What is ‘Thunderbirds’ to you? If it’s a dizzying televisual landmark that changed the game for sci-fi in the early 1960s, you’re in for a treat with ‘Filmed in Supermarionation’. If it’s a dated and slightly dull kids’ puppet show that only the deepest of nerds still get excited about, you’ll want to steer clear of this overlong and overexcited documentary about the folks who made it.
It’s an interesting enough story of up-by-the-bootstraps British ingenuity, as a company initially formed to make advertisements stumble into puppetry and find themselves beloved of kids worldwide. Creator Gerry Anderson – sadly no longer with us, but appearing in archive interviews – and his wife Sylvia, the voice of Lady Penelope, both seem like decent sorts: good for them, obviously, but hardly the stuff of gripping real-life drama.
And as the film goes on, the use of superlatives becomes increasingly ridiculous – the word ‘genius’ crops up frequently, but the footage of fibreglass spaceships bobbing about on strings can’t quite make it stick.