During the half term we were instructed to watch a film and write about it here, the Film I decided to watch was Thunderbirds Are Go from 1966.
Unlike a lot of films Thunderbirds doesn’t use Live Action of Animation, instead relying on a technique called Supermarionation which utilizes puppetry instead. Of course puppets need to be supported with strings and that’s no exception with Thunderbirds, you can tell that they went all out to keep the strings hidden during the movie however you still see them every so often. Of course being puppets it also means that they don’t have much in the way of mobility, this is overcome with moving chairs and walkways that help move the characters without them actually moving, one hilarious example of this is when the man in charge of Mission Control goes to speak to the Zero X crew, instead of standing up and taking the elevator to the launch site he instead has his entire workstation move into the lift, taking it down to the launch site before moving it a whole two metres forward in order to speak to the crew.
A lot of detail was put into the sets for the movie, the inside of the craft are filled with flashing lights and moniters which helps make the whole scene feel alive, there’s a lot going on in the background but the focus is clearly on the characters and that’s something that I think a lot of modern productions have trouble with nowadays. The movie also has a great sense of scale, despite everything being puppetry it all feels to scale, everything seems the right size with the right mass, this is something that I feel the new series of Thunderbirds fails in at times.
At one point there is a strange dream sequence in the movie, it’s odd and feels totally out of place. The only reason it seems to exist is so that Alan can make a comment about dreams at the end of the movie and to pad out the run time, it’s a well put together sequence but people watching will probably be confused as to why they focused on that rather than spending more time with the astronaughts on Mars.
Overall I thought it was a very good film, the plot is reasonable and the effects are brilliant, despite being 50 years old this film holds up incredibely well though there are a few setbacks such as the pointless dream sequence and the fact that, despite being a Thunderbirds film, International Rescue don’t seem to be the focus despite them taking up a large chunk of the screen time. In the end, I’d say that while a great movie it could definitley be improved in places.