Thunderbirds Are Go Series 3 Vol. 1 Review

  • Series Title: Thunderbirds Are Go
  • Season: Series 3 Vol. 1
  • Episodes: 13
  • Discs: 2
  • Network: ITV
  • Cast: Rasmus Hardiker, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, David Menkin, Kayvan Novak, Rosamund Pike, David Graham, Sandra Dickinson, Angel Coulby
  • Format: Widescreen, Color, DVD (R2, PAL)

This review contains spoilers for Thunderbirds Are Go Series 3, Volume 1 (episodes 1-13).

Thunderbirds Are Go continues to be one of my favorites shows that I catch-up on via DVD (since I don’t have streaming access and I cannot watch it on Amazon Prime, the US distributor). The series is a worthy successor to the original Gerry Anderson Supermarionation series broadcast on ITV in the 1960s. The animated series uses CGI and model work. It is also incredibly fun – with plenty of action, characterization and memorable moments. It short, it’s enjoyable to watch, and one of the few shows I watch that I’d recommend for younger children as well as adults.

Series 3 kicks off right away by introducing the Choas Crew: Fuse and Havoc. They are out to cause, well, as much chaos as possible, and they have special equipment and vehicles in a similar manner to International Rescue. The Choas Crew is also working for the Hood. Unfortunately, as a season-long villain (or half-season I should say since once again the DVDs only include the first half of the season) the Choas Crew really has no motivation and there’s no good reason for their actions or their partnership with the Hood. Over the course of the season, we learn a little bit about the Choas Crew, but not enough to make them a truly interesting villain. The Mechanic is mentioned a few times, but not shown – both by the Hood, who wants to free him and use him again in his nefarious plans, and Brains, who wants to find a way to permanently free the Mechanic from the Hood’s control. Hopefully, when the second part of the season finally arrives on DVD, these threads will be wrapped up – the Choas Crew will be finally defeated and turned over to the GDF, and maybe the mentions of the Mechanic will have a purpose.

However, Thunderbirds Are Go Season 3 vol. 1 does have some great episodes and stories. Ned Tedford and Gladys the geranium show-up again. This time, the GDF has transferred him to the World Food Store to protect a repository of seeds that can be used to raise new plants in the case of a disaster. Of course, Ned has Gladys with him. When the Choas Crew attacks, International Rescue responds – but the Seed Store has its own defenses, including a deadly gas, and growth serum stores. Needless to say, Kayo, Ned, and the GDF’s Captain Rigby barely escape the gas (probably Halon or something similar) but poor Gladys gets hit with the growth serum! Still, Ned has carefully curated her seeds and cuttings and starts a new baby Gladys after losing his original plant. Even so, it was sad to see poor Gladys go – she and Ned have been through so much together!

“Night and Day” has Alan and John helping a mobile mining and storage crew on Mercury. Due to the extreme heat on the planet’s “day side” – their operation must continually move to stay in the dark. When an accident means they can’t move – it’s International Rescue to the, well, rescue. I liked this one very much – Alan was a bit more competent than the youngest Thunderbird pilot can sometimes be shown to be, and it was great to see John in a more action-oriented role, instead of simply managing communications on Thunderbird 5. Plus the rescue itself had some very intriguing aspects to it and the photography and animation were awesome!

In “Deep Water” – Gordon, Lady Penelope, and Parker have to rescue a mother and son who were checking on the Supreme Barrier Reef, a project to replace the destroyed Great Barrier Reef when their sub is destroyed by acidic water. Rescuing people quickly turns into trying to clean-up/stop an environmental disaster as Gordon and Lady Penelope must locate a leaky tanker and remove it from the Ocean Floor before the entire area is destroyed, including the new coral that’s started to grow beyond the Supreme Barrier Reef. The story is tense, has a great message (something unusual for this show) and the rescue and removal of the tanker is pretty cool.

Having given Gordon his own episode, Alan and Kayo get their own story in “Endgame”. Alan has been playing an online massive multiple player game called, “Cavern Quest”, but no one shares his interest or his enthusiasm for the new “Cavern Quest” theme park opening in a week. But when the Choas Crew attacks the park and an emergency call is sent out, Kayo is sent to respond, and Alan aids her virtually. Kayo meets Aezethril the Wizard, and real-life game designer, who is in trouble because the Choas Crew stole his wand before trapping him in the first cavern of the theme park. The wand controlled the actual holographic theme park, and without it, the only way out is through. Kayo and Aezethril must play through the game, stop the Choas Crew and their destruction of the park, and escape. Aezethril is voiced by Slyvester McCoy (of Doctor Who and The Hobbit)! Kayo chooses a sword as her weapon, Aezethril adds a hammer to his costume, and Alan holographically joins them. They play through the game, cavern by cavern, until reaching the final test. As silly as it sounds, I loved this one! The dynamics between Kayo, Alan, and Aezethril worked really well, and Sylvester definitely is enjoying himself!

The final story, “SOS” is another two-parter, like the opening one of the set, though the first part does have a definite end. The second-part makes up for the lack of a cliffhanger in the middle by ending on a cliff-hanger – and it’s a big one. The story itself involves the spaceship Calypso returning to Earth from its deep-space mission. And not only is it returning, but it is also about to crash into planet Earth. International Rescue must work together to rescue the crew, it’s data, and in part two – Braman. When the Choas Crew intervenes in Gordon’s ocean rescue/salvage operation, it’s Gordon who must soon be rescued by his brothers. Braman’s eventual rescue leads to a startling cliffhanger, as I mentioned.

I still recommend this series. The rescues are great. I love the interaction between the characters, regulars, reoccurring characters, and guests. I didn’t find Havoc and Fuse that interesting – their destruction vehicles seriously seemed solely designed to sell toys. But I still seriously love watching this show. And it’s good to see something positive, with the Tracy family (and their friends and associates) risking their own lives to rescue people in impossible situations, for no other reason than because someone has to, otherwise those people would surely die.

Read my review of Thunderbirds Are Go Series 1 Vol. 1.
Read my review of Thunderbirds Are Go Series 1 Vol. 2.
Read my review of Thunderbirds Are Go Series 2 Vol. 1.
Read my review of Thunderbirds Are Go Series 2 Vol. 2.

Thunderbirds Are Go Series 2 Volume 2 Review

  • Series Title: Thunderbirds Are Go
  • Season: Series 2 Vol. 2
  • Episodes: 12
  • Discs: 2
  • Network: ITV
  • Cast: Rasmus Hardiker, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, David Menkin, Kayvan Novak, Rosamund Pike, David Graham, Sandra Dickinson, Angel Coulby
  • Format: Widescreen, Color, DVD (R2, PAL)

Thunderbirds Are Go is an excellent and fun series. This volume goes back to the format of International Rescue (IR) doing what they do best – rescue people from impossible situations. There are few episodes that focus on a single character but the rest involve all or at least three of the main characters. The first story in the collection, “Volcano”, gives Brains a chance to shine. The plot, inspired by the Icelandic volcano eruptions, also features a scientist who has become a bit of a laughing-stock, constantly warning International Rescue and the nearby resort that the volcano was “going to blow”. But this time, as Brains discovers – he’s right. It’s a great rescue. “Grandma Tourismo” as the title suggests, has Grandma Tracy and Virgil working together on a windstorm rescue in the desert. It’s actually a great episode – and gives us a little background into the older Tracy family members (it was Grandma Tracy who taught Jeff how to fly). Many of the episodes focus on rescues with heart-pumping action, and good characterization of both our regulars and the guest star characters.

Whereas the previous volume put most of the emphasis on The Mechanic and the Hood, this volume only has a few stories where they even appear. The Mechanic is trying to escape the Hood’s control, in any way possible, Brains and the GDF promise to help the Mechanic escape being controlled. But in the final minutes of the last episode, the Hood manages to escape custody again.

I highly, highly, highly recommend this series, including this volume for all ages. The stories are full of action and the characters are great. The Tracys dedicate themselves to helping people in impossible situations, and put human life over anything and everything else. They aren’t there to save things or infrastructure but people, it’s just what the Tracys do – they help.

Read Thunderbirds Are Go Series 2 Volume 1 Review
Read my Thunderbirds Are Go Series 1 Volume 2 Review
Read my Thunderbirds Are Go Series 1 Volume 1 Review
Original Gerry Anderson Thunderbirds Information

Book Review: Doctor Who – The Indestructible Man

  • Title: The Indestructible Man
  • Series: BBC Books Past Doctor Adventures
  • Author: Simon Messingham
  • Characters:  Second Doctor, Zoë, Jamie, Gerry Anderson shows
  • Date Reviewed on GoodReads: 2/23/2013

This novel is very, well, novel. As the photo-cover and title suggest, it really is a cross-over with all the Gerry Anderson stuff. Mostly it crosses Doctor Who (Second Doctor, Jamie, Zoë) with Captain Scarlet — the indestrcutible man, and with UFO, thus Zoë’s purple wig. But other Anderson shows make an appearance, including, Thunderbirds.

I was expecting, therefore, for this novel to be very funny, and it wasn’t, from what I remember it was actually kinda’ depressing. However, I did read it awhile ago, and it’s one of the Past Doctor Adventures I’d definitely read again.

Overall, definitely a book to read and add to your Doctor Who collection. It’s something to also recommend to the Gerry Anderson fan you know.

Thunderbirds Are Go Series 2 Volume 1 Review

  • Series Title: Thunderbirds Are Go
  • Season: Series 2 Vol. 1
  • Episodes: 13
  • Discs: 2
  • Network: ITV
  • Cast: Rasmus Hardiker, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, David Menkin, Kayvan Novak, Rosamund Pike, David Graham, Sandra Dickinson, Angel Coulby
  • Format: Widescreen, Color, DVD (R2, PAL)

Thunderbirds Are Go is a CGI animated modern updating of the Gerry Anderson Supermarionation series. The series is action-packed, and several stories in this volume see one of the boys in life-threatening danger. Volume 2 has stories set in several environments as well, from the deep ocean to outer space to Europa and Mars. The opening episode introduces a new continuing villain, the Mechanic, who has some relationship with The Hood. Meanwhile, the Hood is in a Global Defense Force maximum security prison. The Mechanic makes huge, and dangerous, mechanical devices, almost evil Thunderbirds – and he defends his nefarious plots with “mechs” – drones that attack whatever he wants. The Mechanic controls his drones with a virtual reality suit, moving his hands in front of a heads-up computer screen, to control his drones. The search for and to stop the Mechanic is a continuing theme for the set, with the final episode seeing International Rescue, Lady Penelope (with Parker and Sherbert) and the Global Defense Force attempting to stop the Mechanic from breaking the Hood out of prison.

The rescues and disasters in this season are huge, but often work to rescue one or two people not rescued by more conventional means – much like the original series. Kayo (the updated version of Tin Tin) gets a considerable amount to do – and her role of “Covert Ops” now is integrated into International Rescue. She not only gathers intelligence, but uses her skills to get inside dangerous areas to get people out. And her vehicle Thunderbird S – Shadow is pretty awesome. Speaking of awesome, Lady Penelope’s pink Rolls Royce is incredible! I seriously want her car. Fab 1 can fly, hover, it’s a submarine, and it’s capable of traveling through underground tunnels. Fab 1 was impressive in the original series, but the new one? It can do just about anything.  Lady Penelope, Parker, and Sherbert are fully integrated into the Thunderbirds Are Go stories, with the three working to find out more about the Mechanic and how he’s connected to the Hood.

The opening story is really big and full of heart-pumping action, though Gordon and Alan are not part of the actual rescue. It also introduces the Mechanic – who pilots a giant drilling and refining factory, without care to the destruction he causes, or even the two geologists who are trapped in a giant crack in the Earth caused by his machine. But from the beginning it’s also clear that the Mechanic is somehow connected to the Hood.

There is more characterization of the boys in this volume for the most part. Kayo and Lady Penelope get to do a lot more. And even Grandma Tracy gets to dispense wisdom. It’s nice to see some women in the show. Overall Thunderbirds Are Go is extremely good. It’s full of plenty of action. Yet the emphasis for the Tracys is always on rescuing people, or saving people from harm. The Tracys risk their lives to help others, and that’s an important message. Overall, it’s a fun, exciting, action-packed, and positive series that is incredibly fun to watch. Highly recommended, especially for children aged 10-16, though adults can enjoy the series, I certainly did. Previous volumes are also reviewed on this blog.

Thunderbirds Are Go Season 1 Vol. 2 Review

  • Series Title: Thunderbirds Are Go
  • Season: 1 Vol. 2
  • Episodes: 13
  • Discs: 2
  • Network: ITV
  • Cast: Rasmus Hardiker, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, David Menkin, Kayvan Novak, Rosamund Pike, David Graham, Sandra Dickinson, Angel Coulby, Andres Williams
  • DVD: Widescreen DVD (R2, PAL)

Thunderbirds Are Go is a modern animated take on the Classic Supermarionation series by Gerry Anderson. This DVD set is the second half of the season. The series uses CGI animation and models, with model work by Weta Workshop in New Zealand, supervised by Richard Taylor. Vol. 2 starts off intense and never stops going. The first mission, “Falling Skies” involves all the boys and vehicles – with subsequent episodes focusing on individual characters, even the poor guy with bad luck from the first set (and his pet geranium Gladys) return for a story.

The CGI animation, and Richard Taylor’s updated model work let the stories do a lot more than Anderson and Derek Meddings (the Oscar-winning model specialist who went on to work on the James Bond films and Christopher Reeve’s Superman films) could do in the 1960s, even at ITV. And this is an action-packed series. It’s the type of show where I’d sit down to watch one or two, three at the most, and suddenly end-up watching most of the disc. The animation is beautiful, even though it does have the tendency that I see in CGI animated series all the time of people looking a bit plastic, and in this series, clothes looking more like clay than real fabrics (hair also has a very clay-like appearance).

Thunderbirds Are Go is an action-packed thrill ride, and it’s completely suitable for children aged 7 to 13. Adults can enjoy the series as well – I certainly did. I did find that with the running time reduced to about 22 minutes, rather than the hour (50 minutes) of the original Supermarionation series, there is less characterization. The back half of the season includes three episodes focusing on Lady Penelope and Parker, and Kayo gets to be center stage in the last couple of episodes. There’s an episode where Virgil is miffed no one seems to remember his birthday – then misses his own surprise party because the simple “hour or two” rescue John had sent him on turned into anything but simple. So there are some character moments. But I miss the strong characterization that made the original series work so well.

Set in the future, Thunderbirds Are Go, keeps the premise of everything being bigger – and the use of technology and science to help humans. When things go wrong, it’s often because of greed, violations of law, or more often than not – some scheme by the Hood which doesn’t make a whole lot of sense but it’s fun to watch. The Hood, and his “evil laugh” – should be annoying, but he isn’t because he just reminds us, well, me anyway, of the classic almost mustache-twisting villain. And while he isn’t actually tying Lady Penelope to a track track – he’s just a traditional-style of villain. That surprisingly works better than the Hood of the original series – who always made me very uncomfortable. Oddly enough, this Hood reminds me of a combination of Roger Delgado’s Master from Doctor Who, and Lex Luthor – with maybe a little bit of Dr. Evil thrown in. Given that combination – you can’t not like the guy, he isn’t really meant to be taken that seriously. And it’s a children’s series.

Another aspect of Thunderbirds Are Go it keeps from the original series is that the Tracys are simply there to help. When things go wrong – International Rescue is there. And IR’s mission is always to help people – not things, objects, whatever – but to rescue people. In the final few episodes of the season, conflict erupts between Kayo who would like to be more proactive – catching criminals to prevent disasters from happening, and Scott – who insists that’s the job of the GDF – the Global Defense Force. It’s an interesting and valid conflict, and it gives the final episodes a bit more depth.

I would love to see more of this series. It’s fun to watch, full of action, has a large ensemble cast, and although the characterization is a bit thin – it’s still there. The characters do act like their counterparts from the original series. This animated series honors the original and that is precisely as it should be.

Highly recommended especially for children.

Thunderbirds Are Go Review

  • Series Title: Thunderbirds Are Go
  • Season: 1 (DVD set is Vol. 1)
  • Episodes:  13
  • Discs:  2
  • Network:  ITV
  • Cast:  Rasmus Hardiker, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, David Menkin, Kayvan Novak, Rosamund Pike, David Graham, Sandra Dickinson, Angel Coulby, Andres Williams
  • DVD: Widescreen DVD (R2, PAL)

ITV has created an updated children’s series based on the original Gerry Anderson Supermarionation TV series. This version includes half-hour (22-minute) CGI animated episodes. But there is plenty of action in those 22 minutes! The episodes seem so very short because they are jam-packed with action and story. Often either a rescue begins to go wrong, or the first planned rescue attempt doesn’t work then Tracy boys need to come up with a new plan on the fly. Fortunately, coming up with ways to rescue people in impossible situations is exactly what the Tracys do best. The series keeps the five boys, their five Thunderbird machines, and the extra characters of Grandma Tracy, London agent Lady Penelope and her chauffeur Parker (she is also now given a small dog, named Sherbet as well), and Kayo (and updating of Tin Tin – now IR’s “covert ops” agent, pilot of Thunderbird S (Shadow), and sometimes co-pilot of Thunderbird 3), and even the villainous Hood. Another regular is the GDF (Global Defense Force), basically global cops and military. Mention is also made of local rescue efforts handling smaller disasters. At the beginning of this new series we’re told Jeff (Tracy the boys’ father) is missing.

ITV’s new Thunderbirds series is bright and colorful. It’s clearly aimed at kids. However, it doesn’t talk down to its audience, and I found the show to be fun, amusing, well-written, and action-packed. The stories are inventive, and well-realised. The use of CGI animation means they can do things in the plots the original series never could do. I loved seeing how Thunderbird 4 got back into the pod of Thunderbird 2, for example. I also liked seeing the industrial robots assembling needed rescue equipment on the fly with a single pod base (OK, yes, that does sound like “giant Japanese Robot assemble!” but trust me – it makes sense when you see it.)  The direction is much better than you’d expect in a children’s series. There’s a pan-up and over Tracy Island that’s not only beautiful, but clearly shows the film-makers love for Thunderbirds – original and new. And in “Runaway”, the demolishing of a geranium’s flower will make you feel sorry for a plant. Fortunately she returns as Gladys, a “pet” plant belonging to a poor guy who needs rescuing not only in “Slingshot” but also in “Under Pressure”.

The CGI at times is very good, as is the updated model work. But at other times, at least to me, characters look incredibly plastic – and clothing (and hair) looks like it’s made from thinly-rolled sheets or sculpted pieces of modeling clay (or even the fondant used to decorate cakes). As the series progressed, though, I became more accustomed to it. The light and coloring on the eyes was particularly good.

OK, now to the changes and the – definitely not bad, but the, let’s call it, for some areas “needs improvement”.  The Thunderbirds themselves have been slightly updated (especially Thunderbird 2 which is much more boxy in shape; and Thunderbird 3’s been given grappling arms which make sense given her space-bound duty.)  The changes do end-up looking like improvements, and modernization (the entire show has a futuristic look).  The Tracy sashes have been completely changed – now instead of matching the contrast or piping color of the corresponding Thunderbird – they match the main color of the Thunderbird (except John) and the sashes are really bright. The new color scheme is:

  • Scott – Grey sash (silver)
  • John – Gold Sash
  • Virgil – Green Sash (bright toxic green)
  • Gordon – Yellow Sash
  • Alan – Bright red sash

And the hats are gone! Though, in truth the Tracys only seemed to wear them on formal occasions and not during heavy rescues in the original series.

Second, due to the shorter running time – there’s a lot less characterization. There is witty banter, and the banter is actually witty – not something that would set your teeth on edge, or make one squirm with it’s inappropriateness. We see some concern amongst the brothers for each other, but it tends to be downplayed. However, in “Tunnels of Time”, Scott loses his cool completely when a greedy archaeologist seems more concerned with treasure than the safety of Gordon, Lady Penelope, and Parker. Also, the entire family is concerned about Alan in “Slingshot”. However, there’s nothing, so far, like the family concern in some of my favorite episodes of the original Thunderbirds series (click the link for info).

The speaking voices of the Tracys are far more natural and less clipped than the original series – this adds to the modern feel. I also liked the implication than 2060 is a pretty nice place to live. The show is relentlessly optimistic – like it’s original series inspiration. The Tracys are great characters.The rescues are fantastic – and I found myself concerned about the characters and the people they were rescuing more than once.

Overall, highly recommended – I cannot wait to see more in the near future.

Disappointingly, the DVD set has no special features whatsoever.

Trivia:  Thomas Brodie-Sangster also played Jojen Reed in Game of Thrones. Also, Richard Taylor (Lord of the Rings) is in charge of the model work for Thunderbirds Are Go, and the models and some special effects work are done by Weta Workshop.

Thunderbird 6

  • Title:  Thunderbird 6
  • Director:  David Lane
  • Date:  1968
  • Studio:  MGM, United Artists
  • Genre:  SF, Action, Children
  • Cast:  Peter Dyneley, Sylvia Anderson, Shane Rimmer, Jeremy Wilkin, Matt Zimmerman, David Graham
  • Format:  Color, Widescreen
  • DVD Format:  R1, NTSC

Thunderbird 6  is based on the Gerry Anderson Supermarionation series, Thunderbirds, and was made at the same time. For more information on the television series, see this post. The film opens with a secret meeting at the New World Aircraft Corporation, where the designer of the Thunderbirds, Mr. X, addresses the group. He suggests New World Aircraft should build an airship. The men at the meeting literally laugh at him, but build the ship anyway.

Once the ship is build, Alan Tracy and Tin Tin fly to England in an antique Tiger Moth Biplane to meet up with Lady Penelope and Parker. The four travel to the air field at New Word Aircraft. FAB 1, Lady Penelope’s pink Rolls Royce is loaded on the airship, and Alan, Tin Tin, Lady Penelope, and Parker, all go aboard the lighter-than-air craft for the around-the-world maiden voyage of Skyship One as it’s called.

However, all is not smooth sailing. Prior to the arrival of the International Rescue crew members, a group of men had gotten into the ship. These men kill the ship’s captain and the entire crew, and take their place. Skyship One is completely automated, and the crew is only there to serve the passengers and in case of emergencies.

With the International Rescue members aboard, and unaware that the crew isn’t the real crew – Skyship One lifts off, and begins it’s around-the-world cruise, stopping at many famous sites, and even making ports of call where the passengers can see the sights. They visit New York, the Grand Canyon, Los Angeles, Niagara Falls, Switzerland, the Pyramids, and other famous tourist locations.

Meanwhile, Jeff Tracy has told his engineer Brains (also the mysterious “Mr. X” who suggested that Skyship One be built in the opening scene of the film) that International Rescue needs a Thunderbird 6. Jeff gives no explanation of what he wants, nor does he explain why he thinks it’s so important. Throughout the film, Brains develops machines for Jeff, showing him various models, and Jeff rejects all of his designs and hard work. This becomes the “B plot” of the film, while the around the world tour on Skyship One is the “A plot”.

During the tour, Lady Penelope discovers she is being bugged. Alan, Parker, and Lady Penelope all investigate – and discover only Lady Penelope is being recorded. Meanwhile, it’s revealed that the substitute crew have written a message from Lady Penelope to Jeff Tracy at International Rescue – they plan on recording Lady Penelope saying all the words of the message, the re-arranging and editing together the words she says, so it sounds like she is sending the message herself. The message will then be sent, so Jeff hears it and thinks Penny sent it. Additionally, the message, which essentially sends Thunderbirds 1 and 2 to a disused airfield south of Casablanca, also tells Jeff to not acknowledge the message.

And that is exactly what happens – Alan, Parker, and Tin Tin discover recording equipment, and realize what is going on, but not before the message is sent. Penny calls Jeff directly using her compact-phone, only to find that Thunderbirds 1 and 2, and their pilots have been sent to the co-ordinates in the message. Lady Penelope warns Jeff it’s a trap. Jeff contacts his sons, and they blow the heck out of the buildings at the airfield, destroying everything with guns.

Meanwhile, in an attempt to round-up the false crew as the ship approachs Dover in the UK, there’s a gunfight in the “Gravity Compensation Room” (an impressive model set full of silver spinning things). The gravity compensaters are damaged, and the airship begins to slowly sink. Tin Tin, however, is taken hostage by one of the false crew and the International Rescue team is also taken hostage.

Meanwhile, Thunderbirds 1 and 2, fly to the location of Skyship One to find out what’s going on, and to rescue Lady Penelope, Tin Tin, and Alan.  As he gets close to where the airship should be, Scott has trouble finding it – then notices it is cruising at a much lower altitude than it should be. Skyship One then hits and becomes entangled in the Interceptor Towers at a missile base on the British coast. The ship is in a dangerous and precarious position. Scott has the missile base evacuated and in the meantime tries to effect a rescue of the people aboard Skyship One, with the help of Virgil in Thunderbird 2.

Unfortunately, because Skyship One is so light, and the tower isn’t steady, Thunderbirds 1 and 2 can’t get close without causing the ship to start tipping or crashing. They use lines to try to stabilize the ship but are unsure how to effect a rescue of the people. They contact Tracy Island Base for ideas.

Brains comes up with a solution – they will use the 2-seater Tiger Moth to rescue people from the Skyship one at a time. This would be difficult enough, but when the small biplane lands on the huge airship, Brains is quickly taken hostage – and Foster, the captain, tries to escape by himself, only.

However, Brains, Parker, Alan, and Tin Tin are able to overcome the false crew and get on the Tiger Moth. It isn’t straight forward though – other members of the substitute crew get on the Tiger Moth, there’s a gunfight, and eventually all of the false members are killed, including Foster who is in the pilot’s seat of the Biplane. Lady Penelope ends up in the forward seat of the Biplane, and Parker in it’s undercarriage – and the plane’s engine is shot and losing fuel. Lady Penelope is the only one of the group who doesn’t know how to fly a plane. Alan carefully moves along the exterior of the plane from where he had been hanging on the wing to the cockpit. He tries to talk Penny through a dead-stick landing but she can’t quite get the plane down. So Alan has her pull-up, roll the plane to get rid of Foster’s body, then gets into the second cockpit himself and eventually lands the plane (without fuel he ends up in a tree – but no one is hurt, not even Parker).

Meanwhile, once everyone has left Skyship One via Biplane, and the missile site is evacuated, Scott and Virgil let go of their lines supporting the doomed airship. It crashes into the missile base and there’s a series of really big explosions.

Later at Tracy Island, Brains introduces to Jeff the completely built and field-tested Thunderbird 6 – the Tiger Moth.

Thunderbird 6 does feel much more like an extended episode of the television series, and the plot holds-up together better than Thunderbirds Are Go. However, it’s still very slow moving. The world-wide cruise of Skyship One just seems to take forever. The film also has two problematic issues with it – first, it’s very violent, especially for Thunderbirds.  The entire crew of the airship (granted, its only four people, but still) is ruthlessly slaughtered. When Jeff tells Scott and Virgil that their rendezvous at the airfield south of Casablanca is a trap, the boys simply annihilate everything in sight. What if the Black Phantom’s cronies had taken people hostage at the airfield? I mean, sure, it was abandoned – but that doesn’t necessarily mean there’s no one there. And then, in the midst of the actual rescue, the entire substitute crew, who were, granted, up to no good – are killed. It’s remarkably violent for a kid’s movie. And the second issue is the film is pretty sexist. Of course, it’s Tin Tin who’s taken hostage. Of course, Lady Penelope can’t fly a plane or follow Alan’s instructions for landing it. I mean, yes, that would be difficult – but this is Lady Penelope!

Still, overall, the film is better than Thunderbirds Are Go, simply because the plot holds together better, even if the movie moves very slowly.

Recommendation: Recommended for fans of the original show only
Rating:  3 1/2 Stars out of 5
Next Film:  To Catch a Thief