peteg's blog - noise - movies - 2023 10 13 ThunderbirdsAreGo

Thunderbirds Are GO (1966)

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Idle curiosity about the source aesthetic for Team America: 1960s Supermarionation! and analog effects — I like it but it's not enough on its own.

This seemed to be a TV episode stretched to feature length. The plot is a generic James Bond thing with a very few face-off disguises like Mission Impossible. The bad guy(s) are unmotivated; know them by their eyebrows. It is assumed that space technology will progress though user interfaces, styling and aerodynamics will remain stuck in the 1950s. There's an American gigantism that (at the time) was struggling to keep up with the USSR.

The pace is soporific as the creators are in love with their constructions, much like a Wes Anderson movie. The contraptions aren't as crazy as Wallace and Gromit so the serious, solemn savouring of every set and design gets tedious. The puppetry is limited by its inability to portray walking. There is life on Mars but the creatives have forgotten that it is the red planet. Notable in the voice cast are two Australians — Charles 'Bud’ Tingwell and Ray Barrett — and a very misguided performance by Cliff Richard Jr.

Overall there's nothing here beyond what you'd get from a few stills; audiences of the day apparently knew this and stayed away. It's probably more fun to read about the production.