IMDb; Rotten Tomatoes; TV Tropes; Universal; Wikipedia
streaming sites: Amazon; FandangoNOW; Google Play; iTunes; Movies Anywhere; Vudu
Caution: Utterly unimportant spoilers.
What to say? First of all, about my rating... for a ways into the movie, I thought I'd probably give it a "meh." By the end, I had decided to give it a smiley, and considered tacking a half on there, but, eh... I dunno. Just one is good enough, maybe. Also wasn't sure what category to put it in... action adventure, or some sites seem to call it science fiction, which I can see because it involves a space station a bit, and such things... plus it's set in 2010, though I see no reason it couldn't be set the year it was made (2004). Still, I see it more as a fantasy kind of thing. Sort of. I dunno, I suppose it doesn't matter. Anyway, it's based on a TV show from the 1960s, which used marionettes. Sort of. I've never seen the show, nor have I any interest in it, but as a live-action movie, it wasn't really bad. Seemed kind of bad at first, but it got better. Still wasn't great, mind you, but not bad.
Well. It starts at some academy, with this kid named Alan Tracy, and his friend, Fermat. Alan's upset because his family are secretly a team of heroes called the Thunderbirds, and he doesn't get to take part in their adventures. They have an island, and a bunch of different vehicles which are also called Thunderbirds. Thunderbirds One and Two both seem to be airships, Three is a rocket ship, Four is um... a sub, I guess, and Five is a space station. Anyway, Alan's father, Jeff Tracy (Bill Paxton), is an ex-astronaut. Alan's mother died some time ago, I guess before the Tracy family started the whole Thunderbirds thing, but I'm not really sure. Anyway, Alan's got several brothers who are on the team, but they don't seem like important characters to me, never got to know them really.
Well, right after watching the Thunderbirds' latest mission on TV, a British woman named Lady Penelope (Sophia Myles) shows up at the academy, with her manservant, Parker, to take Alan and Fermat to Tracy Island. She has a cool pink car which turns into like a plane and boat or whatever. She's clearly an adventurer, herself, along with Parker, and she's close to the Tracys, but I never was clear on just what the relationship was. Anyway, the Tracys have a couple of people who work with them, as well. One was a guy called Brains (Anthony Edwards), who is Fermat's dad. They're both geniuses with thick glasses who stutter. Another guy, who I guess was just Jeff's manservant, was a guy named Kyrano, who Jeff had rescued, along with a bunch of workers, from a collapsing illegal diamond mine, or something. Kyrano's wife is also there, but neither of them really seemed like important characters. However, they did have a daughter named Tintin (Vanessa Hudgens), and she is important. It seems she and Alan may have a blossoming romance at some point, but for now they're just friends.
Anyway, it turns out the last mission the Thunderbirds were on was no accident, but rather an incident engineered to give someone a chance to plant a tracking device on one of the ships, so a villain called The Hood (Ben Kinsley) could find their island. He had a couple of henchpeople working for him, a tough guy named Mullion, and a scientist woman named Transom. She apparently was interested in Brains, though he didn't seem to like her, probably because she was made up rather obviously and unconvincingly to look ugly. Or whatever. Ah yes, hilarity fails to ensue. Anyway, the Hood fires a missile at Thunderbird 5, which is manned by one of Jeff's sons, so the Thunderbirds take Thunderbird 3 up to space to help out, leaving the island virtually undefended. Brains is there, of course, but he's soon captured, along with Kyrano and his wife.
Alan, Tintin, and Fermat get away, and go through a serious of attempts to stop the bad guys, with varying degrees of success or failure at different points. Eventually Lady Penelope and Parker show up, with similar results. The Hood, I should mention, has a mental power to control minds and telekinetically move objects, and whatnot. And it turns out he's Kyrano's brother. He'd been the one running the illegal diamond mine, and had been left behind when Jeff rescued everyone. Apparently they all thought he was dead, but now of course Hood wants revenge. So he steals the Thunderbird 2, heads to London to rob a bank and cause all sorts of trouble, planning to eventually do this around the world, and let the Thunderbirds take the blame. Oh yeah, I should also mention that Tintin has mental powers similar to her uncle Hood's, though her parents don't seem to.
Well, I can't really think what else to say. Eventually the good guys beat the bad guys, Alan and his friends prove themselves worthy to Jeff and the rest of the Thunderbirds. And um... that's about it. All pretty standard, predictable stuff. But it had its fun moments. So, whatever. Not a complete waste of time, but probably not something I ever need to see again....