, but somewhere along the line, someone forgot to put together a decent script and the result is an unmitigated disaster.

Excruciatingly Bad Plot

It’s ironic that the film’s twin tag-lines perfectly encompass everything that’s wrong with the film: “The World’s Greatest Organisation are in serious trouble…Prepare for the new generation.” Yes, that’s right, it’s Thunderbirds Junior.

Newcomer Brady Corbett plays Alan Tracy, a schoolkid whose father (Bill Paxton) and four elder brothers (played by nobody you’ve ever seen before) form the top secret organization International Rescue. Constantly whining, “Oh Dad, pleeeease let me be a Thunderbird”, Alan and his friends Fermat (Soren Fulton) and Tin-Tin (Vanessa Anne Hudgens) finally get their chance when their arch nemesis The Hood (Ben Kingsley) strands his entire family on a space station and takes over Tracy Island.

The plot is excruciatingly bad, particularly as the Tracy clan spend almost the entire film stranded in space. Imagine if The Addams Family had only been about Thing, or if The Brady Bunch Movie had only been about Alice, the housekeeper - that’s what this feels like. On top of that, it commits the ultimate sin of having effing kids flying effing spaceships and it’s fair to say we’d all had quite enough of that after The Phantom effing Menace, thank you very much.

Film Completely Lifeless

There's just no life in the film at all - the script is dull, the characters are boring and even Ben Kingsley turns in a decidedly lacklustre performance. Notable exceptions are Sophia Myles, who tries her best as Lady Penelope and Ron Cook as Parker but they’re not enough to save the film.

In addition, some of the scenes are really badly directed and the film is completely lacking in tension or excitement. About the nicest thing you can say about the movie is that the colours are pretty.

There’s only one remotely good bit, which is also the only laugh in the entire film – a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment when The Hood uses mind-control over Brains (a wasted Anthony Edwards) so he that he walks like a puppet.

In fact, the entire film would have been better if they had ALL walked like puppets - the film-makers should have scrapped the script and gone for a Starsky and Hutch-like affectionate spoof approach instead. As it is, this is easily one of the worst films of the year. Take the kids to see Spider-Man 2 again instead.

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Thunderbirds (PG)
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Content updated: 23/09/2018 13:21

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