The Thunderbirds, a high-tech secret force employed by the government, face off against their nemesis, who has landed on their island and is attempting a coup by using the team's rescue vehicles.

Scott Hardie: “It was ok.”

Somehow not terrible.

That's what I thought of the film after I saw it. Not only is it the latest seemingly cheap entry in the children's-film/action-film hybrid subgenre (of which audiences have already grown reasonably wary), but it jettisons the marionettes and barely shows the ships, the two things that made the TV series so dear to fans. This was a recipe for doom, and credit is due to director Jonathan Frakes (how I will miss his career after this flop) and whichever executive greenlighted the $60-million budget. Frakes made the film an enjoyable, light-hearted romp that balances theme, plot, character, and action setpieces surprisingly well, and the budget was spent well on top-notch visual effects and set design, even if the use of bluescreen was a touch excessive.

I saw the film with a die-hard Thunderbirds fan -- in fact, that's pretty much the only reason I saw it -- and he was even more pleased than I was. So it can't be terrible. But how?

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