Thunderbirds (2004)

Genre(s): Action / Adventure / Family / Fantasy
Universal || PG - 95 minutes - $19.98 || December 24, 2004
Reviewer: Kushmeer Farakhan || Posted On: 2004-12-20

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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

A U D I O &
.:: V I D E O ::.

Audio and Video

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Director: Jonathan Frakes
Writer(s): Gerry Anderson (TV series) & Sylvia Anderson (TV series), Peter Hewitt (story) and William Osborne (story), William Osborne (screenplay) and Michael McCullers (screenplay)
Cast: Bill Paxton, Brady Corbet, Ben Kingsley, Anthony Edwards, Sophia Myles

Theatrical Release Date: July 30, 2004

Supplemental Material:
  • Director Commentary
  • Secrets of Tracy Island Revealed
  • Lady Penelope's Pink World
  • Creating the Ultimate Action Sequence
  • Lady P & Parker Lose Control
  • FAB1: More Than Just a Car
  • Music Video
  • Theatrical Trailer

Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (1.85)
  • English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

Thunderbirds is an immensely poor film. I didn't expect much from it. I just wanted to be slightly entertained but it just doesn't work. The story follows a group of rescue heroes who are all members of the Tracy family. Their father (played by Bill Paxton who is simply cashing a check) is also their leader. Together, they stop emergencies all over the world whenver the government calls them in (typhoons, fires, etc.) with the help of their big, retro looking, brightly colored spaceships. Oddly enough, the Thunderbirds are only minor supporting characters in their own film. Their evil nemesis, The Hood(played by Ben Kingsley who is just sorta sleepwalking. I mean, we don't even get an 60's Batman effort here!), kidnaps them all very early in the film and it's all up to the youngest (non-thunderbird...yet) Tracy, Alan, The Thunderbirds' sexy female spy ally Lady Penelope (Sophia Myles), and Alan's two young friends to save the day.

As stated earlier, nothing about the film works. The Thunderbirds themselves are completely underdeveloped to the point of simply being cardboard cutouts, the villains are so cartoonish and silly that nothing they say can be taken seriously, and the dialogue is trite and juvenile. The f/x are merely average and the direction is nothing to get excited about either. Jonathan Frakes directed this film and the fact that he's a decent director is the only reason I believe I was able to sit through the whole thing at all. The worst film of 2004 by a long shot.


Feature commentary with Frakes: Eh, I couldn't listen to more than 20 minutes of this. Poor Frakes. I'm a big fan of his work as an actor(in Star Trek and Gargoyles) and as a director(he did a great job on Star Trek: First Contact) but he's very dry here and you can tell he's upset about the movie's performance. He never says it, but his tone and the way he speaks of things makes it feel more like he was contractually obligated to record this thing than he actually wanted to do it.

Busted Music Video: whiny bubblegum alternative teen band. UGH.

Lady P. and Parker, Lady Penelope's Pink World, and Fab 1.., are all 3-5 minute long featurette's that examine who (I suppose) the filmmaker's believed to be the best character: Sophia Myles' Lady Penelope. We get to see her train for her fight scene, how they designed her car, etc, etc. It's not terribly interesting but Myles is kinda cute so it's not too bad and it's short.

Secrets of Tracy Island examines the special fx of the film. It's about 7 minutes of tedium.

Ultimate Action Sequence is your average run of the mill making of special. it's about 15 minutes long. It is nice to see Frakes' enthusiasm about the project here. You can tell this was shot before the film was released as opposed to his commentary which was obviously recorded after the fact. The best of the features but that's not saying much.


The sound was pretty reasonable but nothing mindblowing. The picture was another story though. Sometimes the picture would have kind of a grainy look as if it was even lower budget than it was and then sometimes the film would look so pristine you'd swear it cost way more than it did. I'm not sure if it's the dvd or the film itself but the quality of the picture definitely goes up and down throughout the movie.


Thunderbirds is a pretty big waste of time unless you're under the age of 6 and even then there would still be much better ways to spend your time.