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With all due repect to the user who somehow remembers the ancient Republic serials doing a better live action/effects mix that this high-tech Sixties extravaganza, you really won't see the join in Medding's seamless recreation of a British motorway (built in one third scale and mixed with real motorway shots for the climactic Tigermoth escape sequence). Indeed, so realistic is this shot that on the DVD commentary Sylvia Anderson (who spends most of her time pointing out the live action shots vs the model shots, like we really need to know) exclaimes "now that's definitely not a model shot!". Sorry Sylv, love, it is and it's quite likely the best you'll ever see (or be hoodwinked by). If you love Thunderbirds, the Andersons or just damn fine effect work, come worship at the alter of Derek Meddings: see Thunderbird Six.
Thunderbirds had made a major impact in British TV, leading to the 1966
theatrical release Thunderbirds Are Go, but disappointing box office returns
and lack of interest from major US networks (the show was syndicated in the
US instead of picked up by one of the three big broadcasters) caused
cancellation of the series. Despite this, one more theatrical film was
prepared, and the resulting film has proven to be a highlight of the
Thunderbirds epic despite once again suffering from disappointing box office
Thunderbird Six is a vast improvement over Thunderbirds Are Go thanks to a more coherent plot and more plausible action scenes; also adding to the film's quality was the decision to tone down the action scenes in favor of more character interplay.
Most of the cast returned for this final go at the Thunderbirds epic; notably missing aside from David Holliday (replaced by Jeremy Wilken after the first season of the show wrapped up) was Ray Barrett; added to the voice cast was Geoffrey Keen, later to win fame as HM's Defence Minister Sir Frederick Grey in the James Bond series.
"Brains" Hackenbacker (David Graham) has been brought to New World Aircraft, his identity hidden, to make a proposal for a new machine of flight to the company's board of directors. Brains' proposal is to go back to the future - to the era of the passenger dirigible.
Brains' idea is laughed out of the company, but they turn around and build it anyway - Sky Ship One. NWA has invited members of International Rescue for an exclusive round-the-world maiden voyage before the ship enters full commerical service, but Brains is put in charge of creating a Thunderbird Six for Jeff Tracy - an assignment that begins to stress his relationship with the Tracy family.
Much of the film makes use of a reallife Tiger biplane in flight, the Tiger being a special retro project created by Alan and TinTin. With very heavy security, the four IR members invited to the flight of Sky Ship One - Lady Penelope, Parker, Alan, and TinTin - are escorted to NWA's flight base and board the ship.
But unknown to the members of IR as well as to NWA, the crew of the fully-automated jet-powered dirigible have been assassinated and replaced by a band of killers led by a man named Foster, working for a kingpin known as Black Phantom - in reality The Hood wearing a bad hairpiece.
The film then follows the voyage of Sky Ship One as the killers work to position a perfect trap for their passengers as well as International Rescue itself. Along the way Penny, Parker, Alan, and TinTin overfly and visit numerous locations visited by IR in previous rescues - the Atlantic Ocean, New York City, the Grand Canyon, Africa, the pyramids of Egypt, and the Swiss Alps. Here we for once get to see the members of IR able to relax and enjoy each other's company, unaware of any danger to their safety - or are they?
The visits to varied international locales add nicely to the film's atmosphere and allow the buildup not only of suspence but also allow appreciation of the interplay between the characters; this makes the inevitable action scenes and rescue mission all the more gripping and suspenseful as disaster strikes and Scott and Virgil Tracy launch into action.
Without question this is a zenith in the International rescue epic and ends its initial run on a high note.
Kids (and grown ups) always wonder - how previous generations' could've
'survived' without.. (fill-in-the-blank: cellphones, video games,
electricity, automobiles, aeroplanes, etc., etc.)
The thing we all know is, that not having these things, one can't' miss not having them.
I grew up in the late 60's, early 70's (shh!), and I thought we were the coolest, most 'futuristic' we would ever be.
Saturday mornings for me involved grabbing a bowl of cereal (they were all named 'sugar' - something, i.e., Smacks, Pops, etc., and whilst the recipes for those cereals haven't changed, they removed the 'sugar' from the name - but not the product) and plonking down to watch the fantastic shows of Gerry & Sylvia Anderson, in particular, Thunderbirds, and l8r, Captain Scarlett.
People writing reviews here now are constantly mentioning the effects,, good, bad, etc., but, the thing is, I know when I was a kid - and I was a damn smart kid - I didn't even think about the quality of the effects, I just thought the shows, the adventures were cool.
As most 'Fandersons' know, there were 2 Thunderbird movies made - this one, and Thunderbirds are Go!
I 1st saw this film in the late 70's, when I was a late teen, and I watched it because I wanted to reconnect with my childhood.
I was riveted.
I'm now in my early adult years (A-HEM!), and I just watched - for the 1st time since the late 70's - Thunderbird 6, and I had a blast with my heroes of my youth.
Like many of you, I am in awe of the hard work and craftsmanship which went into building the intricate models and then filming them, and not because I want to 'shatter the illusion,' but, rather, because I am just amazed at this talent - I try to spot those shots where live action and model work are intercut, as well, and there are quite a few where I am left scratching my head; 'was that a model, or was it live?'
The gang - the Tracy Clan, (plus Brains & Tin-Tin), as well as the glamorous Lady Penelope and Parker are all here for what amounts to a 90 minute long Thunderbird episode, but, it never feels padded, and unlike many movies 'costing many, many times the budget of this, you actually see where the budget was spent.
As the saying goes, 'no expense was spared,' and it wasn't.'
The sets, the special effects - you see where the money for this love letter to the kids (now adults) and their kids, and their , well, it's a love letter to us from the fabulous Anderson's.
I did hear though, that Lady Penelope was supposedly 'difficult' to work with on the set, but, in truth, it was she wanted to make sure her 6-wheeled Rolls was fine-tuned, and, I guess Gerry & Sylvia had to pitch in, since 'Lady P' is such an important part of Thunderbird lore.
For all those of us who never fully grew up, Thunderbird 6 is a lot of fun, and I think it's something I'd share with any kid today, as times may change, we still love to explore with our minds, and the sky IS the limit with the Anderson's,.
Thunderbird 6 are GO!
These films have a certain style and flair, helped greatly by Barry Gray's music. The plot is simplistic and cliché, but has a dash of originality. There is the ongoing Thunderbirds obsession with the form and function of ships and other vehicles. The biplane acrobatics were very well done, and the music playing when the biplane first appears is comical and appropriate. Every scene and transition seems lovingly crafted and there is no doubt that this film is a work of art.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
'Thunderbirds Are Go!' failed to set the box office alight in 1966 (
strange considering it was generally entertaining and afforded British
fans the chance to see their favourite characters in colour ). But
United Artists was convinced that there was a hit movie franchise in
Gerry and Sylvia Anderson's 'Supermarionation' television series, and
gave the go-ahead for another colourful escapist fantasy. By this time,
the show had ended, 'Captain Scarlet & The Mysterons' was in production
( with 'Joe 90' cleaning his spectacles in readiness for the 1968/69
season ). 'Thunderbird 6' is a rather different kettle of fish to its
predecessor. The cod-disaster movie/sci-fi tone has been replaced by a
much lighter approach, with a greater emphasis placed on 'Lady
Penelope' and 'Parker'. Unlike 'T.A.G.' - which took ages to involve
the Tracy family in the action - this has them on screen almost from
the start. It opens with 'Brains' pitching a 'new' idea to a major
aircraft corporation - an airship. The Board laughs at him, but decide
to build it anyway. The result is 'Skyship One', and it takes off with
Lady Penelope, Parker, and Alan Tracy aboard. Unbeknowest to them, the
crew has been murdered and replaced by impostors, headed by the
mysterious 'Black Phantom' ( the Hood under an alias ) who has bugged
the ship, and is secretly taping Lady Penelope's every word in order to
construct a fake message to lure International Rescue into a trap. Back
on Tracy Island, Brains is going frantic trying to find a design for
the proposed addition to the 'Thunderbird' fleet - 'Thunderbird 6'...
This feels more like an episode of the series than its predecessor. No bad thing, of course. The regular characters get more to do, and there are some pleasing sequences where Lady Penelope enjoys her round-the-world trip, taking in such sights as the Pyramids of Egypt. Keith Wilson ( who sadly passed on last year ) produces some stunning sets - the games room with playing cards adorning the walls and huge chess pieces is like something out of 'The Avengers', while the gravity compensation room ( the setting for the climactic shoot-out ) is worthy of a James Bond film. The scene with the passenger-laden Tiger Moth flying over the countryside is breathtaking to watch even now. Unlike the first film - which got a big premiere in London - it sat on a shelf for several months, before creeping quietly into a cinema one Monday afternoon, where it was virtually ignored. The movies turned up on television eventually, and for a long time were the only 'Thunderbirds' available. Anderson made one more feature - the live action sci-fi drama 'Doppleganger' ( also known as 'Journey To The Far Side Of The Sun' ) starring Roy Thinnes and Ian Hendry. It fared little better. Jonathan Frakes' 2004 live-action feature 'Thunderbirds' might have stood a chance had it not committed the inexcusable error of snubbing Anderson.
The final scene where 'Thunderbird 6' is revealed comes as no real surprise, but provides a nice sense of closure to the Tracy family's adventures. And has a positive message we would all do well to heed - that despite the myriad uses of modern technology, sometimes the old ways are the best. F.A.B.!
Having just seen the Thunderbirds (2004) remake, I've decided that
Thunderbird 6 is great although I've bagged Thunderbirds are GO in the
past (the other movie that spelt the end of the TV franchise). But it
brings up the question yet again, like the show, why if International
Rescue is to remain secret do the members of it keep going around
telling everyone who they are! And why would IR go on this
around-the-world trip when it isn't a rescue situation?
Still, I think the sets and special effects are great and parts are suspenseful, but I could've done with less of Alan and Jeff Tracy (two really annoying characters even if they are puppets) and more of the other characters. And Brians' little tiff at Jeff's 'bullying' of him to build another Thunderbird quick smart, reminds me of a workmate who was having a hard time with the boss and who...oh, never mind.
Slow but good stuff.
Having just completed on working as an expert contractor on the
production of "Airship One" a revolutionary new airship with a
private airline company, Brains is tasked with performing his day job.
Despite the thunderbirds generally able to cope with the problems
facing them, and no other siblings to drive the bloody thing, Jeff
Tracy decides he needs a new ship Thunderbird 6. While Brains tries
to design something without Tracy giving him even a hint of a spec to
work from, Lady Penelope, Alan, Tin Tin and Parker are guests of honour
on the maiden voyage of Airship One.
I could criticise it on the basis of plot but that would be akin to clubbing a baby seal because, despite howlers in logic and such the story pretty much does what it is required to do in setting up various adventures for the Thunderbirds to get into. It has elements of bigger themes but seems happy just to stick to the basics and doesn't do anything that interesting and lacks any real excitement or tension. Of course this has something to do with the delivery which is, obviously, quite wooden. To fans though this is all part of the appeal and those that enjoy the series will find more of the same here and will enjoy it as such. Casual viewers will be distracted by it for its novelty value but (like me) may struggle to care enough to stick with it.
The puppets are just what you expect and the models are good for their period we're not talking Star Wars here but it has an unique feel that is unmistakably Gerry Anderson. Again it is not really fair to criticise it simply for being what I knew it would be so it did look good for what it was. The voice cast are solid enough but Finn (Tin-Tin) is the weakest of the lot, making her young woman sounds like some old woman in the post office.
Overall though, you know what you are getting when you start this. It is a solid and dated affair which won't win over too many children nowadays but fans will enjoy it because it does just what the series did if you liked that then you should like this.
Like the "Thunderbirds" TV series and the film "Thunderbirds Are Go", this
movie covers the adventures of the Tracy family of super-secret rescue
agents. But although the effects are as good, this time plot defects
The characters pretty much ignore their "secret" status when they openly sign on as passengers for an experimental antigravity ship, which turns into a Titanic-style disaster when a crew of saboteurs take over. They did cute things with the "Supermarionation" marionets (like skiing scenes). But the plot holes finally drag down the film.
Even Anderson's generally-excellent special effects suffer; in place of elaborately staged scenes with a model, the film's rescue craft (a biplane) is often shot as a radio-controlled model plane shot in reality, buzzing a real castle instead of Lady Penelope's soundstage set. It's not convincing. Republic's movie serials were able to mix real-world buildings with props well; Century 21 Productions didn't do it here.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
if you watched this movie you're hopelessly shameless. if you even
bother to remember this stuff you're probably kind of shameless too. my
mother never heard of this and didn't even remember or know my brother
and i were avid watchers and fans of this Saturday morning brain mush.
i've even met other baby boomers who barely took note of this show and
others who were embarrassed by it to the point of denial. so it's not
retro nostalgia for everyone. this kind of thing is not always for
do i like this? well, yeah, i guess. but i'm not sure that my opinion isn't a little warped or damaged about movies like this. i was a brain washed kiddie consumer like most of my generation and i was always partial to cartoons and fantasy shows and TV shows with puppets.
i think the main question to be asked of any cinema buff or student, is whether 'Supermarionation' is a pure cinema process that makes any real contribution to the techniques and art form of cinema. i mean nobody even uses marionettes in movies these days except in farce or to purposely freak people out. i don't even know how much i actually warm up to the technique here. when i was a child i was both strongly drawn and simultaneously repelled by the whole thing. the marionettes kind of scared me and i even remember having nightmares about this show. i guess i also equated the show a little with the whole 'Curse of the Doll People' thing.
whether or not you find 'Supermarionation' disturbing or scary or just plain kitschy, this is the place it started and pretty much perfected it. the 'Marination' here is equally as good as the 'Team America' spoof decades later, but the plot and concept here are much simpler and corny. you do have to be somewhat "hardcore" to even like this.
By the time this belated TV spin-off appeared, Captain Scarlet had come and gone and Thunderbirds was yesterday's news. Such was the shallow fickle values of us kids back in the 60's. I was very surprised to see this announced for production in TV TORNADO. I recall the vast amount of hype the original film received and assumed for years it had been a box-office success. However, the whole Anderson supermarionation empire was in its decline as fashions changed by the late 60's. Joe 90 was to appear to a less-than-rapturous reception and The Secret Service was virtually stillborn. At least Joe got his own comic and a Big Rat toy. All I recall of The Secret Service was a clip on Magpie and a Sweet cigarette picture card of the Rev Unwin. This might not have mattered so much if the Anderson's had learnt the lesson of the previous film. How many producers get the opportunity to make a sequel to a film that flopped? While the plot against the Tracey's by Black Phantom (is it really a suddenly vain toupeed Hood?) is a more satisfyingly personal drama as opposed to the Zero X launch, the whole plot is, again, a bog-standard TV episode dragged out with whimsical foreign interludes that exercised the model makers ingenuity but fatally kill any sense of pace. The finale of the Skyship delicately balanced on the aerial wrenches up the tension but is too little too late - and it drops onto a missile base for added pyrotechnic value. I recall some publicity being raised on national TV news by the live-action shots of the bi-plane roaring over an unfinished motorway. I suspect Anderson was more interested in these as a calling card to show he could handle live-action as opposed to puppetry so - like The Secret Service - this serves as a transitional film to the human-based melodramatics of the 70's with UFO and Space 1999. While Anderson could handle full-sized action, endowing his non-marionette figures with any breath of humanity often proved beyond him.
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