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Thunderbirds (2004)



Average Rating: 4/10
Critic Reviews: 32
Fresh: 5 | Rotten: 27

Live-action cartoon for kids.



liked it
Average Rating: 2.6/5
User Ratings: 21,665

My Rating

Movie Info

Directed by Jonathan Frakes and based on the '60s British television series of the same name, Thunderbirds chronicles the intergalactic exploits of the Tracy family. Set in 2010, the world looks toward the mysterious Tracy Island when mere international security is not enough; the remote South Pacific island not only houses former astronaut and lifelong entrepreneur Jeff Tracy (Bill Paxton) and his five sons, but also serves as headquarters for the top-secret International Rescue organization.

Jan 21, 2003


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All Critics (107) | Top Critics (33) | Fresh (20) | Rotten (83) | DVD (23)

There's enough special effects razzle-dazzle to distract the average ten-year-old, but the script by William Osborne and Michael McCullers is stilted and humorless -- a little camp might have helped.

May 18, 2008 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

What impenetrable, overwrought codswallop this one's turned out to be.

February 9, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A new and rather breathtakingly misconceived attempt to revisit a vintage TV show that did not under any circumstances need to be revisited.

July 21, 2005 Full Review Source: Houston Chronicle
Houston Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop Critic

This is like a C-movie version of Spy Kids. And I didn't even like Spy Kids.

August 2, 2004 Full Review Source: Ebert & Roeper
Ebert & Roeper
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Fun at times and tedious at others, it's an action-adventure fantasy aimed particularly at gadget-loving boys.

July 30, 2004 Full Review Source: USA Today
USA Today
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Not intended for people old enough to pine for the puppets. It's for people who don't remember the first cast of Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers.

July 30, 2004 Full Review Source: Toronto Star
Toronto Star
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Fans of the Spy Kids series will enjoy it.

December 29, 2010 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

There's just nothing redeeming about this movie...

April 29, 2009 Full Review Source: Cinema Crazed
Cinema Crazed

The plot abounds with holes, and the dialogue is often delivered in a bland, perfunctory manner.

November 2, 2006
Christianity Today

Ultra-campy marionettes come to blah life in director Jonathan Frakes' souped-up but poorly written adaptation of the cult English sci-fi kids' show.

September 1, 2006 Full Review Source:

Kids of all sizes and genders are going to be disappointed.

December 6, 2005 Full Review Source: Film Threat
Film Threat

The acting is (pardon the pun) wooden.

July 25, 2005 Full Review Source:

Here the problem is compounded by the fact that few members of the target audience (kids) are even aware of the original series.

November 19, 2004 Full Review Source: PopMatters

The script exploits what's probably the ultimate male child fantasy: proving to Daddy that son is worthy of hero-size respect.

November 2, 2004 Full Review Source: Las Vegas Mercury
Las Vegas Mercury

A glossy, live action adventure yarn based on the 1960's British puppet TV series.

October 24, 2004

An adequately entertaining flick.

October 19, 2004 Full Review Source: Sci-Fi Movie Page
Sci-Fi Movie Page

The filmmakers, clearly never having seen the original TV series, sideline the spacecraft and reduce this debacle to what essentially amounts to boys 'n' The Hood.

August 18, 2004 Full Review Source: Movie Boeuf
Movie Boeuf

What's here is promising, but if the Thunderbirds decide to 'go' again, the filmmakers should involve the whole family, the way this story was intended to be.

August 16, 2004 Full Review Source:

Contains the depth of a petri dish that's already filled to the rim.

August 13, 2004 Full Review Source: Creative Loafing
Creative Loafing

The premise of the TV series has been abandoned just as effectively as the Tracy boys have been marooned in space for nearly the entire story

August 10, 2004 Full Review

There's no variation in tone during the gee-whiz cornball spectacle, causing the movie to meld together into an interminable and substandard action sequence.

August 10, 2004 Full Review

Director Jonathan Frakes throws lots of bright colors and weird gadgets at the audience, but none of this hides the lack of imagination at the movie's center.

August 8, 2004 Full Review Source: Film Journal International
Film Journal International

Thunderbirds is just plain bad.

August 7, 2004 Full Review
Talking Pictures (U.S.)

Audience Reviews for Thunderbirds

Thunderbirds could have been a good movie, all it needed was say something to do with the series or a good script without simplistic dialgoue.
November 6, 2011
Directors Cat
Directors Cat

Super Reviewer

Yikes! I suppose it was only a matter of time before someone attempted a live version of The Thunderbirds, interesting that that someone would be Jonathan Frakes. Gerry Anderson has said many times that he originally wanted his series to be live action but with the many special effects it involved the budget would have been huge so he decided to use puppets instead. I enjoyed all of Anderson's puppet shows when I was younger, he's got a huge cult following but what Frakes failed to realise, is that it's the puppet element that people enjoyed the most. I'm not surprised that fans were more than a little upset about this film. Firstly, the Thunderbirds aren't really in it which is a fairly unforgivable flaw (and they are all about 12 years old, what is that about?), and secondly, it's solely aimed at young kids who would be unfamiliar with the original TV series. If that wasn't enough, the main story basically involves three obnoxious kids running around shouting and 'high fiving' each other every ten minutes and a young lipstick wearing boy who has father issues. It's as awful as it sounds. That said, Bill Paxton was perfect casting considering he was portraying a wooden puppet, although the puppet in the original series was a slightly better actor.
February 28, 2011

Super Reviewer

When I was a kid, I used to watch the Thunderbirds, I thought the show was excellent, fun and Thrilling. I was a little skeptical about watching this film, as it looked like a kids film, and it also looked like the film makers didn't know what they were doing. Boy was I right. Ths film is Aan insult to the original series, and it's fans. They could've at least made a film that the whole family could love, but instead they made a crap film. With it's child oriented humour, the film is a faillure even by child oriented film standards. This film was amusing, but it wore off, and the fact that they 'reinvented' the look and style of the original series was just wrong. They could have at least try to make a film that the entire family could love, instead they simply made this film for kids, this was honestly a bad move. One of the reasons why is becase the original fans of the series were born in the 60's and grew up watching Thunderbirds, my dad grew up on it, and he made me watch it when I was a kid. Anyhow, the film is terrible because every actor here seems miscast for the part, the story is lame, and the actors are plainly silly. Ben Kingsly was a joke in this film, not even his talent could redeem such a horrid picture. I really was hoping for something terrific on screen. Instead we were given a total joke of a movie. The nostalgic feel of this film is absent. The only good thing that came out of this film is that it will reiinforce the status of the original series more. Watch the series instead instead of this filth. This is a film that should not have been made.
November 3, 2010
Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski

Super Reviewer

Really? This is like comparing Spy Kids to Battlefield earth!
February 6, 2010
KJ Proulx

Super Reviewer

Movies Like Thunderbirds

    1. Jeff Tracy: Thunderbirds are go!
    – Submitted by Wouter V (14 days ago)
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