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:: Thunderbirds

With a film this bad, it is difficult to decide whether to list everything that went wrong, or just say it sucked and leave it at that. I will take a middle road.

This is a very bad film. It is not recommended for anyone. I have some fond memories of “Thunderbirds” from my childhood, as do many people. Potentially, this film could have at least been decent. As well as the Thunderbirds, I have fond memories of director Jonathan Frakes from his years as Riker on “Star Trek: The Next Generation”. Bill Paxton was great in another sci-fi themed film, as the unbalanced Private Hudson in “Aliens”. Sadly, all these fond memories were at least a decade old, and Thunderbirds the film does its best to destroy them all by association.

There are a couple of decent points – the computer animation of the vehicles was well done, and the rescue at the start is decent enough. This is a badly flawed film, however, and of its many faults, there are three particularly significant ones.

Firstly, the film is shot as live action, rather than with puppets. This is not necessarily a fatal blow to the film, but unfortunately the cast seemed to take this as their cue to delivery corny and terrible dialogue in a mostly painful and unbelievable manner. Secondly, in a film ostensively about the Thunderbirds, the team barely features at all, spending most of the film trapped in space while assorted brats are chased around Tracey Island by The Hood (Ben Kingsley, slumming it as a ridiculous villain with psychic powers). Thirdly, although this it is designed as a child’s film, it is just silly and patronising in many points. Children’s films do not have to be this way, as Shrek, Finding Nemo and others have shown.

Hollywood recycling old TV series is nothing new at this point, but it didn’t have to be anywhere near this bad. “Charlies Angels”, for example, was a lot of fun, and in more recent times “Starsky and Hutch” was an enjoyable enough time killer. Thunderbirds, however, is just woeful. Not recommended under any circumstances.