Thunderbirds is property of Universal Pictures
Hello, Spongey here.
Today, we look at a live action adaptation that is really hated. It’s not exactly well known but I’ve seen plenty of hate for it. How bad is it? Just Ask Mr Coat:
“The sad thing is, a live action Thunderbirds could have actually been a lot of fun, but no. Instead we got this disgusting, putrid pile, of dung beetles!”
…Ouch. What does the original creator say?
“It was the biggest load of crap I have ever seen in my entire life “
…This is gonna suck.
Wait, I’m getting ahead of myself. Created in 1964 by Gerry Anderson, this was marionette puppet show set in the future as it follows the adventures of the Tracy family, headed by American multi-millionaire philanthropist and ex-lunar astronaut, Jeff Tracy. Unknown to the public, the Tracys are the force behind International Rescue: a top-secret organization, founded and funded by Jeff, which is committed to saving human life when in mortal danger.
I have…never seen it. However, it is very popular, and it is credited with popularizing action shows for kids. Even though it is a puppet series, it counts as a cartoon cuz it ain’t live action.
The creator really wanted to be involved in a live action Thunderbirds film that was being made in 2004. However, the studios, like always, didn’t let him do much. They felt there were enough employees on the payroll acting as part of the creative team
This movie just gets worse the more I hear crap like that.
Anyway, for the director they hired Riker himself, Johnathan Frakes. While he did director Star Trek First contact…he also did Insurrection. On top of that, Writer one directed Garfield. Sure, writer 2 did help write some of the Austin Powers films but I don’t think we need the writer of a film like that to do a Thunderbirds movie.
Not only did this get bad reviews, it bombed at the box office too. The Rotten Tomatoes conesus simply says “Live action cartoon for kids/”.
…This movie is so bad RT can’t even think of a real review for it!
That’s all I got for the intro. Let’s do this.
This, is Thunderbirds
After 49 seconds of logos (Ding!), the film starts with I think is the classic Thunderbirds intro, which is pretty awesome. Even if it’s not the show intro it feels really cool, even if it uses flash animation. It also goes on for like 3 minutes.
Once it ends, the movie actually opens at a school, as we meet a kid named Alan. He shows ff the ‘daydreaming kid drawing in his notebook” cliché, which does not please his teacher.
“I hope you don’t plan on going anywhere for Spring Break, because I expect a 10, 000 word paper on my desk the day you come back”
Wow, what a bitch. I thought teachers only did that in cartoons, not live action versions of cartoons!
Also, when this review comes up, it will be the last day of my spring break. Freaky.
Oh, and check out this part when we cut to Alan at his locker:
“You can take your 10,000 words and stick them right up your-”
You know-for kids!
We find out Alan is a “Thunderbird” and he can’t tell anyone because he isn’t one yet, or we need an excuse for forced cliches. Either one works.
Speaking of the Thunderbirds, we see a news report (cuz schools show Plot Connivance news when it’s time to leave) showing them saving an oil rig or something. We take time out of the plot to see the so not fake ships do stuff in blue lights, or something.
At least,, that is all I could make out. The important part is, the rest of Alan’s family save the day. Alan is then picked up by his hot British chick that works with his Dad. He and his as of yet unnamed friend hop in her manly pink car (which would make the live action He-Man happy) and fly home. It also flies, by the way.
They arrive at their home which on a secret island in the Pacific Ocean. The movie itself hasn’t said it but the trailer, and Wikipedia article bring it up so I’ll mention it.. This films is set in the future, in the FAR OFF YEAR OF….2010.
Alan meets up with his family, including his Dad, played by Bill Paxton, and the team scientist, “Brains”, (subtle), played by Anthony Edwards. They have dinner, complete with awkward banner in which Alan feels left out.
Alan and his friend leave the table and sneak into the team’s ship, the Thunderbird 1, because it isn’t a cliché kid’s movie until our hero disobeys orders!
Even the movie knows that bit is lame, so we cut to Dad and the British Chick as we see that they live on this island along with it’s caretaker. We meet the caretaker’s daughrer, Tintin-
Pfft, I wish..
No, I’m talking about the teenage girl Tintin, played by Vanessa Hudgens. Goddammit, it’s sad to her in this thing. Every Disney star has one shitty movie that even I have to shame them of.
Selena Gomez has Getaway, Zac Efron has New Years’ Eve (and That Awkward Moment, based on what I heard), Miley Cyrus has….anything she’s been in, and Brdigit Mendler has Alvin and the Chipmunks 2.
No really, she had a cameo in that.
At least Gabby here has the excuse of going this 2 years before her breakout role. Though Mendler did her film before showing up on Wizards, so there is that.
“Alan’s back? …Oh, Alan’s back!”
You can’t tell but that was some weak acting. I’ll forgive her as this was an early role and I don’t mind her otherwise. Anyway, we find out she is Alan don’t get along cuz Alan isn’t into girls yet.
The cliches are coming together, aren’t they?
Back with Alan and his friend, they are in the ship and to the shock of no one, they start it up by accident. Dad comes in right then to get him before things get nasty. Dad is more than a little pissed at him, which isn’t good for Alan as he found weird green goop on the rocket…ship…thing, thathe wants to tell him about,
“You want to be part of the time? You have to follow the rules”
‘I understand. You don’t want me to be a Thunderbird.. You never listen to me, even when I’m trying to tell you something important!”
“You’re grounded for the rest of Spring Break”
“You need to grow up”
Oh my god, this movie is gonna suck.,
I mean, I’ve done plenty of cliches films for Toon’d Out Month, but this is just lame! We got the kid who wants to be important, keeps fucking up, gets grounded by his Dad, and on top of that, he found something important but thanks to his studpdity, no one will listen to him.
This is amazing. Thanks to how these cliches are written, I can’t muster up a single fuck to give about these characters Dad is a cliché dick and Alan is an even bigger brat. This is going to suck.
After some pointless bits, we cut to the liar of our main villain The Hood, played by Ben Kingsley. ..Really dude, you had go and do this movie? I know I shouldn’t expect less from anyone who has worked with Uwe Boll, but when your turn as a secret agent frog is a step UP, from this, you’re doing it wrong!
He plans to defeat the Thunderbirds (for reasons I hope will be explained in a bit) by using their need to rescue people against them. They fire a missile at this space station that Alan’s older brother John is on.
The Thunderbirds quickly see this and head up into space. Back on Earth, Tintin tells Alan that Thunderbird 5, the space station has been hit. Oh I’m sorry, I mean she tells THUNDERBIRD 5 HAS BEEN HIT a few times to make sure this goes down as her worst performance.
By the way, Alan’s friend is the son of Brains. I may not know much about the series, but I know Brains did not have a son. The inclusion of one pisses off a lot of people, as you can imagine.
The Hood uses this as his chance to bust into their HQ along with hot female minion, and his black minion. There’s a bit where The Hood looks at a picture of The Thunderbirds, and says this about Jeff.
“Isn’t he the one who lost his wife in an accident?”
…Wow, that was forced.
He uses his mind powers (which he somehow has) to make Brains disable the control system, stranding the Thunderbirds on the space station. The Hood reveals himself to our heroes.
As it turns out, The Hood was this guy that The Thunderbirds failed to save in a mine collapse, in favor of his brother. Said brother is that caretaker who is Tintin’s Dad.
“The Hood…is my uncle?!”
At least we have a motivation, as cliché as it is. You know, the bits with the villain are kind of cool. We have danger, peril, stakes…maybe this movie is gonna get good!
“I am almost died that day. You may have broken my body, but you have no idea how powerful my mind has become”
Well, that was a lazy way to hand wave his mind powers. I kind of like his motivation, but knowing this kind of movie, I doubt they will go into the deep aspects of it..
Alan, Tintin, and Fermat (who the hell names their kid that?) are hiding but they are discovered.
The kids easily escape and get into Thunderbird 2 (which will thankfully never happen, thanks to the Box office). But The Hood shows up to tell Alan his Dad is a dick. As he in, he uses Alan’s cliché issues to get him to open the door.
It doesn’t work but The Hood enforces his authority as the villain by coming in anyway. The kids escape again and end up falling into the ocean through some tube thingy.
Like any stupid villain, Hood assumes the kids are dead and goes on with his plan to rob the Bank of London. Naturally, the kids are alive as they wash up on the beach. Fermat suggests they go to the top of this mountain to get to the satellite system, so they can contact Jeff.
However, they must go through the jungle to get there.
“Sounds dangerous. I’m in”
And it’s here it hits you that this film is now Spy Kids, with the professional adults being catapured and our kids needing to become badass and save them. So it’s Spy Kids if it sucked. As in, Spy Kids 4.
Though I can’t see anything being worse than that. We cut to the mansion of Lady Peneople, that british chick ,who has a house so pink it oculd make Sharpay jealous. We see she is-
I mean, we see her doing research on The Hood while in the bath (like you do), while she talks to her butler. Did I mention she is one of the most stereotypical British people I’ve seen since the parents in Frenemies?
Anyway, she mentions that The Thunderbirds haven’t responded to this other thing, which makes me wonder why she is looking up The Hood if has no idea what happened to the team.
Back with the villains, the black goon has brought out a big drill.
“Subtle as usual”
Okay, that was funny.
They lost the McGuffin that powers their machines, so The Hood guesses the kids took it. Sadly, we must cut back to our kids, whose acting I swear gets worse with each scene. Before Alan and Fermat were okay but now they feel so forced, as they talk about Alan’s crush on Tintin.
A bit after that, the kids find this….fusebox….thingy, that they use to contact Thunderbird 5. Well, that was fast. That took like, what, 8 minutes total?
The kids tell them they will hack into that fusebox thing to give them control of their ship again. But just when things pick up, they lose contact again. Alan is sad about this but the bad guys show up to interrupt.
The goons give chase and Alan starts to help build an escape vechicle, but Fermat and Tintin think they should wait for Lady Penelope to rescue them (cuz Dad told them is being alerted or something).
“I don’t think it’s s-s-s-afe”
“You think anything is s-s—afe”
One awkward pause later…
“Just because I stutter doesn’t mean I’m wrong. If we’re a team, we should make a decisions as a team”
Goddammit, more cliché bullshit The crap writing doesn’t help either!
Alan finishes the hovercraft anyway and they zoom off. Alan ends up going too fast, which makes the other kids fall off and get captured by the bad guys. I could pick on the kids for thinking that waiting to be captured was smarter, or I could bash Alan for being a dumbass. I’ll go with both!
Lady Penelope and her amazingly British butler arrive on the island and start fighting the goons. Yes, the butler gets to kick ass. It’s….kind of amazing, actually. Also, Lady P fights the female which would amazing if I wasn’t kidding about her being hot earlier. She’s actually a tad ugly, and she tried to rape Brains earlier.
I wish I was kidding.
One overly long, cartoon sound effect filled fight later, The Hood stops them with his mind powers and calls out Alan who is hiding behind a bush nearby. Alan comes out to stop and of course his captured.
They are taken to this big freezer where Tintin, Fermat, and some other guys are.
“You need to cool off, lady”
Mr Freeze would be proud.
Alan apologies to Fermat for being a dick and he accepts that apology. And…that’s that, as we move on to Lady P trying to a find a way out. This movie has amazingly deep, drawn out character conflict, doesn’t it?
They escape just Hood leaves in his ship to go rob the bank of London. They contact the Tracy’s and give them control of their ship. With that, our heroes head off to stop The Hood and finally end the movie.
The kids get in the ship and leave. By the way, in the show, apparently there are times where you would see a human hand. So as an homage to that, we see a puppet hand on the thingy as the ship takes off. That’s….actually kind of clever.
The Hood and his gang arrive at the bank in the Thunderbird 2 and they drill to get to the vault, so they can somehow blame the Thunderbirds for this. Never mind that everyone would be stupid for this to work, but wouldn’t it be easier to just go in like a normal villain?
The bad guys leave that ship to get in the drill thingy, and our heroes pop up and go into that ship. I love it when villains are idiots. Our heroes take this chance to save some people who are in immediate danger.
I’d call this pointless, as we have a villain to stop but if they left those people die, that would be kind of dark. Anyway, they save the people just as the Tracy’s come in. Lady P goes in to stop the hood, and holds a gun up to him.
“Don’t me use this little finger to pull this big trigger”
.Sex jokes I Could have made: 1
It took the Hood awhile to captured Lady P earlier, but now she is just stopped in a few seconds. Yay for Dumbasses in distress!
By the way, Jeff says to Alan
“You can’t save everywhere. It doesn’t matter how smart you are, or how brave you are”
If only the Man of Steel haters would get that.
That was a good line, so let’s ruin by having a forced “Sweet” moment where Alan asks Dad what Mom was like and whatever.
The kids head into bad HQ,and Dad is quickly captured. Alan tries to fight Freddie but a kid against a guy with mind control powers? That doesn’t end well.
Alan still tries to climb up to get him but The Hood tries to push Alan into the sharp drill thing. Yikes, the implication alone is kind of dark for a FAMILY picture.
The Hood could use his powers to make Alan flat out go into the drill but that would make too much sense. Instead, The Hood comes close to falling in thanks to Tintin’s mind powers. …Yeah I forgot, there’s a scene earlier where it turns out she kind of got some powers from Uncle, but it never went anywhere until now.
The Hood tempts Alan by telling him to leave him to die like his father did, but unlike Superman, Alan don’t kill him and he saves him. The Hood is taken to jail after that weak climax.
You know, this doesn’t accomplish much. It proves that Alan won’t kill his enemies but doing this doesn’t make The Hood turn around at all. He goes to jail and he’s still bitter. So you may as well have killed him!
Anyway, our heroes head back to the island and Tintin kind of flirts with Alan.
I said that when I saw what she looks like now, if you know what I mean. Dad thanks the kids for saving the day and he finally makes them all Thunderbirds. Everyone hugs it out but Dad gets a call to action.
So all the Thunderbirds, plus Alan head off.
“Thunderbirds are go”
They blast off and roll credits! I’m really used to bad abrupt endings, so I don’t care. Even if makes me asks some questions about this film that I will save for the final thoughts.
This one was pretty weak. I can’t say it’s awful (Sorry Mr coat) but it was fairly bad. It did get slightly better by the end but it still isn’t good. I’m not sure I even have much to say. Even more so than Underdog, it abuses every over used kid’s film cliché in the book.
Only the more action-y ones or some of the bits with the villain work. I disliked Alan’s “arc”, as it was forced and had very little in terms of true development. The romance was almost non existent and almost any kind of conflict is really rushed.
That’s this movies biggest issue. It wants to go through these cliches and put it in all this crap but it never really goes into them. Instead, it just goes to the next scene to get itself done with
The characters are pretty dull as only Alan gets any kind of development and even then he only saves the day and everyone just accepts him now. He was a dick at the start and while he does get better, he’s still boring.
Fermat and Tintin may as well not even be here, as the latter gets one of the more pointless romances I’ve seen in awhile. Plus they give her mind powers for no reason and don’t even explain them at the end!
The story follows all the beats you would expect, but to be honest, it gets less bad in the 2nd half when most of the cliches kind of leave. The only cool part was The Hood who I kind of liked to be honest. However, his entire backstory is not explained, and by the end it actually kind of becomes pointless.
He could have been awesome but instead he’s generic guy with a backstory that we never go into. Why did they even give him that backstory if it wasn’t gonna add anything?
The acting is mostly just there except Ben Kingsely who is kind of fun at times. The bad people do get…less bad by the end, but I’m glad Vanessa Hudgens got better. At least with Sucker Punch and Beastly, I can blame the poor script’s instead of her.
Lady P was honestly kind of awesome in how British and Hot she is, but her shtick gets old pretty fast. The film is still not THAT bad, because the more action-y bits are kind of okay and by the end, it wasn’t really all that painful.
I was just kind of “meh” on it, with occasional bits of especially poor writing. It’s just a really a weak kid’s film with cliches, weak characters and from I can tell, lack of faithful-ness to the source materiel.
I was gonna go easy on it, but consdering how bad the bad parts are I will give a more honest grade here. Overall, this film isn’t the worst, but it’s still pretty bad.
Well, may as well show me the next bad one.