Thursday, July 29, 2004


... or what happens when you leave a boy band alone with the power tools.

When people are making complicated, expensive CGI models, they often first throw up a cheap, low-resolution wireframe. It's crude, lacking in detail, but shows roughly what it'll do.

Thunderbirds is an expensively-rendered movie with a wire-frame script. The acting is crude and blocky, the plot fuzzy in outline, and the pace is clunky. And the dialogue is just a pile of jagged lines.

Which is a real shame - as everything else about it rocks. Frakes has done a great job of assembling a loud, funny kid pleaser. But the instruction manual he was using was still in the original Swedish.

So we're perhaps best off ignoring stuttering Anthony Edwards, Ben Kingsley's brave attempt to act through obviously terminal haemarrhoids, and the Tracy Family Boy Band - they're never really introduced, and the only really interesting one is the Tracy who sits in his space station, obviously pleasuring himself constantly to pictures of world disaster and europorn.

The story centres on the "journey" of young Alan Tracy (who is, irritatingly, one of those people who will Grow Up Rather Pretty). He battles to prove his worth as a Thunderbird, with the help of his stuttering ugly friend Fermat and the obviously cute Tintin. I think the moral is that hot-headed courage is always rewarded. Or that cute blonde teenagers get away with murder. Still not sure.

Alan is shown as Perfect because he accepts Fermat and doesn't mock his stutter, and when he does, he is shown as courageous, big-hearted and noble for apologising. What no-one mentions is that Alan has a squint big enough to fit shelves in.

The absolute saviour of film is Sophia Myles as Lady Penelope. She's mostly right. And when she's not, it's easy to blame the wireframe script which hands her vast portions of raw exposition which she's supposed to carry off by Being Fabulous. It almost works - but the character is on top form when she's served by strong lines ("Put me down! This outfit is couture!" and "It's all right Parker, I didn't need it." - a line, curiously, about a wire frame). The fact that I can still remember the two best lines in the film leads me to suspect that there were only two good lines in the film. Hmmn.

The opening titles are wonderful, by the way. And I'm convinced that Thunderbirds is a great concept for a porn film.

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