Jonathan Frakes' live action reworking of the cult classic TV series Thunderbirds was "as wooden as the original's puppets". Centred on a family of rocket-riding do-gooders, the mix of high-octane stunts, kitsch sets and growing pains drama failed to wow the critics and didn't strike a chord with audiences either. Despite a prolonged campaign of hype, it tanked on both sides of the pond. Are you still reading this?
Thunderbirds Are Go
Five behind-the-scenes featurettes make up the bulk of this DVD package, the most comprehensive being Creating The Action. Director Jonathan Frakes and his team of British special effects bods deconstruct the London Bridge sequence, comparing early storyboards and CG test shots with the final product. Similarly, Tracy Island Revealed demonstrates how animation technology, elaborate sets and location footage from the Seychelles weaved seamlessly together to create something that looks totally fake.
The remaining featurettes are fun but comparatively superficial. FAB1 reveals the 1954 Ford Thunderbird as the inspiration for Lady Penelope's super car, while her wardrobe and vast array of super gadgets are the subject of Lady Penelope's Pink World. And in case you still haven't had your fill of Penelope, Fun & Stunts follows actress Sophia Myles and Ron Cook (Parker) through fight training in preparation for one of the major action sequences. "I hope we don't look stupid," says Myles, just before sacking her agent.
Frakes is similarly tentative in his audio commentary, introducing himself as "the alleged director". Otherwise he's decidedly mellow, talking about the changes he made as a result of test screenings and how he managed to land Ben Kingsley for the role of The Hood. In case you're wondering, Kingsley is a good friend of Patrick Stewart (from their days in the RSC) who worked with Frakes on Star Trek: The Next Generation. Small world.
12-year-old boys might enjoy the interactive click-a-thon that is Hood Vs Thunderbirds while 12-year-old girls should go nuts for Busted's Thunderbirds Are Go music video. Otherwise this DVD offers a distinctly average selection of bonus features.