Blu-ray and DVD Reviews

Thunderbirds - International Rescue Edition

Reviewed by: Scott Chitwood
Movie Rating:
4 out of 10
Extras Rating:
7 out of 10
Movie Details:
View here

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Rating: G

Starring:
Sylvia Anderson as Lady Penelope Creighton-Ward (voice)
Ray Barrett as John Tracy/The Hood (voice)
Alexander Davion as Space Co-pilot Greg Martin (voice)
Peter Dyneley as Jeff Tracy (voice)
Christine Finn as Tin-Tin (voice)
David Graham as Gordon Tracy/Brains/Parker (voice)
Paul Maxwell as Captain Paul Travers (voice)
Neil McCallum as Dr. Ray Pierce (voice)
Bob Monkhouse as Space Navigator Brad Newman/Swinging Star Compere (voice)
Shane Rimmer as Scott Tracy (voice)
Charles 'Bud' Tingwell as Dr. Tony Grant/Public Relations Officer (voice)
Jeremy Wilkin as Virgil Tracy/Space Exploration Center President (voice)
Matt Zimmerman as Alan Tracy/Messenger (voice)

Special Features:
Thunderbirds Are Go (International Rescue Edition)

Commentary by producer Sylvia Anderson and director David Lane

"History and Appeal" featurette

"Factory of Dolls and Rockets" featurette

"Epics in Miniature" featurette

Animated photo gallery

"Who Said That?" quiz

Easter eggs

Theatrical trailer

Thunderbird 6 (International Rescue Edition)

Commentary by producer Sylvia Anderson and director David Lane

"Lady Penelope" featurette

"Building Better Puppets" featurette

"Tiger Moth" featurette

Animated photo gallery

Craft mission match-up quiz

Easter eggs

Theatrical trailer

Punch-out spaceships

Collectible magnets

Other Info:
Widescreen (2.35:1)
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
DTS 5.1 Surround Sound
Original Mono Sound
French and Spanish Languages
French and Spanish Subtitles
Running Time: Thunderbirds Are Go - 1 Hour 33 Minutes, Thunderbird 6 - 1 Hour 29 Minutes

Synopsis:
These are two movies spun off from the hit British TV series from the 60's. They featured marionettes in sci-fi action. Two films are included in this DVD set. The first is "Thunderbirds Are Go!" from 1966. Here's the description of the show from the DVD cover:

"Blast off into interplanetary adventure with the first feature-length film starring the International Rescue team: millionaire ex-astronaut Jeff Tracy, his five stalwart sons, the fabulous secret agent Lady Penelope and, of course, their incredibly futuristic fleet of Thunderbird rescue ships! When the mighty spaceship Zero X is sabotaged on its first takeoff for Mars, International Rescue is summoned to provide security for the second launch attempt. But after the ship successfully reaches its destination, it is attacked by rampaging alien life forms! Once again, the brave and resourceful International Rescue team is called into action. Can the team help the damaged ship re-enter Earth's atmosphere and prevent a crash-landing with devastating consequences?"

The second DVD included in this set is "Thunderbird 6". No, it's not the 6th film in the series. It's the name of the 6th ship being developed during the course of the movie. This film was released in 1968. Here's the description of the film from the DVD cover:

"The Tracy team are back in action in another riveting adventure! This time it will take all of their combined effort – and the cunning wit of their colleague Lady Penelope – to defeat an international ring of terrorists who've targeted International Rescue for destruction! While on the maiden voyage of the fabulous new passenger vessel "Skyship One," Lady Penelope is shocked to discover that the original crew has been killed and replaced with a ruthless gang of hijackers who want to use her to obtain classified information about the International Rescue team! As the hijacked super-plane circles the globe on a collision course with catastrophe, Penelope must outwit her captors and send an urgent SOS to get help from her fearless cohorts…before it's too late!"

"Thunderbirds Are Go!" is not rated. "Thunderbird 6" is rated G.

The Movie:
As I kid, I often saw reruns of Thunderbirds on TV. Despite being into spaceships, action, and sci-fi, I was never able to get into the shows. I found them to be a bit boring and the marionettes creeped me out. Now watching these movies as an adult, I'm still not able to get into them.

First of all, the pacing of the show is extremely slow. For example, the first 15 minutes of "Thunderbirds Are Go!" is nothing but them assembling the Zero-X spaceship and slowly taking off. Later on, another 10 minutes is spent on showing the Tracy characters getting into their ships and taking off. In between there's a lot of boring character dialogue that was never able to hold my attention very long. In the bonus features, the creators say that they were trying to make a kid-friendly version of James Bond, and in a way that's what this is. It's more in line with the 60's James Bond, though, which is arguably slower paced and more convoluted in plot than recent incarnations. Anyway, it didn't do much for me.

Despite never being able to get into the story, I was impressed with what they were trying to do back in the 60's. The ships were all of a cool design and the miniatures were all impressive. There were good looking explosions and they did some interesting things with the marionettes (though they did occasionally substitute in human hands for some close ups). Overall it was quite a technical achievement.

Who will want to buy this Thunderbirds DVD set? Well, mainly fans of the old series. I don't think children today will be into it when they have so many other options to watch. I tried to get my son to sit down and watch it, but he soon got bored and wandered off. But if you were interested in the recent live action Thunderbirds movie, you may want to see what inspired it all. If you don't fall into either of these categories, your money may be better spent elsewhere.

The Extras:
Besides the extra video features on the DVD set, there are some magnets of the ships and punch out paper spaceships included in the box. Here's some of the other highlights you'll find:

Commentary by producer Sylvia Anderson and director David Lane – Lane and Anderson provide commentary on both of the feature films. They talk a lot about the critical praise for the series, how they accomplished some of the technical feats, and other such stuff. If you were into Thunderbirds, you'll enjoy this. Otherwise, it's a bit boring to listen to for non-fans.

"History and Appeal" featurette – In this, the surviving cast and crew talk about how the idea for the show came up, what they were trying to accomplish, and the critical acclaim for the series.

"Factory of Dolls and Rockets" featurette – This feature talks about how the marionettes and ships were made.

Animated photo gallery – Pictures from the series are shown accompanied by music.

"Who Said That?" quiz – In this, you must match the character with the line of dialogue.

"Lady Penelope" featurette – This feature highlights the lone female character of the series voiced by producer Sylvia Anderson.

"Building Better Puppets" featurette – This feature discusses some of the unique challenges of using the marionettes. They had to use some surprising techniques in order to make it all work.

"Tiger Moth" featurette – This feature highlights the biplane from "Thunderbird 6". They show how they used a mix of puppets and full sized airplanes for the scenes in the film. They have some funny stories about how they pulled off a stunt where he plane flew under an overpass bridge.

The Bottom Line:
This one's mainly for hard core Thunderbirds fans. Everyone else will probably want to pass on it.

Order this DVD @ Amazon

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