I’ve never seen the original ‘Thunderbirds’ series, but my introduction to this franchise was the 2004 feature film titled as ‘Thunderbirds’. While I liked it as a kid, revisiting it all of these years later, it doesn’t quite hold up, and becomes a silly kids film for families.
‘Thunderbirds’ follows Jeff’s son Alan, the fifth son of Jeff Tracy, wants to become a member of the Thunderbirds team, but his father doesn’t think he is ready, but chaos happens on Thunderbird 5, and the whole team blast off in Thunderbird 1 to help. Now without no team, the Hood infiltrates Tracey Island to steal the Thunderbird 2 ship to rob a bank in England, but what the Hood doesn’t know is that Jeff’s son Alan and his friends Fermat and Tin-Tin try to stop the bad guys and save the island.
Despite the opening sequence, and a couple of scenes in Thunderbird 5, the main Thunderbirds team is mainly on the sidelines, and instead it mainly focuses on these kids as the film’s central protagonists and the characters that get the most screen time. Shouldn’t the film be called, “Alan Tracey and Friends: Featuring the Thunderbirds”? That’s a much more accurate depiction of this movie.
The characters are incredibly one-dimensional, as we really don’t learn much about these characters over the course of this movie. Alan and Fermat attend a boarding school, they both have fathers, and both live on Tracey Island. Individually, Alan has hopes and dreams on being part of the Thunderbirds team, Fermat is very intelligent and Tin-Tin has telepathic powers. That’s it, that’s literally all we learn about these characters. Alan’s deceased mother is glossed over, the romantic interest between Alan and Tin-Tin isn’t well developed and the characters family tree doesn’t feel suspenseful or shocking as it should have been.
The film seems to be made for the youngest demographic, yet have elements of dark scenes for adults. A couple of scenes in the Thunderbird 5 is actually really well realized, as the team struggles to survive, but unfortunately the team’s scenes are rather small, and because of that loses the interest and tension that should have been present. And the film has cartoony action sound effects, which is just odd and you as a viewer don’t take these action scenes seriously. And if you say, well it’s a light family action film what you’d expect?, granted ‘Agent Cody Banks’ never had any cartoon action sound effects featured, making those scenes seem more believable.
‘Thunderbirds’ tries to be creative, and then it just becomes a lazy family film, filled with some cringe-worthy dialogue and weak characters, although this film does have some fun and some scenes are quite clever, even though it has little screen time in this movie.
‘Thunderbirds’ is a disappointing theatrical film.