YMMV / Thunderbirds

Thunderbirds the series

  • Big Lipped Alligator Moment: In Thunderbirds are GO! the musical number sung by Cliff Richard (Jr.) seems out of place with the rest of the film. Even though it did happen in Alan's dream, it's out of place within that context too.
  • Crowning Moment of Awesome: Fireflash's emergency landing.
  • Crowning Music of Awesome
    • The theme tune, which has become a favourite for military bands (see the credits for Thunderbirds are GO! for a good example). Works really well when it kicks in during a particularly dangerous scene.
    • There are lots of other music cues which were often recycled for budgetary reasons, the best of the bunch being the triumphal Fireflash theme.
    • Although a lot slower and quieter, "Dangerous Games" from "The Cham-Cham" isn't bad either.
  • Cut-and-Paste Translation: The redubbed half-hour version from Fox Kids, as well as the truly hideous Turbocharged Thunderbirds.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: "Terror in New York City" (in which Thunderbird 2 is shot at by an American aircraft carrier who have mistaken it for an enemy aircraft) and "Operation Crash Dive" (featuring planes that end up going off course and sinking in water due to engine malfunctions) become harsher to watch after Flight MH370, where the plane went off its scheduled course and crashed into the water, the first of which is never found (and some people suggest the plane was shot down).
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: When J. K. Rowling revealed the American wizarding school Ilvermorney, Thunderbird is the name of one of the houses.
  • Idiot Plot: In the Nintendo (Hard) game based on the show Hood threatens to bombard Earth with meteors in two months unless International Rescue turns the secrets of the Thunderbirds over to him. Ignoring the overkill of this plan, Brains immediately figures out why Hood's deadline is so far away: he needs the intervening time to gather the resources to make good on his threat. And the Tracys immediately discover where he's doing it and work to cut him off. Oops.
  • Memetic Mutation: The part from Thunderbird 6 where the men are laughing was made into this gif.
  • Nightmare Fuel
    • The last ten minutes or so of "Danger at Ocean Deep". Scott and John are risking their lives on a ship that will blow up at any second, in the middle of ghastly, thick fog....and then the water around the vessel starts bubbling and heaving.
    • Some of the "laughing marionette heads" in the opening scene of Thunderbird 6 could also count...
    • The Hood's eyes glow yellow whenever he uses his psychic powers. It's more than just surreal, it's terrifying.
    • The rock snakes of Mars will give you nightmares, especially thanks to the music playing. Just listen.
    • A segment of the "Vault Of Death" score can pretty unsettling, going from quiet to loud and back again, before building up to a loud Last Note Nightmare. The contrast in volume especially dramatic when the score accompanies a scene where an explosive is about to blow open a bank door in said episode. This musical segment is also used in City Of Fire, The Mighty Atom, Brink Of Disaster, Cry Wolf, Danger At Ocean Deep and Path Of Destruction. Give Or Take A Million edits out the dramatic parts at least.
  • Padding: A positive example to a degree. When Lew Grade insisted that the episodes be hour long ones, the producers had to pad out the time of their first stories already scripted and in production. What they did was add in additional plot twists and character asides such the trope immediately below which gave the stories a great sophistication than what they thought was possible.
  • Recycled In Space: A lot of concepts were Ripped from the Headlines sixties tropes given a futuristic spin. For example, pirate radio ships being anchored outside national waters became pirate radio spaceships outside Earth orbit, and Concorde became Fireflash.
  • Values Dissonance: The sexism depicting the major female characters has become glaring:
    • For instance, Tin Tin is rarely much more than a Distressed Damsel
    • Even Lady Penelope gets this. For instance, she is prone to Eek, a Mouse!! panics. It's even worse in "The Imposters" when she goes on a field mission in a rural area and she exudes feminine stereotypes like wearing high heels in a swamp. Would it have been beyond the imagination of the writers to think of have her wearing tailor made combat fatigues and custom machined weapons?
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: The vehicle effects were among the best of their time, and still hold up well against modern CG animation (also true for other Gerry Anderson projects). Save for anything involving water, where, much like most miniature work done in water, the scale issues were pretty obvious. Fire, on the other hand, was a series specialty.

Thunderbirds the movie

  • Creator Killer: Jonathan Frakes film directing career came to a crashing halt after the film tanked at the box office - all his subsequent gigs have been in television.
  • Crowning Music of Awesome: The end credits song by british boyband Busted "Thunderbirds are Go" is one of the few things of the movie that's remembered fondly. Hans Zimmer's score was also excellent, as usual for him.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: Sophia Myles's portrayal of Lady Penelope was received well, being recognised as true to the spirit of the original character. To a lesser extent, Ron Cook's Parker was praised too.
  • Ham and Cheese: Ben Kingsley clearly had fun playing The Hood.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: The song "Thunderbirds are Go", which is played during the end credits of the live-action movie, contains the lyrics "don't be mad please, stop the hating". And considering how universally hated the live action movie is by fans of the TV series...
  • I Am Not Shazam: Hardly ever is International Rescue ever referred to as "International Rescue" (at least in dialogue, the name is still quite visible on some of the Thunderbird craft and various computer screens). The rest of the time, they're the "Thunderbirds", despite that being the name of the craft, not the organization itself. Could be justified when one considers how a real-life International Rescue actually began operations some time after the original series ended, which might've caused some In-Universe conflict. Another reason might be that, in-universe, people just called them the Thunderbirds because they didn't know the IR name, and the Tracys and crew then started using it out of habit. (Universal's marketing department didn't seem to get the memo- trailers and TV spots continued to refer to International Rescue.)
  • Retroactive Recognition: Arguably the only worthwhile aspect of the 2004 movie, for adolescent males at least, was Tin-Tin being played by a pre-High School Musical Vanessa Hudgens.
  • So Okay, It's Average: Seems to be the reaction from pretty much everyone. It might be good for younger Thunderbird fans-in-training, though.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks: The decision to emphasize the Token Trio of children, also making them Younger and Hipper. Likewise the formula appears to be more akin to the Spy Kids movies.
    • The fact that FAB-1 isn't a Rolls-Royce anymore, although in the filmmaker's defense, Rolls-Royce (or more accurately, their owner, BMW) had turned it down, and the customized Ford Thunderbird was pretty cool.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: The other four Tracy brothers have barely any lines or screen time, with the focus being on Alan and the other children.
  • Uncertain Audience: The movie is based on a series made for a full family (both adult and child demographic) from the 1960s. The filmmakers made the odd choice to market it more as a typical 2000s children's adventure film - when that generation of kids probably had no idea what Thunderbirds was. What's more is that the series was British, while the film was American.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: While the redesigns themselves are deemed creative, but poor as redesigns, the Thunderbird vehicles were positively badass-looking in CGI; the oil-rig rescue scene was also impressive.