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Overall Rating
2.63

Awesome: 14.29%
Worth A Look: 10.71%
Just Average: 23.21%
Pretty Crappy26.79%
Sucks: 25%

3 reviews, 38 user ratings


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Thunderbirds
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by EricDSnider

"Let the puns begin: Blunder-birds. Thunder-turds. And so on."
2 stars

I never saw the original "Thunderbirds" TV series, so I don't know: Was it boring and stupid? Because if it was, then the movie captures it perfectly!

Fans of the show enjoyed its odd, marionette-based acting and what I assume were pleasantly cheesy special effects. The film, directed by Jonathan Frakes ("Clockstoppers," "Star Trek: Insurrection"), uses real actors instead of puppets and has fairly modern special effects -- though to be fair, many of the actors do seem rather wooden, so perhaps Frakes adhered more closely to the original formula than it first appears.

The Thunderbirds are a team of daring rescuers who fly around the world in their fancy jets whenever there's trouble. I do not know whether they are supported by the U.N., but they are certainly international in their scope. No one knows who the individual members of the Thunderbird team are, nor where they operate from.

Turns out they live on an island, and they're the Tracy family, consisting of father Jeff (Bill Paxton) and five sons. (Mom died in an avalanche or something. Dad's still a little broken up about it.) Alas, there are only five magical Thunderbirds flying vehicles, so the youngest son -- teenage Alan (Brady Corbet) -- has to go to school and watch the TV news jealously as his dad and brothers perform acts of heroics.

The Tracys are aided in their missions by the lovely Lady Penelope (Sophia Myles) and her feckless valet Parker (Ron Cook), both of whom are British, which comes in handy anytime tea is needed, I guess. Also living on the island, for some reason, is a Polynesian family that includes a daughter named Tintin (Vanessa Anne Hudgens); also there is a scientist named Brains (Anthony Edwards) and his son, Fermat (Soren Fulton), who is Alan's age and is very nerdy. No doubt he was named after Pierre de Fermat, the 17th-century French mathematician. Of course, his name was pronounced "Fair-MAH," and the kid's is "FUR-matt," but you can't have everything.

There's a bad guy with dull intentions (he wants to rob banks) named The Hood (Ben Kingsley) who wears mascara and minces like a rejected James Bond villain. He locates Tracy Island and tricks everyone into going into space to help out one of the Tracy boys, leaving all the Thunderbird technology and spare planes at his disposal. Of course, he is unaware that there is a fifth Tracy boy, Alan, who is still on the island with Fermat and Tintin. It falls upon them to rip off the plot of "Spy Kids," thwart the evil The Hood, and save the banks from being robbed by him. Yawn.

Now, if I wanted to see a "Thunderbirds" movie -- and I didn't, but if I did -- I would probably want it to focus on, I don't know, maybe THE THUNDERBIRDS. I wouldn't want to see all of the Thunderbirds incapacitated for most of the film while their little brother scampers around an island with his two dorky friends trying to stop a fey bank robber. This would not be satisfactory to me as a "Thunderbirds" fan.

So fans of the old show won't like it, though they will probably enjoy the cool opening credits and nifty retro production design. So who will like the movie? Well, it's aimed at kids -- what with the PG rating and the crotch-kick jokes and the simple-minded plot -- and maybe they'll dig it. Who knows with kids? They like some crappy stuff sometimes.

It is sad to see someone as dignified and well-respected as Ben Kingsley doing this sort of demeaning work. It's like watching Julie Andrews snort cocaine off Adam Sandler's ass.

The Hood has a henchperson named Transom (Rose Keegan) who has huge horse teeth, which makes her ugly. This is an example of Hollywood's double standards: She has enormous teeth and it's supposed to be funny, but when Julia Roberts has the same enormous teeth, it's supposed to be beautiful. Make up your mind, Hollywood.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=9178&reviewer=247
originally posted: 07/30/04 05:06:09
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Tribeca Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Tribeca Film Festival series, click here.
TV to Screen: For more in the TV to Screen series, click here.

User Comments

9/19/12 Mike Miller Took me back to my days watching the show as a kid. 4 stars
5/05/10 Mr. big penis I typed in Piere De Fermat in advance search along w/ cool,awesome,sweet,and ass.Here I am 1 stars
12/20/09 art ONLY FOR NINE YEAR OLD"S! 1 stars
11/03/08 PAUL SHORTT GOOD-LOOKING SCI-FI ADVENTURE FOR KIDS 3 stars
3/21/08 Pamela White better as puppets 3 stars
5/16/07 Charles Tatum Disposable fluff...kids will love it 2 stars
4/18/07 Stevo UK Oh yes, darling, us English are very snobbish arne't we? Complete Bullshit. 1 stars
8/20/05 Luke Blackadder Better than Spy kids 5 stars
8/18/05 ES Thunder, thunder, thunderbirds- blow! 1 stars
6/05/05 Mark Radburn What is wronng with you people, This movie kicks ass 5 stars
1/14/05 Hawkeye Pierce not as good as the original series (not even close) yet Riker (suprisingly) did a good job 3 stars
12/09/04 Kristina Williams unbearably bad 1 stars
11/20/04 Mark Not as good as the old series of ThunderBirds but still a great movie Thunderbirds rule 3 stars
10/19/04 croweater888 Spy Kids 4 was just great..Oh..sorry thats not what its called? 2 stars
9/18/04 Lindsay Tannock Why did they make it a kids movie? Should have been called "Carry on Thunderbirds" 3 stars
9/15/04 VTOL Those Tracy boys are DAMN fine! Especially Dom Colenso. I loved the original, loved this! 5 stars
9/10/04 alien assassin Ignore this nonsense and check out the original series on DVD !!! 2 stars
9/02/04 Trudy Generate Gandhi turned mega-heist mastermind -- Pretty spooky! 3 stars
9/02/04 Tiffany Faye Hawthorne Better than usual entry in kids rescue besieged parents subgenre. SpyKids eatyour heart out 4 stars
8/03/04 Kate Connor I loved Thunderbirds as a kid/this was fun and entertaining. 4 stars
8/02/04 Woody My son, a Thunderbirds fan, had lots of fun! 4 stars
8/01/04 Chopper3 I watched it with a bunch of kids and they loved it 5 stars
8/01/04 Alfredo Silva A sick mixture between Spy Kids and Cat in the Hat, candidate for worst movie of 2004 1 stars
7/31/04 Alex Keefe I thought this was a fun and entertaining film. Give it more of a chance. 4 stars
7/30/04 Nick Turner This is a great movie! Critics know sh*t - I love TB and loved this too. Diff. but great 5 stars
7/27/04 Mike Devans I woke up at 6 am to watch this crap. 1 stars
7/27/04 conor great awlful 1 stars
7/27/04 asina Down with G4 for destroying TechTV!!! 1 stars
7/26/04 Julian Lady Penelope ROCKS! The Tracy's Suck! 1 stars
7/25/04 Siobhan I was a Thunderbirds fan as a kid, and I actually really enjoyed this. 3 stars
7/24/04 Tom Scott Hollywood strikes again! (shoot Frakes) 1 stars
7/22/04 Sean Norton why bother re-doing if you can't improve it? 1 stars
7/21/04 caroline the best film ever,brady corbet was brilliant 5 stars
7/18/04 mike j eccleshall the worst movie i have seen for a long time. didnt even bother to stay for the end 1 stars
7/18/04 Chopper3 So much better than I had expected, the best live-action film for young kids for years! 5 stars
7/17/04 dark mark totally fantastic film. true to Gerry's animation. 4 stars
7/15/04 Alex Walters Possible the worst movie I have ever seen. Twister comes close, and I belive that has Bill 1 stars
7/10/04 simplythunder@yahoo.co.uk perfect family entertainment 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  30-Jul-2004 (PG)
  DVD: 21-Dec-2004

UK
  N/A

Australia
  16-Sep-2004 (PG)




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