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|Index||39 reviews in total|
First of all, everyone needs to get over there are no puppets, we all
would have loved that but hey this is 2015 not 1965. There are projects
(hope all the YOU critics have signed up to the kick starter project)
for A possible future puppets series :-)
This Thunderbird series is not bad at all, in fact it's really good. I have given it 10 to readdress the balance, as some people who have given it 1 is absurd. Yes it's a faster pace (but think about the time restriction) the CGI is fantastic, Thunderbird 3's launch is like something out of NASA footage.
There has been some meddling with the characters, not sure why Brains has now an Indian accent, perhaps he has spent some time out in Asia :-) Jeff Tracey is AWOL but there seems to be a story there, and yes to make it more PC we have females taking a bit more of a role. Nothing wrong with that,remember Gerry's new Captain Scarlet had a female LT Green.
I love the Original Thunderbirds (it is the greatest TV show ever made) but this is as close as you can get to it, and to be honest a lot closer than I thought it would be. There are people who will never be satisfied with any remake, and they need to think about the legacy Gerry has left behind, that Thunderbirds are go 50 years later, and I for one, although apprehensive, am thrilled to see the series, after writing to ITV many times telling them they were on a goldmine, has now been made.
Take this in isolation and enjoy it, I did.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
First off, I'd like to state that at 19, I represent what I call the
"transitional" generation. A generation that got all the classic shows
and cartoons but were also introduced to the new age of animation at a
fairly young age. Recently we've seen a good few remakes and overhauls
of classic shows, such as Bob the Builder and now, Thunderbirds. I had
the classic marionette Thunderbirds on VHS as well as several of my own
puppets when I was young. Needless to say, I loved the Thunderbirds.
And I'm glad to say, I still do after watching the reboot. The premise
has changed slightly: it is now set in 2060 and IR now operates
publicly, as it would be unrealistic in a modern day of cell phones and
constant surveillance for IR to remain secretive. Jeff Tracy is also
absent and the character TinTin has been replaced by 'Kayo', IR's head
of security (though the two differ really only by name). All of the
Thunderbird vehicles have had a bit of a facelift, however the
designers have done their best to stay true to the classic show. While
being modernised, the Thunderbirds themselves still bear striking
resemblance to their 1960s counterparts. There's been updates to the
costumes and some small changes but (for me at least) each character is
easily linked with their old puppet. There's an amazing feeling of
nostalgia the first time you see each Thunderbird launch, with the
classic "5, 4, 3, 2, 1" countdown and launch sequences that, while
again having some changes made, stay very true to the original. The old
lemon squeezer used in TB1's launch bay is included in this new edition
as a homage to the miniature sets used in the 60s. Speaking of which,
while CGI is the most dominant form of capture, many of the sets used
are actually miniatures, just like the old show. For example, in the
pilot where they re-orient a solar dish I noticed a PC power unit used
in the construction of the rear of the dish; another nod to the
classic. The CG on top of real sets at times looks odd and provides
some scaling issues at times, but that's also similar to the classic
(Alan and giant alligators, anyone?).
Action is noticeably faster paced but to keep the attention of kids today, it would need to be. Fans of the classic mightn't be fond of that, but its a concession that it will need to make to be successful. Would you rather a slightly different Thunderbirds, or no Thunderbirds?
Overall, this new Thunderbirds is a fantastic remake that remains grounded by and extremely respectful to its origins. With simple nods to straight up references (such as a brief glimpse of 1960s Stingray in the pilot episode). Things haven't been completely redesigned or remade, they've just been given a coat of polish and a slight facelift and CGI makeover. As you watch the scenes on Tracy Island you'll recognise the old set and you will smile at it. In fact, if you're like me, you'll be sat grinning the entire time as your childhood comes rushing back at you as you watch the swimming pool retract to allow Thunderbird 1 to launch.
I give it a 9/10. F.A.B.
Thunderbirds are Go! And I love it!
I'm such a hard marker I'm annoying and I just gave this a 10. I actually cannot see any valid reason to give it less. Actually, maybe Grandma should bring it down a couple of points, but I'll stick to a 10 even with her. I grew up on the original (yes I'm that old) and was totally hooked as a kid. I'm still hooked (on the original) and force the re-runs on every child in the family as an important part of their basic education. The movie was a nice idea but the less said about that the better. *Because* of the movie, I had low expectations of this latest. Watched the first episode ... after 5 mins I was feeling disappointed. Modern language, no strings attached, blah blah. By 15 mins I was thinking "Damn if I don't think I might like this." By the end of the second episode it's all over ... I'm sold. This series is outstanding and I can't wait for each new ep. Sure the language is 'modernised' .. remember that they have to be all things to all people with this series; children of today won't sit through the dialogue that accompanied the original version, delivered by cgi characters. The balance they've achieved is stunning. The 'remake' eps (e.g. Fireflash) are just as exciting, maybe more so, as the originals. And as much as I might try to get kids to love the originals as much as I do, they .... don't. Times have changed. The kids do love this new series; they love the scripting, they love the action, they love the speed at which it moves, they love the fact that they don't really understand a lot of what just happened. They just love it. And so do I.
Anyone who took this task on was always going to have a hard time of
getting it right, and with the absolute utter abortion that was the
live action version directed by Jonathon Frakes still firmly in
people's minds care and attention was due.
Fortunately a great deal of care and attention has been spent on this show so it works in almost every area, almost.
The set is up is much the same. It's 2060 and the world is united under one army (The Global Defence Force)Thunderbirds already exists, any background as to how or why the organisation was set up is dispensed with. It's run by five brothers, their assistant Brains, and Kyrano, head of their intelligence and in this version a woman. Jeff Tracey is absent although you do get to see his desk. What happened to him is alluded to but not fully explained and will no doubt become a story arc as the show goes on. Someone is causing undersea earthquakes and putting lives in danger so Thunderbirds are Go and its time to launch!
So far so good. The CGI is better than in the live action movie, the new versions of the craft move and feel as though they have weight and have been designed with the flavor, feel and colours of the originals and all work a treat. Time is spent on the launch sequences and these look and feel right. Tracey island looks a little different but not too different and there's even the lemon squeezer on the wall of the Thunderbird 1 launch bay in fact if you keep a close eye on things you will see nods a plenty to the original show. Some of the writing feels a little cheesy but overall works well enough and the updated technology seems in keeping with the times of what may well be possible in the near future.
Some of the characters voices lack depth and I felt a better range of voices could have been chosen for the brothers. Shane Rimmer's voice as Scott in the original show was always going to be hard to match but here at times they blended together, also the CGI look of the characters whilst fine lacked any real emotion on the faces, perhaps to be expected for this type of animation but Alan and Gordon even looked too similar at times that I couldn't always tell them apart. However these gripes were fairly minor and didn't detract from the show the one that did for me was the music. I thought overall the score was weak.
The score for any Thunderbirds show is vital to its success and here I felt it was really lacking in a signature tune. Barry Gray had several stand out scores and easy to identify for each sequence, be that in the danger zone or the Thunderbirds launching sequence. Opening titles aside which paid a suitable homage to Gray, I found the music for the rest of the show a bombastic mess which lacked any real direction or clear emotional underscoring. While Grays shoes were large to fill here is one area they really didn't succeed in my view. That major gripe aside I will watch the show and suspect I will enjoy finding out where the back story of Hood goes as long as he is not a main feature in every episode. Otherwise it will feel like a spy show and not a show about rescues from disaster. The introduction of a new Thunderbird at the end was a nice idea though its worth pointing out that Tracey Island had this same vehicle in the original show, it just had a different name. The pilot was 55 minutes but the main show will run at 30 minutes which with the fast paced editing that CGI animation allows will probably be about right. All in all a commendable effort and not the mess it could have been.
I watched the original when I was a kid, I think they have captured the spirit of the original, sure it is updated no strings :) But the stories are really good they still have some of the look of the original, the ships and landscape, was glad I found this brings the kid out in me again. I love countdown scenes, and I see they kept the big eyes of the characters. I hope they keep the quality up and this ends up being a long run. I don't see how anyone that watched the original could not like the remake, I feel like I have stepped back in time kind of. I like the cast the voices seem to fit the characters they are playing it is just fun show to watch.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
NB: I'm going to do my best to update the review as more episodes air;
as I appreciate it is unfair to criticise and review something that's
only aired one or two episodes.
I will state that I am in my early 30s and so in the middle between the youngsters that this new series is aimed at and those like my dad who grew up when Gerry Anderson's creations were hitting the small screen for the very first time. I have the benefit of having been in the position of being someone young when introduced to something old, and "young enough" to understand the entertainment needs of todays youth.
There are many things about it that will take some getting used to, definitely for the oldest fans as well us from the 1990s. In the first two (double-bill) episodes, "Ring of Fire", all the things I were irritated about were logistical. The constant music all the way through started to distract and grind after a while, and the constant countdowns (using the late, great Peter Dyneley's voice) got repetitive - Given that the first episode was a double-bill, there were more launch sequences, so I hoped that Jeff's voice wouldn't feel as overplayed in the 30 minute episodes. To my surprise and relief, there was only one countdown in the third episode "Space Race" and it was Alan's voice when launching TB3.
The pace of "Ring of Fire" was even too quick for me and speaking to my dad he found it hard to keep up with. However, my nephew absolutely loved it and was hooked from start to finish. Given that he is the target audience, that is all that matters and the rest of us will just have to manage. I was very happy to watch it again and since I expected the pace, it was a lot easier to watch and keep up 2nd time around. However when the "one-rescue, one-plot" per episode format returned for the following episode, the pace and feel was a lot more comfortable. You felt more in suspense of the story. The episodes do have a few plot holes, but let's face it, what fictional entertainment doesn't to some degree?
Being a geek of the original (thanks, dad!) I get a lump in my throat many times. There are so many "lemon squeezer" moments (hardcore fans of the original, and those on the Official Fanderson Facebook page know my reference there!). Alan's crush on Kayo (Tin Tin); TB2 dropping Pod 4 onto the water; Parker's line of "ome m'lady" amongst many things...
I loved the interplay between Kayo and the Hood, and all the talk about Jeff has got me curious and wanting to know more. All the technological updates were more or less perfect - they kept all the original stuff that could plausibly be true in the 2060s, and updated everything else that was just too out there. The mixture of CGI and models was smooth in places, a little sticky in others, but mostly very very impressed with that. The way the solar collector slid down the hillside in "Ring of Fire" took my breath away and it threw me back to the 'supermarionation' effect of the old series; and the "cinematography" of the CGI in "Space Race" was very well directed. That in turn means I was able to appreciate the creative-side of the program.
Some people of a certain demographic have lamented some character changes as 'PC', however while they may be some truth in this I can only see it as living in a more globalised world - a trend that will only continue into the near future. For example, I wouldn't say Brains being Indian is being PC at all. In fact, India's science and technology development is currently (today) quickly becoming one of the best in the world. It's not just feasible but totally probable that there will be many such 'Brains' out there in the near future - unlike the 'Western' superiority domination that existed in the 60s and some argue still today. Grandma has gone from being a slightly senile and ageing old dear to someone who is more active, and Parker calls himself the "grey ninja" - and can do things almost Spiderman-like! But, it makes sense that Grandmas in the 2060s will be less able to cook than those from 1960s due to all the automated thingamajigs! Also the life expectancy in 2060 will probably be in the 100s, so a 80/90 year old in a tracksuit and a 50/60 year old ninja - why not!? That's happening even now!
We all have to bear in mind the primary target audience is not us from the 1990s and 1960s. The production team knew full-well that they had a very difficult job with balancing their intended target audience and their 'actual audience'. They were trusted with some Crown Jewels and in my opinion, handled them very well. Something like this will NEVER please everyone. I think they did a great job with all that pressure in mind. I have mentioned above that there are aspects I don't like - so I accept the fact that it's not the 1960s or 1990s anymore, and just enjoy it for what it is. If anything - it's fun to think about the 'old boys' having new adventures. I think everyone who is criticising it based on the original is missing the point. And all those who say that this new series is "destroying a classic" or "messing with their childhood" are just being melodramatic, in my opinion.
Thunderbirds are back, and for me, they are most certainly GO!
P.S. I strongly urge people to read this article from the New Zealand Herald before anyone makes their mind up, or decides to write a review: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/canvas-magazine/news/article.cfm? c_id=532&objectid=11426329
I love this show!! I've only seen re-runs of the original in the 80's when I was in junior high. I enjoyed it immensely especially Scott & Thunderbird 1 (my favorite). Now in my 30's I'm in love all over again. This time it's Virgil & Thunderbird 2 & of course Scott. The CGI is superb & the models are a nice touch. I hope fans of the original will give this a chance & by what I've been reading it seems a lot are. However I must agree that the show is too fast paced which makes it seem over before I have had the chance to digest it. Also it should be at least an hour instead of the 22 or so minutes it currently is. Overall they have stayed true to the original as much as they could. The voices are very nice especially David Menkin & Rasmus Hardiker. All in all I will be watching every episode @6pm then again @7pm on 2+1 then every day on TVNZ OnDemand. There's no doubt about it I'm hooked.
Let me start off saying that they've done a good job reviving the
Thunderbirds series. Like many others I started off skeptic, especially
because of the CGI. But let me tell you, it looks great. Apart from
certain movements from the characters (the puppets from the originals
moved awkwardly as well, so perhaps it's intentional) , they've done an
The cinematography looks great.
Certain (re)design choices look good and are well thought out. They give a realistic feel to the world. Such as the ships and the suits. However, other designs were left out, such as the caps for the Thunderbirds and Parker and the music (much of the music is not on par with the original). It would've been a nice nostalgic nod.
The focus on the different characters is more balanced (e.g. Thunderbird 5 has a much bigger role). And the female cast has a bigger role to play as well. Plus, Brains is now Asian (so hurray for diversity I guess ;) )
My biggest criticism concerns the pacing. Perhaps kids these days like hyperactive TV and/or movies, but what I loved about the original Thunderbirds was its rather slow pacing and attention to (single) details. By pacing things up, scenes lose their tension and sense of urgency. Especially with the bombastic music playing in the background (the original Thunderbirds had lots of silent moments). They want to shove as many action as possible into a single episode.
I think today's kids would be just as appreciative of slower pacing as we were back in the day (but perhaps this is nostalgia speaking)
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Jonathon Frakes TERRIBLE 2004 live action film showed us the danger of
attempting a reboot/refresh of an iconic TV series that is so beloved
and cherished to this very day.
As a huge fan of the original series, I'm happy to say this reboot/pilot episode is a a very good homage to the original and a good "refresh" for 21st century audiences. Richard Taylor and the Weta team have really outdone themselves with the visuals. The ships look amazing and true to the originals (Scott even explains that they have been through a "refit"). Things like the weathering on models that FX wizard Derek Meddings did to make the miniatures look real - its all there in hi-def realism. Even the way the water moves in that strange "high-frame-rate-slowed-down-to-look-real" is there (and note the head of the undersea lab is "Dr Meddings"!). I was gob-smacked at how they made the ships/sets have both realism AND a vibe that "this is looks like a model".
I like the updates to all the sets: definitely reminiscent of the originals but with a modern edge. The updates to the costumes make sense: especially the sashes now being utility belts. The lead characters presentation is pretty good: they look half-way between the original puppets and real people - especially the faces. Parker's nose is there in all its glory!
One of the things that makes the original series difficult for young audiences is that the pace is slow: really slow. The pace here is fast (almost too fast?) and really keeps you on edge. There is a sense of peril - difficult to present when you know that every time "the good guys save the day". My adult son thought the music was great and well done. It certainly is epic, but being a fan of the Barry Gray score it would have been nice to have a little of those classic melodies to tease us old fans.
Not having Jeff Tracy (who appears to be MIA) is quite a plot twist. It appears as if he has been missing for some time and the boys have "stepped up" with John in more of a lead role. It will be interesting to see where this goes as a story arc. I must say, when I heard Jeff Tracy's countdown in the intro: my heart leaped! You HAD me at the count down!
Really looking forward to the rest of the series. The respect and love the creators have for the original series is evidnet and very much appreciated. They have really outdone themselves in this respect. Hopefully the stories will continue in this fine form.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
In short: Thunderbirds Are Go! is an fast-paced show with interesting
plots and rescue operations, yet is brought down by the lack of
interpersonal conflict and character motivation.
Please note that this review comes from the point of view of someone young with no experience or nostalgia for the original series, so this is from a completely new perspective.
Starting with what works with the show, the interesting plots and rescue operations. Though episodic in format, the show has plenty of interesting missions to give International Rescue and is very creative when it comes to that aspect of the show. If you're simply looking for exciting action without being very heavy with drama, this is certainly a good show for you.
The visuals often waver between beautiful realism and clashing CGI. The creators of the show used miniature sets as a homage to the original, and for that same reason decided to make the CGI characters intentionally doll-like and unreal. While the homage may be appreciated by many fans of the old show, it can still be difficult to process. Cartoons are primarily a visual medium, and unfortunately, the stilted facial expressions often do a poor job of communicating emotion to the audience. The miniature sets are incredibly detailed and often stunning, but the jarring animation can be a turn off for some. Though, with some time, you can often get used to the CGI.
The pacing is generally kept rather well, but there are times when things happen too quickly. They often leave you feeling like there was something more that could've been written in. This quick pace is due to the much shorter time constraints of a 22 minute episode. Perhaps if the episode length was half an hour, they could take more time with certain scenes, but the pacing of the action is otherwise OK.
However, for me, the biggest issue with the show is the characters. They seem like interesting foundations for characters, but they're simply not fleshed out. The characters themselves are not given enough screen time to develop. It is clear that everyone is very close and they all care dearly for one another, but their relationships simply do not have enough time on screen. Despite the engaging plot and gripping action, as a newcomer to the franchise, I just don't have much of an emotional connection to the characters. None of them really have internal conflicts, either. Yes, they are all struggling to deal with the untimely disappearance of their father, but this grief is never given much time. Kayo is the most interesting character because of her personal ties and characterization, but even those aren't really given more than an episode.
Overall, the show has decent episodes with a loose overarching plot that needs fleshing out, interesting visuals, but desperately needs more time devoted to the characters and their issues and conflicts.
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