Monday, April 6, 2015

Thunderbirds Are Go 2015 Review

Just finished watching the 2015 Thunderbirds Are Go TV series and I have to say that I was very pleased with what I saw. The 2015 reboot of this beloved franchise isn't a SuperMarionation, but instead a mix of CGI and live model sets. I watched this with my entire family present. Yes, we are all fans of the original and I didn't need to remind myself when it was going to be shown because my son ever so often came up to me to remind me of the air date.

It wasn't a faithful adaptation of the original but it had the key elements that made the original series great. First of course and foremost were the machines and set designs that just made it addicting to watch. The original Thunderbirds had the certain look and feel that made you believe that the story was set in the future. And with the live model sets it gives it a very realistic look, not like the bland and generic staple of cartoon CGI's that we see today. It's really a good meld of high quality CGI with that which is real that it's sometimes hard to tell which is which. And that vehicle weathering that they use, as with the original series, is just pure eye candy.

Then of course we have the Tracy family. In the original series you could really relate to the characters because they are a family. And most of us can relate to that, and even if you didn't have a family, I bet that the family you'd want to have would be the Tracy's, because they were always caring and supportive of one another. Sadly Jeff Tracy, the patriarch is missing and one of the major plot arcs of the series. Scott, Virgil, Alan, Gordon and John however are all there flying their glorious machines and doing whatever it is in their powers to save the day. Cheesy I know but I can lap it up all day given how superb the action sequences were done in the first two episodes.

How else do I know that it sticks to the formula of the original? Because of this little known obscure fact from the original series that I noticed: Scott is the leader but everybody wants to be Virgil. Yep, I thought it was only me but when I noticed that my son's favorite was Virgil from the very first time he watched it then I knew that there was a little bit of truth to that premise. Cool and calm headed Virgil was always the one I liked. But mostly because he flew Thunderbird 2... hehehe. Thunderbird 2 was always the coolest looking vehicle so I was very happy that they didn't veer away too far from the original design. The changes they made kinda reminds me of what was done to the upgraded F/A-18 Super Hornet. A bit larger and squarer, but it still has the original design that we've come to love.

Despite being produced by Pukeko Pictures and Weta Workshop (with all that Oscar baggage), I have to admit that I was a bit skeptical at first on whether it was going to be a success. But after the first two episodes, the initial doubt had been dispersed. The themes in the original series had just the right amount of maturity in it to attract an adult audience and with this reboot I feel the same. Despite it being too early in the season to realistically say that the reboot will be a success or not, I keep my hopes up knowing that from what I've seen today, the future of franchise seems to be in good hands.

Funny thing while we were watching this, the episode hadn't even finished and my son was already nagging me to buy the toys of the 2015 series. Not that I could blame him because I was already salivating with the thought of what the toy line would look like while watching. So yeah, bring on the toys!