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  #11  
Old 10th October 2017, 09:50 PM
Conrad Lefkon Conrad Lefkon is offline
Dr. Cedric Agon
 
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Default Conrad Lefkon's Review of ‘Power Play’

1 Sets

The model work here was exceptional. The blue waters of the stream and reservoir had a lively freshness about them which complemented things beautifully. I just wish they would compromise a bit more and slow things down to give the scene some weight and authenticity. They should acknowledge this limitation and do something about it – but they won’t.

As a child I enjoyed visiting the Model Village at Bekonscot and when my son was born I watched Thomas The Tank Engine with him and found it charming. I think TBAG is closer to Thomas than to the original Thunderbirds in that any danger is fleeting and light-hearted. It is not what I would have wanted but I can still appreciate the care, love and attention.

Having said that we have had some serious episodes, like ‘EOS’, so maybe there is a lack of clarity about their target audience, at least amongst the different writers. I would think children would have been bored by ‘EOS’ even though, for me, it was quite thought-provoking at times.

2 Vehicles


The launching of Thunderbird 4 was silly in the extreme but mainly because TB4 seemed (and no doubt was) as light as a cork. When, at the end, it popped to the surface covered in Polyfilla it was mildly amusing. It felt as if the team were almost ridiculing the use of models even though I am certain that this is not really the case.

The Gecko Pod is an absurd idea but I really like it and it looks terrific as it makes its way across the dam wall (can I say that?). The sight of the Gecko Pod and Thunderbird 4 in free-fall as they plunged through the air was exhilarating as was the sight of them surrounded by bubbles as they crashed beneath the waters.

3 Characters

The GDF look more like Dad’s Army every day. Their slapstick failure to achieve anything at all has become quite annoying although they, at least, seem to have licence to fire weapons occasionally. This time around they act as a vehicle for delivering the Hood to centre stage.

Is the girl who raises the alarm at the start of the story also the Hood? She has the same face, beauty spot and brown eyes and the ponytail still seems to be present in the turbine room although hidden under her helmet. Or maybe they just happened to use the same member of the CGI Repertory Company twice in a single episode.

It is amazing to think that Virgil and Gordon have the same voice artist, David Menkin, as the banter between these characters was exceptional at times.

4 Story

This is another of those episodes with almost no central story but which is bolstered into an all-action thriller by the introduction of the Mechanic, who is making rescues difficult and who is also the cause of this week’s situation. This time around the Hood is actually helping International Rescue, albeit for his own reasons.

From an original series point of view this was unbelievably bad. If you take away the shenanigans of the Mechanic and the Hood there was almost no story at all. All that really happened was that a crack in a dam was repaired using an industrial size tube of Polyfilla. I am a poor DIY exponent but even I would have been embarrassed by the result. Didn't they have a spatula pod to give it a professional finish?!

Nevertheless … I acknowledge that I am probably trying too hard to like TBAG but when I take the chip off my shoulder I can appreciate that this one was exciting from end to end with plenty of twists in it. Slow motion waves and other effects, heavy looking vehicles and real explosions are not going to happen. Get used to it!

Rating: A
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Last edited by Conrad Lefkon; 13th October 2017 at 02:08 PM.
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  #12  
Old 11th October 2017, 06:43 AM
TV21 TV21 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hiram K Hackenbacker View Post
You sure Derek did the Dam effects on Superman? I thought he'd left the production by that point and another company did those sequences, which is why they're not great by comparison to the rest of the effects in the film.
Derek was in charge of the initial Hoover Dam breakup (the shot of it cracking.breaking up), but once the water starts through the valleys he was not involved, and it's obvious due to the bad camera angles, bad lens choices, thin depth of field, all the things that Derek was a master at.
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  #13  
Old 24th October 2017, 08:15 PM
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Thunderbird 2 Thunderbird 2 is offline
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One of the anti-climatic elements of Escape Proof was the fact The Mechanic was de-fanged for the sake of the story. Here that problem has been reversed to a degree, but Power Play creates a myriad of problems of its own in correcting that error.
The story is constrained by the running time. All four of the Earth based brothers are involved, and Kayo and Brains get shoehorned in as well. This on top of the fact The Mechanic and The Hood face off and the disaster location is a Hydro power dam overlooking a town, Boulder Dam style. This in itself is a massive premise, and the story cracks under this plot pressure more than the dam does.

The character who suffers the most in this top heavy situation is Alan. He goes from flying Thunderbird 2.2 in Virgil's absence to being stuck in a ditch in the bulldozer,and forgotten about till the end of the story when Kayo collects him. Kayo too is off-screen doing things that we get rushed exposition for, and the revelation of The Mechanic's battery charging feels like more set up macguffin like the stealing of the TV21 in Up From The Depths, and the Safe searching before that in City Under The Sea. It all has a join the dots aspect that just does not work as well as it pretends it does and due to the repeat nature of this pattern, spoils the here and now aspects of the story.

Scale has always been a bit problematic in TAG-15. The programme is expensive, so Tracy Island is smaller, Creighton Ward Manor more contemporary inside and Thunderbird 2.2 heavily relies on its 2 pod vehicles. But in this story the envelope has to be painfully stretched further to make this premise work. Suddenly Thunderbird 2.2 has tardis like capabilities in how much it can carry, and Thunderbird Shadow can suddenly carry an entire container module. - No 5 no less, the tanker one! These elements draw even more attention to the limitations of the story. Realistically, Thunderbird 2.2 should be big enough to carry everything needed for the disaster, and no matter how powerful her engines Thunderbird S is not a heavy lifter. It is not designed for that function. The less said about skimming stone launch Thunderbird 4.2 and the fact the dam does not collapse when the sub goes through it, the better.

Power Play would have been better served as a straight rescue story without the trappings of The Mechanic and The Hood caked on top. As it stands its an Ok episode with great set pieces, nice effects, especially the use of real water, and good characterisation. But these are spoilt by woeful lapses in the use of the vehicles and far too much plot to work with. A shame.



Plus Points:
Dam set pieces are nicely done.
The Mechanic firmly re-established as the big bad.
Decent continuity to City Under The Sea (Gordon's protectiveness of TB4.2) and Chain Of Command (The Nanocrete foam)


Iffy Elements:
Alan feels used then forgotten about.
The ending is somewhat predictable and anticlimactic.

Iffy to Excruciating Elements:
Thunderbird 4.2 “Skimming stone” launch.
The GDF are blatantly beyond useless this time round.
TBS carrying a TB2.2 Module. - Bad engineering just to hold the story together.


Possible References:

TOS:
Captain Foster - Thunderbird 6.

Others:
Superman (1978) Hoover dam sequences, - esp when Scott uses his jet pack.


Continuity (Good & Bad)
City Under The Sea (Gordon's protectiveness of TB4.2)
and Chain Of Command (The Nanocrete foam)

A module can carry 2 pods AND Thunderbird 4.2? - Since when?!
Thunderbird S was not designed to carry heavy weight – established in “Touch And Go”


Anomalies:
How could the dam sustain a hole large enough for Thunderbird 4.2 to be blasted through, yet not crack and breach further?

Bloopers...
Opening shot - A large gap next to the left rock face next to the dam. - Camera angle was not tight enough.
TB2.2 initially lowers the module for TB4.2's launch – with no visible cables?
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