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Thunderbirds Set 1

Peter Dyneley , Shane Rimmer    Unrated   DVD
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 59.99
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Thunderbirds Set 1 + Thunderbirds Set 2
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"Filmed in VIDECOLOR [explosions, drum roll, music builds to a climax] and SUPERMARIONATION"! The opening sequence of Thunderbirds is itself a master class in Gerry Anderson's marionette hyperbole: who else would dare to make a virtue out of the fact that (a) the show is in color and (b) it's got puppets in it? But everything about this series really is epic: Thunderbirds is action on the grandest scale, predating such high-concept Hollywood vehicles as Armageddon by 30 years and more (the acting is better, too), and fetishizing gadgets in a way that even the most excessive Bond movies could never hope to rival. Unsurprisingly, it transpires that the visual effects are by Derek Meddings, whose later contributions to Bond movies like The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker echo his pioneering model work here. As for the characters, the clean-cut Tracey boys take second place in the audiences' affections to their cool machines--the real stars of the show--while comic relief is to be found in the charming company of Lady Penelope and her pink Rolls (license plate FAB1), driven by lugubrious chauffeur Parker, whose "Yes, milady" catchphrase resonated around school playgrounds for decades. (Spare a thought for poor old John Tracey, stuck up in space on Thunderbird 5 with only the radio for company.) The puppet stunt work is breathtakingly audacious, and every week's death-defying escapade is nail-bitingly choreographed in the very best tradition of disaster movies. First shown in 1964 and now digitally remastered, Thunderbirds is children's TV that still looks and sounds like big-budget Hollywood.

On this DVD: International Rescue's very first adventure provides a template for all the rest: in "Trapped in the Sky," an experimental new aircraft becomes the target of an evil Bond-style megalomaniac who wants to get his hands on all the neat gear operated by the Tracey siblings. The show introduces, in fetishistic detail, the recurring set-pieces: Thunderbird 1 taking off from the roll-back swimming pool, the question of which pod Thunderbird 2 will use this week--the mole, or the submarine, perhaps?--and so on. Nostalgia fans will be pleased to learn that despite digital remastering the puppet strings are still in evidence, and no amount of high-tech restoration could remove the clunky expository dialogue:

Stewardess: "It's the maiden flight of the new atomic-powered Fireflash."
Passenger: "Isn't that the new aircraft that flies six times the speed of sound?"
Stewardess: "That's right, but don't worry: it's perfectly safe."
[Cut to: interior, Fireflash landing gear, a device clearly labeled "Auto-Bomb Detonator Unit"]
Sinister bad guy (talking to himself for no readily apparent reason): "Perfect. Enough explosives to smash the Atomic Reactor."

In the second episode, "Pit of Peril," an absurdly impractical U.S. Army vehicle falls into the eponymous pit, necessitating use of pod 5, the mole. Joy! Four more episodes are included. --Mark Walker


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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Oops, Forgot The Other Four Episodes Aug. 21 2001
This is a follow-up to my first review of this set, as I neglected to comment on the other four episodes within.
City Of Fire - The Towering Inferno in miniature, as a ten thousand foot tall skyscraper that serves as a monster shopping mall is opened to considerable TV coverage via a hoverjet TV remote. When a woman's foot slips off her brake onto the accelerator, her car plows into parked vehicles, and as the couple on board make for safety, their car explodes and detonates other vehicles within a four-mile-long underground lot. IR is called in as the fire overwhelms all safety systems within the building and ultimately collapses the building - trapping a family of three in a corridor with firedoors stalled shut. Scott and Virgil must cut through firedoors - and must do so with a cutting gas that knocked them unconscious in testing.
There are admittedly nits to pick here - that they would use a cutting gas that knocked them out is a huge stretch, as is the notion that a regular car crash would set off a fire so large as to overwhelm a ten thousand floor skyscraper's safety systems. Still, the episode is a treat.
Sunprobe - Thunderbirds in space, as an audacious space mission - to collect energy matter from the sun - goes wrong. Thunderbird Three with Alan, Tin-Tin, and Scott is launched to fire a radio beam to ignite the Sunprobe's retrothrusters, which have been shut off due to solar radiation. They succeed in saving the Sunprobe, but the real horror begins when Thunderbird Three cannot fire its own retros, and Virgil and Brains must use a vastly powerful mobile transmitter on a ice-covered mountaintop to send a similar radio beam - a task made harder as parameter changes must be calculated out, a task that may take too long.
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5.0 out of 5 stars FAB - naturally March 11 2003
Yes, yes, yes ... dunderklumpen Parker is tripping all over his cockney vowels and Tintin (the non-francophone version) is demurely aiding (wink, wink) Alan, but how can you resist a world where technology is always fallible (planes exploding, reactors exploding, grandma exploding - just kidding) yet can only be saved by the same, now infallible, technology. A feature film with non-stringy actors is being made of this series - it's a guaranteed flop already. You can't tell these stories today with the wide-eyed enthusiasm of thirty years ago. Also, when Thunderbirds was made, the directors were making mini-feature-films. Now, alas, even our biggest films are made to play on TV, just like a movie-of-the-week. It'll look like a Star Trek episode - neat, clean-cut and sanitary with all the soul sucked out of its CGI animated pores. What it won't have is Lord Lew Grade sitting behind it, marvelling at its imagination, egging on its producer, giggling like a large cherubic baby. The original can't be anything other than FAB - a Fully Aknowledged Broadcast.
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5.0 out of 5 stars International Rescue to Bored and Jaded Viewers Dec 27 2001
Money well spent, definitely. This DVD set is very impressive on all counts and truly packed (over 5 hours of entertainment!). Back in the mid 60's, THUNDERBIRDS were huge on Brazilian prime time television. I use to sit in the living-room with my father and younger brother, hypnotized by the show, although we only had black and white TV in my country back then. Now, over thirty-five years later, I can't help but wonder at the cool perfection of the whole enterprise, the complete devotion and seriousness of the producing team -- so much care and talent in every little detail! Make no mistake, this is no nostalgia lure, it is still really thrilling and magical with that kind of pure Zen pleasure in its optimistic display of futuristic technology and gadgetry without a trace of the cynicism and irony that prevail lately. In fact, these remarkable puppets look and act far better than many a real-life actor today... The soundtrack and music score are also of the highest standards, the picture quality a delight.
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4.0 out of 5 stars THUNDERBIRDS to the RESCUE! Oct. 26 2001
I have been a big fan of this U.K. television series from the 1960's for years, and I spent a considerable sum of money just to get the original episodes on VHS imported to the U.S. Some of the prints used for these videos were in bad shape, but I didn't care since this was the only way for me to see them. Not anymore! I got this set (along with a DVD player) as a gift and I must say that I am impressed with the quality of these DVDs (two in the set). The image quality is very crisp and clear and the colors are very vibrant. I have read some reviews where people wished they had digitally removed the puppet strings but I didn't find this to be a major issue. The special features such as the "Making of Thunderbirds" featurette and the gallery of productions stills are great, but I wish there had been some audio commentary and/or video interviews with Gerry Anderson, whom I consider to be the British version of George Lucas. As for the re-mastered soundtrack, you definitely feel the effect of the explosions, but they stand out too much from the rest of the audio (i.e. the volume is really LOUD compared to the other audio elements). I would have preferred hearing the original sound mix, or at least having the option to choose the original sound or the remastered version. Overall, I think Thunderbirds fans will be happy with this set. Hopefully, all of the episodes will be released on DVD in the near future. THUNDERBIRDS ARE GO!
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars If you liked Gerry Anderson, you've got to get this!!
I grew up on Thunderbirds and loved every minute of it. To see the shows rendered in DVD quality picture and sound provides an awesome viewing experience, especially if you have... Read more
Published on Feb. 5 2003 by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Buy
Ahhh.... the wonders of childhood. Yes, I remember the Thunderbirds and I'm glad they're back in the states. Read more
Published on Dec 3 2002
5.0 out of 5 stars Thunderbirds - set 1 is a must have !!!
this 1st set is a must have for Thunderbirds fans! if you only
buy one set you should get this one for sure ! actually set 1 & 2 are my favorite ! Read more
Published on Sept. 28 2002 by Jim
5.0 out of 5 stars Thunderbirds are GO!
It was the 1960s-- Stereotypes still existed, bad guys were obviously bad, good guys were obviously good. The Thunderbirds were obviously good guys, and obviously marionettes. Read more
Published on Aug. 3 2002 by Paul E. Musselman
5.0 out of 5 stars It's a pupper thing....
I never realized that my favorite kiddie shows were all done by the same person - T-birds, Fireball XL5, Stingray, etc. This first set is great. Read more
Published on Feb. 1 2002 by Richard C. Drew
5.0 out of 5 stars Thunderbirds are Go!
This is amazing stuff! You will see great vision & imagination
that now is hard to find. Parents-do not fear this series:
Kids will be shown the high value placed on... Read more
Published on Sept. 2 2001 by "rmwe20"
4.0 out of 5 stars Finally, International Rescue Available For All To See
Thunderbirds is a "lost" gem finally found. Using marionettes amid elaborate sets, Gerry & Sylvia Anderson told the epic story of International Rescue, a family (the... Read more
Published on Aug. 21 2001 by Michael Daly
5.0 out of 5 stars Campy Fun
In terms of fun, I really love it. The puppet animimation does not distract from the stories, which are in fact, pretty cool. Read more
Published on Aug. 12 2001 by Louis B. Davidson
4.0 out of 5 stars Thunderbirds - a retrospective
As a child in England I would race home from school, eat my food and settle down in front of the television set for the latest Gerry Anderson epic production whether it was Torchy... Read more
Published on May 1 2001 by Junglies
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