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Thunderbirds

Okay, so I'm in my forties. So why isn't this flim aimed fairly and squarely at me? I loved the Thunderbirds when I was a youngster, and was a Captain Scarlett and Stingray fan as well. But this teen movie seems to be missing the point. Busted fans won't admit to this childish stuff, while their dads want glamourous babes rather than only just blossoming young girls

But the fun and excitement of seeing the amazing machines of International Rescue (for real this time - yes, I know) was sensational. The story is disappointing, as it pretty much writes out the rest of the family, focussing on the teens and Lady Penelope.

The jokes are funny and the baddie is splendid, with Ghandi camping it up very effectively. The Hood is a sort of Lex Luthor blended with Carrie out of those telekenisis movies. Ainsley Harriott wisecracks his way through the plot, and survives the Kill Bill moments. The best line of the film sets up the sequel rather transparently, but then I suppose the development costs of building Tracey Island and realising the Mole, T2, that swimming pool and the pink Roller (which is actually a Ford, but who cares) must be ploughed back into a money-making machine.

Having moaned a little, I have to say that this time, the construction of the story goes against type. The children are naughty and are disciplined by Jeff, who finds it hard to punish the son he loves; the children then rescue the adults because they know how to make the equipment work, and they defeat the bad guy. Their relationships are slightly more complex than usual (her blood-ties to the Hood mean she has some of the same gifts), but Alan uses his opportunity not for vengeance but for mercy. Positive values coming through, just for once.

I wasn't convinced by Sophia Myles as Lady Penelope; she doesn't have the legs for the job.

It may have 'no strings attached' but I'm afraid the wooden puppets were just as believeable. .

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