Thunderbirds

  • Review Date: December 21, 2004
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Action/Adventure
  • Release Year: 2004
  • Running Time: 94 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Exciting kid space-action without being too scary.
  • Review Date: December 21, 2004
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Action/Adventure
  • Release Year: 2004
  • Running Time: 94 minutes

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Good triumphs over evil. It's one thing to say that you're old enough to handle responsibility, but something else entirely to prove it. 

Positive role models

Through how he responds to danger and difficulty, Alan Tracy proves that he has what it takes to be one of the Thunderbirds. 

Violence & scariness

Cartoonish violence, with fights and explosions. Characters punch, kick, and throw each other. A space station nearly falls into Earth's atmosphere. Two characters kick an enemy in the crotch at the same time. When antagonists cause damage to a monorail in London, innocent commuters are trapped in traincars at the bottom of the Thames River. 

Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Language

A boy mocks Alan for liking the "Thunder-turds." "Damn." A character with a stuttering problem says, "Fuh ... fuh ... fuh ... no way." 

Consumerism

Ford vehicles and the Ford logo are displayed prominently throughout the film. When the film cuts to scenes of news reports, the report is sponsored by Ford.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Thunderbirds s a vibrant-hued action movie starring Bill Paxton as the leader of the Tracy family, aka the Thunderbirds, a secret group of heroes dedicated to righting wrong wherever they find it. Based on the 1960s TV series of the same name, the film features bombastic special effects and an exaggerated, cartoonish violence in the battle and fight scenes. There's lots of punching, kicking, and, in one instance, a double kick to the crotch of an antagonist. When antagonists cause damage to a monorail in London, innocent commuters are trapped in traincars at the bottom of the Thames River. There's major product placement, with Ford vehicles are prominently displayed, and the Ford logo is shown each time news reports of the action are presented on TV. 

Parents say

Not yet rated
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Kids say

What's the story?

In this live-action update the 1960s British television show, ex-astronaut Jeff Tracy (Bill Paxton) of International Rescue and his five sons live on a secret island in the South Pacific in a spectacular house filled with gadgets to help monitor the globe and operate their rescue equipment -- submarine, plane, rocket ship, space station, and pod vehicles. Super-geek Brains (Anthony Edwards) keeps all the technology running smoothly. Just as teenage son Alan (Brady Corbett) and his best pal Fermat (Soren Fulton) return from boarding school to the secret hideaway in the South Pacific, his father and brothers are lured away by the evil Hood (Ben Kingsley). Hood plans to use the rescue equipment to rob the world's biggest banks, bring down the global economy, and frame Jeff Tracy as the thief. The Tracy everyone thought was too young to go on missions has to work with his friends to rescue the rescuers.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Corbett makes for an attractive and appealing hero and the kids have a nice natural chemistry together. Kingsley is clearly enjoying himself as Hood, but the highlight of the movie is the delicious Sophia Myles as Lady Penelope, who is always game to trounce the bad guys while tossing off quips and maintaining her exquisite coiffure.

The action sequences in Thunderbirds are exciting without being too scary. Kids will enjoy seeing the bad guys sprayed with Nickelodeon-style green slime and the way that Fermat uses Alan's retainer to save the day at a crucial moment. The equipment is also very cool, especially Lady Penelope's very chic pink car/plane and Alan's hovercraft. The film drags a bit when the kids are chasing the bad guys all over the island while we are impatient for them to just get on the darn plane, but overall, these Thunderbirds are GO!

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how kids can sometimes feel that their parents don't  realize that they are ready to grow up and the importance of listening carefully. 

  • How does Thunderbirds compare with other space-adventure movies you've seen?

  • Do you like movies with lots of special effects and explosions? 

Movie details

Theatrical release date:July 30, 2004
DVD release date:December 21, 2004
Cast:Bill Paxton, Jonathan Frakes
Director:Jonathan Frakes
Studio:Universal Pictures
Genre:Action/Adventure
Topics:Superheroes, Adventures, Brothers and sisters, Science and nature, Space and aliens, Trains
Run time:94 minutes
MPAA rating:PG
MPAA explanation:intense action sequences and language

This review of Thunderbirds was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Adult Written byPRB April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
QUALITY
 
Parent of a 9 year old Written byrobinpeggy April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
QUALITY
 

nonstop fun

My five year old daughter and I really enjoyed this movie -- there were a couple of moments she found scary, but they were brief. A diverse group of heroes with good messages about friendship and courage. And basically, just a lot of fun.
Educator and Parent of a 8 year old Written bysouzakh April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
QUALITY
 

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