(director: David Lane; screenwriters: Gerry Anderson/Sylvia Anderson; cinematographer: Harry Oakes; editor: Len Walter; music: Barry Gray; cast: voices: Peter Dyneley (Jeff Tracy, voice), Sylvia Anderson (Lady Penelope Creighton-Ward, voice), Shane Rimmer (Scott Tracy, voice), Jeremy Wilkin (Virgil Tracy/Hogarth, voice), Matt Zimmerman (Alan Tracy/Carter, voice), David Graham (Gordon Tracy/Brains/Aloysius Parker, voice), Keith Alexander (John Tracy/Narrator, voice), Gary Files (The Hood/Black Phantom/Captain Foster I/Lane, voice), Christine Finn (Tin-Tin/Indian Fortune-teller, voice), John Carson (Captain Foster II, voice), Geoffrey Keen (James Glenn, voice); Runtime: 90; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Sylvia Anderson; MGM Home Entertainment; 1968-UK)

“I think even children will find this chatty film rather dull.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Thunderbird 6 was a disappointing big-screen remake of the popular 1960’s British sci-fi cult tv series Thunderbirds (the second such attempt, Thunderbird Are Go was released in 1966). The children’s sci-fi film has an all-marionette cast (“the puppets were approximately eighteen inches in height, and were usually marionettes manipulated by wire, by puppeteers standing on a catwalk about eight feet above the floor. In closeup shots, the marionettes were often replaced with wireless ‘rod puppets’ that can be controlled from beneath”). The unremarkable film is directed by David Lane (“Invaders from the Deep”) and is written by Gerry Anderson and Sylvia Anderson (one of the voices). Its plusses are that it looks pretty good, doesn’t talk down to children and is filmed in a majestic “Supermarionation.”

Brains is the mastermind genius designer for International Rescue, who has created five futuristic high-tech air-space-and sea-craft known as Thunderbirds. International Rescue is run by Jeff Tracy, who asked Brains to design a new rescue craft that’s to be known as Thunderbird 6. But his prototype gets rejected because it’s low-tech and not cost-effective.

Meanwhile, Brains’s anti-gravity luxury airliner Skyship One is hijacked while on its maiden voyage. The crew of the airship has been replaced with “air pirates” from the rival New World Aircraft Corporation. The pirate spies are led by the suave Captain Foster, intent on setting a trap to capture the other members of International Rescue and their vehicles. Those held hostage are Jeff’s son Alan Tracy, Alan’s sweetheart Tin-Tin, undercover operative Lady Penelope Creighton-Ward, and her Brit chauffeur Parker.

I think even children will find this chatty film rather dull. It flopped at the box office.