2004 / TV

95 mins

SF elements



Okay, so this wasn't as bad as everyone has been making out.

That's not to say it was good . But then, it was never going to be easy to move the high drama of tense rescues, the wonderful big machines with lines of wheels down each side, the high camp of Lady Penelope, and the sheer silliness of the Hood, from strings to big screen.

The attempt is made by concentrating mostly on the camp and silliness, and making the story to a coming-of-age one about a teenaged Alan Tracy [Brady Corbet], sulky because his older brothers get to do rescues while he's stuck in school, along with Brains' genius son Fermat. But when the Hood strands the rest of the family (and since when did Jeff go on rescues?) in space on a doomed T5, then steals T2 to rob the Bank of London, it's up to Alan, Fermat, and Tintin to save the day.

The result works okay, and there are some good sly references to the original. But most of the Thunderbirds premise is completely wasted. There are no big machines with lots of wheels, no big set-piece rescues (there are a couple of minor rescues, but low on tension, and over quickly). The Thunderbird craft are fine, and the mole-like contraption works well, but there are no big machines with lots of wheels . (So I like big machines; I imprinted on Thunderbirds, okay?) Jeff Tracy [Bill Paxton] is too young, and has no gravitas, and the four grownup sons are interchangeable ciphers, unpleasant louts with strange hairdos. Lady Penelope [Sophia Myles, much better in Dr Who ] is way too young, and too silly, with, again, no gravitas. Parker [Ron Cook] is a bit too much of a buffoon. And there is no way a pink Ford has any gravitas: only a Rolls Royce can carry off that colour. In fact, the only character to have any depth is (amazingly!) the Hood, played deliciously deadpan by a suitably sinister Ben Kingsley. And there's a silly subplot about not being able to save everybody (but then they save everybody).

Rating: 4.5

[ unmissable | great stuff | worth watching | mind candy | waste of time | unfinishable ]

reviewed 11 August 2007