Film / Thunderbirds

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Thunderbirds is a live-action/CGI action movie directed by Jonathan Frakes, and starring Philip Winchester, 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:

  • Abhorrent Admirer: Transom to Brains, apparently.
  • Action Girl:
    • Lady Penelope, even more than in the series.
    • Tin-Tin, unlike in the series.
  • Alternative Foreign Theme Song: The Japanese version uses "Thunderbird - your voice -" by V6 for the theme song.
  • 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?
  • Cool Car: The FAB-1, even if it isn't a Rolls-Royce this time around- the Ford Thunderbird it is now can fly and double as a liferaft. (Apparently, they had offered Rolls-Royce the job to build a new FAB-1, but they declined because they were busy with creating the RR Phantom.)
  • Creator Cameo: Visual effects director Mark Nelmes is briefly seen as an ice-cream stand operator in London when Thunderbird 2 lands there; for added points, he's wearing the 1960s-style International Rescue hat.
  • 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.
  • Dude, Not Funny!: A stressed-out Alan takes a hard dig at Fermat's stutter. Brains could probably handle it, but Fermat? NOT COOL.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Fermat's comment on how Tintin has "blossomed". Tintin's reaction is justified.
  • Girly Bruiser: Lady Penelope gets some Xenafication — and does so while wearing bright pink. She even uses her parasol as a weapon.
  • 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: As an in-joke on the series' use of human hands in close-ups, they cut to a puppet hand pressing a button at one point.
  • Large Ham: The Hood.
  • Missing Mom: Notably, three fathers are in this show (Jeff, Kyrano, Brains) but no mothers. Grandma Tracy getting Adapted Out means this can even apply to Jeff!
  • Mythology Gag: Unlike the original series, they names "The Hood" and "Tracy Island" are actually spoken in dialogue; previously, only books and other off-screen materials had given the names.
  • Parent Service: Lady Penelope is clearly this - her "Hello Boys" scene sticking out spectacularly. She also gets a scene where she delivers orders to Parker while in the bath.
  • 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.
  • Teen Superspy: Alan, Fermat and Tin-Tin.
  • To the Batpole!: Here, each of the Tracy brothers have their own door with their faces on them, which take them to whichever Thunderbird they need.
  • 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".
  • Victoria's Secret Compartment: the Hood's female assistant stuffs some of the stolen jewellery down her cleavage when no-one is looking.
  • 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.

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