Monday, August 31, 2015

Thunderbirds are No Go

I don't think I had heard about the Thunderbirds (2004) live-action movie, until it popped up in recommendations. Does everyone remember the Thunderbirds TV show from the 60s? One of Gerry Anderson's "Supermarionation" shows - kids' adventure acted out with marionettes. I watched Thunderbirds, Fireball XL5 and Stingray: rescue, space and undersea adventures, respectively. The stories were pretty good as I remember, although the goofy puppets were pretty cheesy.

The movie featured Bill Paxton as father of a team of rescue specialists who live on a secret tropical island base. The youngest son can't go on missions yet, until the evil Hood (he doesn't wear a hood, but he is played by Ben Kingsley) invades the island and captures everyone else. It takes Sophia Myles as pink-obsessed Lady Penelope and her Michal-Cainesque chauffeur (Ron Cook) to save the day.

The kid was a major problem. He has a boy genius and cute girl helping out, and all that's missing is a monkey companion. The action wasn't much either.

Of course, the island looked great - a classy mid-century modern tropical setup. Lady Penelope is great as well. If the rest of the movie was as good as her, I would have been happy.

Jonathan Frakes directed. I've enjoyed some of the TV he has directed, but this was his first feature. He is pretty sure it will be his last.

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