Saturday, February 7, 2015
After finally at long last finishing watching the original Thunderbirds, I was curious to see the 2004 adaptation of the movie from its "Supermarionation" roots to more modern live-action and CG look. But alas I don't own a copy and the box office failure made it hard to come by. It's a ten year old movie and not readily available in local stores. But the other day while wasting some time in a local Dollar Store I found it in a package with Rocky and Bullwinkle and Johnny English, two other movies I don't have on DVD, so I was happy to snap it up.
Now I'm not an original fan of the series, so I don't have my heart tied up in it, so I can come to this adaptation without the emotional baggage I suspect many folks have when approaching a new translation of a cherished favorite. That said, it's still an exceedingly flawed movie adventure. The key mistake was skewing the movie young, making the audience process the adventure through the teenage lens of an immature Alan Tracy and his sidekick Fermat (the son of Brains) and Tintin who also loses about a decade or so in age. The desire to create teenage avatars for the viewer is a huge blunder and takes the show to places the original never considered nor needed to.
Thunderbirds is a an adult story about a family dedicated to saving lives across the globe and using their expansive wealth for the betterment of mankind, and by the way looking cool doing it. It's about cutting edge technology being brought to the aid of people who need help right now without the red tape that governments can sometimes bring. It's at once naive in its politics but hopeful in its regard to the fundamental unity of mankind.
This movie is pretty much a coming-of-age flick set against a backdrop where these things are perhaps true, but which are not in any meaningful way explored. The brothers (Scott, Virgil, Gordon, and John) all disappear and are difficult to tell apart when they do show up.