Thunderbirds (2004) starring Brady Corbet, Bill Paxton, Ben Kingsley, Sophia Myles, Anthony Edwards directed by Jonathan Frakes Movie Review

Thunderbirds (2004)   2/52/52/52/52/5

Brady Corbet in Thunderbirds (2004)

Thunderbirds are a No Go

Alan Tracy (Brady Corbet) is the youngest of Jeff Tracy's (Bill Paxton) boys and he wants to be part of International Rescue like his brothers rather than being stuck at boarding school having to watch his family's heroics on TV. Having been picked up from school by Lady Penelope (Sophia Myles) and Parker (Ron Cook) Alan returns home where he finds himself at odds with his father who doesn't want him to grow up. But then the Thunderbirds' space station, TB5, is damaged in a meteor storm unaware that it is the evil mastermind The Hood (Ben Kingsley) behind it who has plans to take over Tracy Island when Jeff and International Rescue go to TB5.

My knowledge of Gerry Anderson's "Thunderbirds" boils down to Lady Penelope, Parker, the pink car, Brains and a strange memory of "Blue Peter" showing us how to make our own Tracy Island. Basically what I am saying is that I have no nostalgic, childhood memories of watching "Thunderbirds" although of course I am aware of what it was with the puppets. Now usually having no connection to the original movie, or in this case TV show, is a benefit but it makes no difference here as this live action version of "Thunderbirds" doesn't work.

Ron Cook in Thunderbirds (2004)

Now I suppose in truth the concept is a good one, recreate the idea of the Tracy family, International Rescue and the gadget filled Tracy Island for a new generation who would find the wooden puppets of the original weak. But in doing so they have dumbed the story down to a cliche as we have Alan the youngest wanting to be part of things but is angry for being left out but of course when he ends up left at home he gets chance to prove himself by saving the day, well with a little help from his friends. For young children it is fine but for grown ups it is weak especially grown ups who watched because they were a fan of the original "Thunderbirds".

But then there is the styling decision because director Jonathan Frakes has gone for this weird combo of having actors trying to act and look like the puppets. That means we have what I hope is intentional stiff acting with a couple of in-jokes when it comes to the way the puppets walked. We also have what looks like the aftermath of actors sucking on cherry pop sticks with ridiculously red lips which frankly looks terrible. There are other things which let this version of "Thunderbirds" down and considering the cast which for fans of British soap "Emmerdale" also features Bhasker Patel it is all kind of disappointing.

What this all boils down to is that even as someone who didn't grow up watching "Thunderbirds" this 2004 live action version did little for me. From the basic story to the look I felt under whelmed and out of all the casting there was just Anthony Edwards as Brains and Ron Cook as Parker which really worked.