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THUNDERBIRDS (VOLUMES 3 & 4)

    

Review by Michael Jacobson

Creator:  Gerry Anderson
Audio:  Dolby Digital 5.1
Video:  Standard 1.33:1
Studio:  A&E
Features:  Photo Galleries
Length:  Approx. 156 Minutes per disc
Release Date:  November 20, 2001

“F.A.B.!”

Film ***1/2

One of the most asked questions we've received here at DMC this year has been, “When are the next Thunderbirds sets coming out?”

It’s nice to know I’m not the only fan of Gerry Anderson’s classic Supermarionation television program.  When A&E released their first two double disc sets earlier this year, fans nostalgic for the imaginative and inventive show clamored for them.  We remembered the adventures of the Tracy family and their super-secret organization International Rescue, with their amazing crafts known as the Thunderbirds that could race, fly, swim and rocket to the side of anyone in need of help.

The wait is over for the next installments as A&E has released Sets #3 and 4.  The adventures of International Rescue continue, and these old shows are still just as much fun as you remember.

I can only hope the unfortunate timing of the first episode on Set #3, “Terror in New York City”, won’t be a hindrance.  It was one of the best Thunderbirds shows, but the sight of the Empire State Building being toppled might not be the most savory form of entertainment right now.  Five more episodes round out the first set, including two in which the Tracy boys fight their arch nemesis, The Hood (“Edge of Impact” and “Desperate Intruder”).

Fans of the debonair London agent Lady Penelope (and who isn’t, I ask you?) get three of her best episodes on Set #4, including one of the Thunderbirds most requested airings, “The Imposters”, where she helps the boys salvage their spotless reputations when a gang of spies posing as International Rescue create a worldwide incident!  She also saves the day in “The Man from M.I.5” and “The Duchess Assignment”, which of course, feature more of her decked out pink Rolls Royce and her dry butler Parker.

Both sets equate to 12 more exciting episodes of Thunderbirds, which I can vouch will keep fans of the show busy for a little while longer.  But these terrific puppets with their imaginative crafts and expansive sets, which could be considered one of the best and biggest toy boxes you’ve ever seen, will always keep fans asking for the next installments…hopefully, we won’t have to wait too long!

Video ***

As with the first sets, #3 and 4 are both quality DVD presentations.  These 35 year plus old shows look terrific, with great coloring, sharp images, and no undue grain or compression artifacts.  The prints themselves are quite clean, too, with only a few minor tell tale streaks or spots here and there…nothing distracting, and certainly acceptable given the age.  Once again, Thunderbirds fans can rejoice!

Audio ***1/2

Like before, these 5.1 audio mixes are extremely impressive…you can’t imagine how good until you hear them for yourself!  Filled with explosions and rocketing crafts and more, the .1 channel gets as good a workout as any modern action film you might have on disc.  There’s also a generous amount of rear stage work, which plays out with smooth crossovers and clean pans.  The tracks are lively and very dynamic…when it gets loud, it gets LOUD!  A superior effort all the way.

Features *

All discs include a photo gallery, and each cover is decorated with pics, quotes, and fun facts for a nice extra touch.

Summary:

Thunderbirds are go once again, thanks to A&E and their third and fourth double disc sets for Gerry Anderson’s classic sci-fi program.  Those who loved sets #1 and 2 should definitely treat themselves by adding these new DVDs to their collection…the adventures of International Rescue are just as much fun today as they were 35 years ago!

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