Thunderbirds Are Go!

Thunderbirds are Go!, the remake of the 1960’s TV show, is coming to Amazon Instant Streaming after a successful first season in the UK.

Although the characters are now in full CGI, they’ve managed to retain a surprising amount of visual style from the classic 60’s show. The CGI retain much of the artistic style of the original faces and heads that drew many people to the original Thunderbirds. Another wonderful touch is the detail taken to each background. Scenery ranges from lush island views to beautiful greenery to ocean settings. Some background shots look as though they were pulled from someone’s painstakingly detailed miniature model kit, but it just works. The beautiful effects shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone, once you realize the famous Weta Workshop (Lord of the Rings, District 9, Mad Max: Fury Road) was involved in blending model work with CGI. The combination is a winning one, and lends itself to visuals unlike anything I’ve seen in a CGI cartoon in recent memory. It’s pretty impressive!

As with the original show, Thunderbirds Are Go! focuses primarily on the Tracy family. The Thunderbirds operate out of Tracy Island, which acts as their home and secret base that houses a number of impressive vehicles capable of land, sea, air and space travel. Fans of the original series will fondly remember the classic, “5… 4… 3… 2… 1…” any time International Rescue is called to action.

Unfortunately, while the pilot serves up a whole cluster of intense action, there isn’t a whole lot of coherent plot early on. They try to set up a whole lot of characters without much explanation as to who these people are, who is funding them, where they got their fancy spacecraft and such. We see lots of things breaking, we’re rapidly introduced to the main cast of characters and International Rescue (IR) are called in to save the day. The whole intro really tries to drive home that the Thunderbirds are everywhere: in the sky, the sea, in space and on land.

Much to my enjoyment, the pilot does introduce a familiar villain from the original series and sets up a whole lot for the remainder of the season. The series is geared toward a younger audience (ages 6-11), so don’t expect anything too intense.

Season 1 of Thunderbirds Are Go! will have its US premiere on Amazon on April 22nd. You can view Ring of Fire, Parts 1 and 2 for free today on Amazon Video.