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Film: Thunder Birds

Thunderbirds is a live-action/CGI action movie directed by Jonathan Frakes, and starring Ben Kingsley, Bill Paxton and a young Vanessa Hudgens, released in 2004. It is based on Gerry Anderson's famous Supermarionation show, Thunderbirds. It flopped spectacularly, due in part to the film missing much of what made the TV series so popular.


Thunderbirds provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Action Girl:
    • Lady Penelope, even more than in the series.
    • Tin-Tin, unlike in the series.
  • Alternative Foreign Theme Song: There is a Japanese theme song for the Japanese version of the film.
  • Butter Face: Transom's introduction has her climbing down a ladder in some very form-fitting Painted-On Pants, complete with Male Gaze... Then she turns around.
  • Call Back:
    • "Fermat/Alan, my friend, what you don't know can't hurt you."
    • And this one:
      Jeff: Saving lives is a dangerous business. But it's what we do.

      Alan: I don't want to save your life. But it's what we do.
  • Casual Danger Dialog: Lady Penelope is being attacked by the Hood's Evil Genius. All she has to say is this:
    Lady Penelope: Do you know how much a manicure costs these days?
  • Dangerously Genre Savvy: The Hood.
    • When a vital component needed for his plans goes missing, he knows exactly who to blame. Regardless of the fact he supposedly killed them earlier in the film.
      The Hood: Clever Alan. (henchman looks at him, confused). It's the children. They have it.
      Henchman: No way. They're dead. No one could survive something like that.
      The Hood: I did.
    • He also doesn't try to storm the International Rescue facilities with the team at home, instead exploiting Chronic Hero Syndrome by setting up an emergency for them to tackle. This leaves their home base completely open for him to walk in and take.
      The Hood: It would be almost impossible to force the Thunderbirds to leave their facilities; on the other hand, it requires no effort at all to simply let them go.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Parker
    Henchman: You've broken my nose!
    Parker: Yes, that was the intention of the maneuver.
  • Demoted to Extra: The elder Tracy brothers are co-leads in the series. They're Distressed Dudes through most of the film.
  • Heroism Equals Job Qualification: Alan Tracy gets made a full member of the team after saving the day... despite the fact he's only 14 YEARS OLD!!
  • An Insert: The live-action movie, as an in-joke on the series' use of human hands in close-ups, cuts to a puppet hand pressing a button at one point.
  • Large Ham: The Hood.
  • Phony Newscast: The movie somehow manages to shoehorn a reporter (the same reporter at that, and played by the director's wife Genie Francis to boot) into every scene in which the Thunderbirds appear in the outside world.
  • Precision F-Strike: From Brains of all people (in addition to his earlier attempt, after which a track in Hans Zimmer's score is named — "Fafafa... No Way!"):
    Brains: DAMN IT, JEFF, WAKE UP!
  • Product Placement: The Ford motor company provided many of the vehicles used in the film, and they're going to make damn sure you know it.
  • Psychic Powers:
    • The Hood's powers are given a massive beef-up, from simply reading Kyrano's mind in the show to actual telekinesis and PG-rated Mind Rape.
    • Tin-Tin also has psychic powers.
  • Race Lift: Kyrano and his family are now from India instead of Malaysia. Still Asian, just a different part of Asia.
  • Self-Deprecation: On the DVD Commentary, Jonathan Frakes introduces himself as "the alleged director of Thunderbirds."
  • Speech Impediment: B-B-Brains' t-tendency to s-stutter is t-t-t-t-taken t-to r-r-ridiculous e-e-extremes.
  • Stealth Pun: Penelope's FAB1 was changed from a Rolls-Royce to a Ford Thunderbird.
  • Traveling at the Speed of Plot: In the climax, Thunderbird 2 manages to get to London from Tracy Island (in the freaking South Pacific) in the amount of time it takes Parker to pick a lock, a lock which is even implied to be straightforward for him to pick. Thunderbird 1 proceeds to make the same journey in the amount of time it takes the Mole to drill under the Thames into the "Bank of London".
  • Who Watches the Watchmen?: "Who will rescue the rescuers?"
  • The Worf Effect: Lady Penelope and Parker deliver an effortless Curb-Stomp Battle to the Hood's goons largely so he can look more impressive when he defeats them with his Psychic Powers.


Thunderbirds F 2 Thunderbird 6Recap/Thunderbirds    
Taeter CityScience Fiction FilmsThe Time Machine 1960
Three ExtremesFilms of 2000 - 2004 Tiger Cruise

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