"Tracy Family Values"
What You Need To Know:
The plot to THUNDERBIRDS is not genius nor original, but it works. It’s fun to see the Tracy family in peril and watch young Alan persevere and come to the rescue. He learns important lessons about the danger of hubris and the necessity of working as a team. The lessons are clearly stated, even for young audiences. Several biblical commandments are demonstrated by the Tracy family, which shows great moral focus. Sometimes the movie veers into slapstick territory, but the clever action scenes keep it from slowing down too much. Children will enjoy this movie, and parents shouldn’t mind it either.
(BB, O, L, V, M) Very strong moral worldview and moral premise in which family dedicates their lives to rescuing people and abiding laws, with an occult element that has villain using evil mind control powers and being defeated at one point by such powers; two light obscenities, characters start to say a couple obscenities but don’t, and use of “turd” in an insult; light action violence includes punching and kicking people, hanging from a ledge, villains sprayed with goo, henchman stung by jungle insects, and an explosion aboard a spacecraft; no sex, nudity, alcohol, or smoking, but shot of female villain’s rear end; and, child disobeys parent but is rebuked, and villains try to rob banks but are caught and rebuked.
THUNDERBIRDS is a live-action adaptation of the kitschy 70s television program that puts adults in purgatory so the children can save the day, much like SPY KIDS. Jeff Tracy runs International Rescue with his sons. They jet around the world in their impressive Thunderbirds machines to save people from big disasters. The movie’s opening sequence, in which the Thunderbirds save some workers on a flaming oil rig, is a spectacular start. When an evil mastermind called The Hood (played by Ben Kingsley) tries to steal the rescue machines and take over Tracy Island, it is up to Jeff’s youngest son, the young teenager Alan, and his two friends Fermat and Tintin to defeat the villains and keep the Thunderbirds operating.
The plot is not genius nor particularly original, but it works. It’s fun to see the Tracy family in peril and watch young Alan persevere and come to the rescue. He learns important lessons about the danger of hubris and the necessity of working as a team. The lessons are clearly stated, even for young audiences.
The Tracy family’s only mission is to save people and rescuing innocents is even more important than catching the bad guys, which reveals great moral focus. The Hood threatens the lives of Alan’s entire family, including Alan himself, but when Alan has the chance to let The Hood fall to his death, he pulls him up and lets his enemy live. Alan Tracy loves his enemies, even when they wish to do him harm, and in doing so, fulfills a biblical imperative.
Sometimes the movie veers too far into slapstick territory, as some parts resemble HOME ALONE’s Kevin setting traps for the bumbling burglars. The occasional cartoon sound effects also make the movie unpalatable to slightly older audiences. However, the clever action sequences are exciting and well-directed. Also, Ben Kingsley adds a bit of distinction to the movie and helps to make it a little more serious.
THUNDERBIRDS encourages cooperation, service and humility. Alan tries to work for selfish aims at the beginning, but he learns that it’s pointless and unfulfilling. The movie is paced well and moves through its hour-and-a-half pretty quickly. Children should enjoy this movie, and parents shouldn’t mind it too much either.