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The original cult series in Supermarionation"! Includes the episodes The Imposters," The Man from MI5," Cry Wolf," Danger at Ocean Deep," The Duchess Assignment" and Attack of the Alligators." 2 DVDs or 3 cassettes. 1965/color/5 hrs/NR.
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At its best, Thunderbirds is an inspired mix of Japanese monster movie mayhem and British stiff-upper-lip attitude. The International Rescue team members are bland and interchangeable, a marionette family of clean-living Hardy Boys, but the high-tech toys are like big-kid fantasies come alive, and the awestruck seriousness of the direction is quaint and cool in these days of hyperactive cartoons. The highlight of Set 4 is "Attack of the Alligators!" where real-life baby alligators star as giant mutants thrashing about the dollhouse-sized sets and actually "act" with the wooden puppets; one of them actually chases a puppet hero through the jungle. Fan favorite Lady Penelope (the team's cool, high-class London agent) and her ex-con chauffeur Parker make memorable appearances in "The Imposters," where they track down a team of crooks passing themselves off as International Rescue, and "The Man From MI5," a James Bond parody where Lady Penelope is (uncharacteristically) a damsel in distress. Other episodes include "Cry Wolf" (two boys live the dream of every Thunderbirds fan and get a guided tour of the top-secret base), "Danger at Ocean Deep" (a fog of radioactive algae destroys ships and wreaks havoc with Thunderbird communications), and "The Duchess Assignment" (a rescue mission in a burning mansion). --Sean Axmaker
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