The second film derived from the Gerry and Sylvia Anderson's popular TV show - labeled a "deluxe version of the TV series" by Sylvia Anderson in her commentary track, alongside director David Lane - was more influenced by the James Bond phenomenon; and like the Bond films of the late Sixties, the mix of action and humour gave "Thunderbird 6" lighter moments between the action scenes and character deaths (referred to as being "badly stunned").
Much like their commentary track for "Thunderbirds are GO," Anderson and Lane discuss the model work (realized in quite stunning detail for the superb widescreen compositions), special effects, and the vocal artists that deepened a level of character depth already aided by the nimble puppet designs. Like any series, fans will certainly understand and visualize for themselves comparisons made by the commentators between the two films, the original fifty-minute "Thunderbirds" episodes, and the "Captain Scarlet" series that was being shot simultaneously.
MGM's solution for "Thunderbirds" novitiates are a series of featurettes that add some character background, such as "Lady Penelope," aided by interviews with Sylvia Anderson (apparently the lone woman on the male-dominated writing team who kept the testosterone quotient in check), and puppet coordinator Mary Turner. Director David Lane also adds valuable comments, and one can see an amusing (and unintentional?) resemblance between some of the puppet faces with Lane's broad visage, and rather large, dark eyes.
The commentary track also digs into the puppet designs, and like the previous film, some faces do resemble some famous mugs (with the villain bearing an uncanny resemblance to Efrem Zimbalist, Jr.). Actor Geoffrey Keen - a veteran Bond actor - also contributed his voice, adding a contemporary tie-in to the super-spy craze that was cresting at the time.
"Building Better Puppets" adds some necessary behind-the-scenes stills and visual information to the vivid puppets and multi-level sets, and the featurette also covers characters from the first film, "Thunderbirds Are GO."
"Tiger Moth" serves as a comparative featurette between the more action-oriented first film, and the more character-driven, dialogue-heavy second film, as outlined by historian Richard Holliss. Lane subsequently describes the integration of live-action footage of a vintage Tiger Moth plane and the puppet footage (which works extremely well in the finished film).
MGM's production is well-balanced for "Thunderbirds" fans and the curious; and the widescreen transfer is really beautiful, exploiting the broad colours and impeccable anamorphic compositions. The sound mix, previously mono, has been effectively tweaked into a subtle 5.1 mix, with discreet branching of dialogue for the front center channel, pseudo-stereo and panned sound effects for the front surrounds, and mono music stems for the rear surrounds (with minor effects reverb).
This DVD is available separately, or in a 2-disc set with the film "Thunderbirds Are GO" and a custom box featuring cardboard models & magnet sheet.
© 2004 Mark R. Hasan