Thunderbirds Are Go (1966)

Article 2204 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 3-29-2007
Posting Date: 8-25-2007
Directed by David Lane
Featuring the voices of Sylvia Anderson, Ray Barrett, Alexander Davion

International Rescue is called in to keep a new spaceship called Zero-X from being a victim of sabotage by enemy agents.

I vaguely recall having seen at least one of these Gerry Anderson series as a kid (I think it was “Stingray”). I remember liking it all right, but it never really became a favorite, and its been years since I’ve seen any of them; this is my first reexposure to them in three and a half decades. I do like some aspects of it very much; the puppets move and emote with an understated subtlety, the movie takes itself rather seriously, and some of the puppet movement is quite effective. I also like the use of color and the set design; it’s full of lots of appealing little details. Furthermore, there is a real charm to the proceedings. These pluses are a good thing, as it compensates for the occasional turgid pace and the rather static presentation at times. At least one of the reasons for the latter problem is that the puppets are rarely seen walking; most of the scenes involving them have them remaining in one place, and after a while you really get to notice it. Still, I can understand why they were reluctant to have you see them walking around; the one scene where you really get a good look at their leg movement (during a dream sequence which features an appearance of puppet versions of Cliff Richard and his band, the Shadows) shows that they were rather awkward in this regard. Still, it works well enough in this scene, which comes across like a puppet music video and remains my favorite part of the movie; It’s silly, but appropriately so. Still, I suspect that I might have enjoyed this one better had I been a fan of the series.


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