- Apr 24, 2006
- Charlotte, NC
- Real Name
- Matt Hough
Ever since the release of Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s uproariously wicked parody film Team America: World Police, movies populated with marionettes are just not the same. But in an earlier era, the two Thunderbirds movies – 1966’s Thunderbirds Are Go and 1968’s Thunderbird 6 – were pretty much the be-all and end-all of puppet cinema, and even for those who aren’t thoroughly familiar with the successful television series that gave birth to these feature films, they’re pleasurable action movies made with a great deal of heart and a dedication to their craft that is no laughing matter.
Distributed By: Twilight Time
Video Resolution and Encode: 1080P/AVC
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Audio: English 1.0 DTS-HDMA (Mono), English 5.1 DTS-HDMA
Subtitles: English SDH
Rating: Not Rated, G
Run Time: 3 Hr. 2 Min.
Package Includes: Blu-raykeep case
Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)
Release Date: 05/13/2014
Thunderbirds Are Go – 3.5/5After the mission to Mars of the new Zero-X space ship is sabotaged by The Hood (Ray Barrett), two years go by before another attempt to launch a shuttle to Mars is made. This time out, however, the international rescue team Thunderbirds made up of the gung-ho Tracy family are on the alert and ready to protect the mission at all costs. Despite another sabotage attempt thwarted by the clever team with an assist by Lady Penelope Creighton-Ward (Sylvia Anderson), the ship makes it to Mars where it encounters some strange inhabitants. Back on Earth, youngest brother Alan Tracy (Matt Zimmerman) broods a bit about being left out of the initial mission preparations but is buoyed when he’s called in to assist the astronauts on their reentry into Earth’s atmosphere.The movie spends its opening six minutes impressing us with its marvelously scaled rocket miniatures though non-fans of the series might get a bit antsy at such a long set-up. And the Thunderbirds and the pilots themselves don’t appear until almost twenty minutes have passed by, a long exposition before the stars of the film get to work. The movie in widescreen must have been a staggering contrast to what viewers of the standard 4:3 television series were accustomed to, and director David Lane uses his wide canvas wonderfully to show off the impressive gallery of sets designed for the series and later for the film including the Tracys’ island home with its futuristic living quarters, the surface of Mars, and a nightclub The Swinging Star where Alan’s dream sequence occurs and which fits in a lively production number “Shooting Star” with Cliff Richard and the Shadows (in puppet form naturally). Alan’s dream of a date with the vivacious Lady Penelope and his later reward with a real date at the film’s conclusion (an actually hilarious sequence with its slew of revelations) make the youngest Tracy sibling the star of the picture living up to that snazzy rainbow tux he dons for his dream date.Thunderbird 6 – 3/5After Brains (David Graham) designs a beautiful new aircraft called the Skyship One, Lady Penelope (Sylvia Anderson) and her valet Parker (David Graham) along with Alan Tracy (Matt Zimmerman) and Tin-Tin (Christine Finn) are invited along on its maiden voyage, but evil Black Phantom (Gary Files) has his men kill the crew and take over the ship to use it as a means of hijacking Thunderbird 1 and 2 in an elaborate ruse to wrest control of them from International Rescue.There are no elaborate dream sequences this time out, but the script seems lacking a little invention, and the action moves rather slowly (there is also a lot of filler as in an extended biplane flying sequence and a running gag as Brains attempts to design a new Thunderbird for the fleet – hence the title of the film). Penelope and Alan do eventually figure out what’s going on, and the IR teams both inside and outside the Skyship One work to defeat the bad guys, but it’s a prolonged wrap up that doesn’t sustain the suspense as well as it might have. The production company does shoot its wad in the climactic explosions even outdoing the immense blasts from the first film two-fold.
The Production Rating: 3.5/5
Both films are presented in the theatrical 2.35:1 aspect ratio in 1080p resolution using the AVC codec. Sharpness is excellent revealing much detail in the formation of the puppets, and color is generally strong throughout without it ever becoming unmanageable (the first film seems to have a little stronger color than the second). Contrast is perfectly consistent in both movies. There are occasional dust specks in both films and small scratches and one glaring bit of damage during Thunderbirds Are Go. The films have both been divided into 12 chapters.
Video Rating: 4.5/5 3D Rating: NA
The discs offer DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and 1.0 sound mixes. Though the mono mixes are likely the ones theatergoers would have heard, the re-purposed surround mixes offer better than average fidelity and some surround activity in the rears (though the front soundstage is by far the more prevalent in the design). Dialogue is always clear and concise and has been placed in the center channel. The delightful music, particularly in Thunderbird 6, gets a nice spread through the soundstage. There’s decent bass in the mix, too, for some added impact. No age-related artifacts crop up at all.
Audio Rating: 4/5
Audio Commentaries: director David Lane and producer/co-star Sylvia Anderson provide effective production anecdote-laced commentaries on both films while producer Nick Redman and film historian Jeff Bond offer the fans’ perspectives on the first movie.Isolated Music Scores: both movies feature the background scores in DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 stereo.Excitement Is Go! (22:29, HD): original creator Gerry Anderson’s son and others discuss the impact of the original series and the challenge of bringing it to the big screen in a widescreen format.Cliff Richard Test Footage (17:02, SD): live action footage of the Shadows performing “Shooting Star” group-wise and individually to use as reference for the later puppet work.History and Appeal (10:26, HD): producer Sylvia Anderson, director David Lane, and historian Richard Holliss discuss the origins of the show and the adaptation to the movies.Factory of Dolls and Rockets (8:40, SD): Sylvia Anderson, director David Lane, and puppet coordinator Mary Turner discuss the construction of the characters and props for the series and movie.Epics in Miniature (7:49, SD): Richard Holliss, Sylvia Anderson, and David Lane praise the work of special effects coordinator Derek Meddings and Barry Gray’s music as paramount for the film’s effectiveness.Photo Montage (3:23, SD): color and black and white stills in montage.Come With Me to the Rushes/What Does F.A.B. Mean? (0:28, 0:30, SD): two very brief anecdotes shared by producer Sylvia Anderson.Theatrical Trailer (1:26, HD): for Thunderbirds Are GoLady Penelope (9:50, SD): Sylvia Anderson discusses her input in the design of Lady Penelope for the two films insisting on her greater presence and assisting on the costume and hair designs for her. Puppet coordinator Mary Turner and director David Lane also comment on the character.Building Better Puppets (8:09, SD): Sylvia Anderson, Mary Turner, and David Lane discuss changes made to the puppets so they could be shot from different angles and with more dexterity.Tiger Moth (6:20, SD): the biplane which plays such an important role in Thunderbird 6 is discussed by Anderson, Lane, and historian Richard Holliss. The flying scenes used some miniature work and much real biplane flying.Photo Montage (2:29, SD): behind-the-scenes shots and stills from the second film are presented in montage form.A Call From Kubrick/A Television Tribute (0:56, 0:26, SD): two more brief anecdotes from Sylvia Anderson about turning down working for Stanley Kubrick and admitting to enjoying a takeoff on Thunderbirds done by Dudley Moore and Peter Cook.Theatrical Trailer (1:59, HD)MGM 90th Anniversary Trailer (2:06, HD)Six-Page Booklet: includes stills from the films, poster art for both movies on the back cover, and film historian Julie Kirgo entertaining treatise on the movies.
Special Features Rating: 5/5
Films from a more innocent time which continue to bring out the kid still in all of us, Thunderbirds Are Go and Thunderbird 6 are entertaining little trifles which fans will undoubtedly enjoy looking and sounding so spiffy. Recommended! There are only 3,000 copies of this Blu-ray available. Those interested should go to www.screenarchives.com to see if product is still in stock. Information about the movie can also be found via Facebook at www.facebook.com/twilighttimemovies.
Overall Rating: 4/5
Reviewed By: Matt Hough
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