My son (age 6) came across another T-birds movie at the video store & wouldn’t stop talking about it, so I looked here & discovered Thunderbirds Are GO. Well, my kid now thinks I am the coolest dad in history. He’s watched it faithfully twice a day for a week–I’m begining to worry! When I found that it was a 34 year old film I was astounded with its quality of character development and technical accuracy (I’m an aerospace journalist)–much of the story is plausible if we could ever afford it! The dream sequence is hilarious. I especially like “Brains” a 60′s era Nerd who helps the Thunderbirds. All he needs is a pocket protector.
I hope someone makes a new release of the other T-birds titles.
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As a child, I enjoyed Gerry Anderson’s other supermarionation productions; Supercar, Stingray, and most notably Fireball XL5. When Fireball went off the air, I was despondent until the release of the Thunderbirds. I watched the television broadcasts religiously. Thunderbirds Are Go and Thunderbird 6 are fantastic movies that are now being enjoyed daily by my four year and myself. My only critisism is that the full complement of craft are not represented in either of the feature length productions. Anyway, I’m happy to see the television broadcasts are being released February 27, 2001. That is my birthday and my son (and daughter) have promised me this special gift. F.A.B. Here’s to living in the futuristic past. ~T
Between September 1965 and December 1966, British TV viewers had the opportunity to watch a program featuring a family (the Tracy’s) represented by marionettes. The family members had devoted themselves to rescuing others (also played by marionettes) who had gotten themselves into various forms of trouble, usually due to some type of technical difficulty, weather or sabotage. Calling themselves “International Rescue”, the Tracy family was more popularly known by the various high-tech vehicles that they used: the Thunderbirds, which was also the name of the TV program.
Consisting of 32 episodes (26 during its first season and 6 during its second), BBC-TV cancelled “The Thunderbirds” early into its second season. Knowing that their show had been cancelled, the show creators, Gerry and Sylvia Anderson, produced a feature length film entitled “Thunderbirds Are Go” that was released in British theaters 10 days before the final television episode aired on December 25, 1966. The film’s fictional story was about the first manned space flight to Mars using a spacecraft called “Zero-X”. On take-off, the Zero-X crashes. Two years later, an investigative committee concludes that the crash was due to sabotage. With the impending take-off of the second Zero-X mission, mission commanders decide to ask International Rescue for assistance with security. However, International Rescue has never provided security, as its mission has been limited to helping those who are already in trouble. After thinking it over, John Tracy (voice of Ray Barrett) decides to assist. Involved in the security efforts are Jeff Tracy (voice of Peter Dyneley), Gordon Tracy (voice of David Graham), Brains (voice also done by David Graham), Scott Tracy (voice of Shane Rimmer), Alan Tracy (voice Matt Zimmerman), Virgil Tracy (voice of Jeremy Wilkin), Lady Penelope Creighton-Ward (voice of Sylvia Anderson) and her chauffeur Parker (voice also by David Graham). After the launch of Zero-X, its crew makes an interesting discovery on Mars before returning to Earth; but their return landing may require the International Rescue’s assistance again. Keeping up with what was then popular 1960′s culture, the Anderson’s created marionette versions of the British pop band “Cliff Richards and the Shadows” and featured the band’s song “Shooting Star” in the film.
Two years after “Thunderbirds Are Go” was released, one more Thunderbirds feature-length film was released two years later: “Thunderbird Six”. Though no new Thunderbirds episodes or feature-length films were ever made using Gerry and Sylvia Anderson’s “supermarionation” technique, a steady cult following of the show that has lasted nearly 40 years brought about the production of a live-action version that was released in theaters in 2004. Aptly titled “Thunderbirds” and directed by long-time “Star Trek” actor Jonathan Frakes, the 2004 film did not live up to most Thunderbird aficionados’ expectations.
Overall, I rate the 1966 supermarionation film “Thunderbirds Are Go” with 4 out of 5 stars. It continues to be a very entertaining film even after nearly 40 years, though it may seem somewhat campy by today’s standards. Other TV series that the Anderson’s successfully produced using supermarionation include “Supercar” (1960-1962, supermarionation), “Fireball XL5″ (1962), “Captain Scarlett and the Mysterons” (1967) and “Joe 90″ (1968). After that, the Anderson’s started producing live-action TV series that include “U.F.O.” (1970-1971) and the more familiar “Space: 1999″ (1975-1977).