Yep, you read that right. Eight out of ten. No, I am not going mad, but I will tell all, first a brief story rundown.
Thunderbirds starts off with us looking at Alan Tracy (Brady Corbet) who is forced, reluctantly, to stay in school. The older Tracy family members fly about the place in the Thunderbirds under the name of “International Rescue”. The Thunderbirds, for the couple of folk who don't know, are the machines with which the Tracy family right wrongs and put wrong doers to rights. So, frustrated, Alan has to make do with the mundanities of life, while the excitement of the Thunderbirds are just a touch away. Alan succumbs to his temptation and tries to fly a Thunderbird, much to the chagrin of father Jeff Tracy (Bill Paxton). Alan is grounded and leaves the Tracy building in a bit of a huff with friends Tintin (Vanessa Anne Hudgens) and Fermat (Soren Fulton). This is just as a master criminal The Hood (Ben Kingsley) fires a missile at Thunderbird 5 - a space station in orbit about Earth. Obviously International Rescue respond and leave Tracy Island unprotected ready for The Hood to take over, unaware of the children. So starts Thunderbirds - can Alan and his cohorts rescue Tracy Island while the real deal is occupied in outer space?
So, eight out of ten, then. Thunderbirds is a fantastic movie for kids which was criminally slated by beardy forty odd year old critics at it's time of release. His movie never stops and is full of action fun and slapstick comedy. All the actors are all fine as is Ben Kingsley who seems to be having a lot of fun with his role. There isn't a lot to the plot, but then you wouldn't expect there to be. This is moviegoing-lite, a movie that ricochets from one seemingly insurmountable disaster to another as the action builds. Jonathan Frakes who did such a good job with Startrek First Contact and Insurrection (there was nothing wrong with the direction of Insurrection) is again on form, here. I can't really see how any more action can be added, nor how the direction could be bettered within the framework of Thunderbirds. The only downside is some ropey effects at times and some rather obvious Ford product placement.
Bottom line, if you have kids (or are kids) and want a movie with no pretentious plot aspirations and none of the overly adult humour of Shark Tale, then this is for you. Good fun.