Terrahawks DVD Review!

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AndyThomas
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Terrahawks DVD Review!

Postby AndyThomas » Sat Jul 20, 2002 11:35 am

I'm pretty sure BlackStar shouldn't have sent me my copy quite this soon, but my Terrahawks DVD duly arrived this morning rather than Monday!  I've only watched the first couple of episodes so far, and had a look at the extras which include scripts for each episode, publicity material and character bios.My initial impression was that the menu system was a bit... clunky, but it's growing on me in the sense that I think it's styling itself after the show and the old annuals.  The extras are OK, and I'll come back to the scripts in a moment...The technical quality of the episodes isn't great - they look a little grainy, but I doubt you could do much better without digitally remastering the series.  It is, after all, 20 years old.  Curiously a lot of the model shots look as if they were filmed through a telescope - for some reason the corners become rounded.  Presumably due to a special camera being used for those shots...I've watched the 2 parter, Expect the Unexpected, and it's a smart introduction to the full range of the Terrahawks' toys.  Zelda's Cubes also get their moment in the limelight.  No sign of Stu Dapples just yet, though!  Windsor Davies as Zero is superb, bringing real comedy to the character, and the use of the Zeroid's eyes and mouth lights to portray emotion is clever.  I have this sneaking suspicion that they've been lottery balls on the side for years now...!The human puppets are, ah, different.  Unlike Star Fleet which did its best to keep legs out of sight, Terrahawks goes for the full body shots with the characters seated and it really doesn't work because their heads are much bigger than their bodies.  Their feet look like an afterthought.  Basically they look worse than Thunderbirds - the craft are well done, but the characters need much better bodies.  This may be why Anderson doesn't like to draw attention to this series, I don't know...However, this is part of the charm of Terrahawks.  It's a weird show, let's face it, even for the 80s!  I noticed a nice touch at the end of the first part of Expect the Unexpected - when they're playing noughts and crosses, the Zeroids and Cubes smile or sulk depending on whether they're winning or losing at the time.  The second episode's ending didn't have that animation.Now, on the Star Fleet front, and relating to the scripts.  If you've read my interview with Louis Elman, you may remember that he said Gerry Anderson rung him up to ask about Star Fleet.  It turns out that Expect the Unexpected is dated October 1982.  So just as Anderson was finishing his scripts, along came Star Fleet.  I can see why he might have worried too - pretty similar themes in many respects, and model work at least on a par with Terrahawks.  Total coincidence, of course...Anyway, I don't think I'd want to shell out for the full series but it's a nice 80s DVD to have in your collection.  Available from Amazon and Blackstar!
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Shane
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Terrahawks DVD Review!

Postby Shane » Sat Jul 20, 2002 7:42 pm

It's good to hear that the naughts and crosses game has been reinserted even if only the once. Are the episodes seperated on the DVD Andy? or are they edited together just like the original video release?Shane.
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AndyThomas
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Terrahawks DVD Review!

Postby AndyThomas » Sat Jul 20, 2002 8:50 pm

Ah, I knew I hadn't made that quite clear enough. All the episodes are separated, and the noughts and crosses game appears in each one - I've now seen them all and the extra animation I referred to is actually within the game itself, in terms of the Cubes and Zeroids' faces changing. It probably came across that I was meaning the game wasn't in episode 2, it was, it just lacked the facial animation on the Cubes and Zeroids although it was back again in one of the later episodes! It's definitely very apparent that there's been fan input into this release, it's all as it would have been on TV...
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Rachel
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Terrahawks DVD Review!

Postby Rachel » Sun Jul 28, 2002 6:23 pm

I wonder why they didn't digitally remaster the series? Mind you, the quality shouldn't really be poor, considering many films which still get shown today date from the 1930s or 40s!I remember the winners of the noughts'n'crosses would either have a gloating smile, or a frown. I always used to urge the noughts to win (please don't tell Yungstar that). Is anyone going to admit to hoping the crosses would win?God, I do hope I won't get knocked over by a bus, or something, before the second series comes out! (Well, I hope that, anyway.)

Rachel
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Terrahawks DVD Review!

Postby Rachel » Sun Jul 28, 2002 6:28 pm

I don't think I agree about the human puppets looking worse than Thunderbirds. I think I can see what you mean about the legs, Andy, but I have never seen any Anderson puppet that looks entirely lifelike. I thought the Thunderbirds had mouths that looked too big, even Lady Penelope. Mary F is like a prettier version of her, and Kate Kestrel looks fine.

Rachel
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Terrahawks DVD Review!

Postby Rachel » Sun Jul 28, 2002 6:56 pm

I think Gerry A is daft if he doesn't want to bring attention to the series, anyway. Not only is it his masterpiece, I think it the best bit of entertainment ever to be made in this country, if not the whole world! He should be so proud!

AndyThomas
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Terrahawks DVD Review!

Postby AndyThomas » Sun Jul 28, 2002 8:52 pm

Quote Quote: from Rachel on 7:28 pm on July 28, 2002I don't think I agree about the human puppets looking worse than Thunderbirds. I think I can see what you mean about the legs, Andy, but I have never seen any Anderson puppet that looks entirely lifelike. I thought the Thunderbirds had mouths that looked too big, even Lady Penelope. Mary F is like a prettier version of her, and Kate Kestrel looks fine.Oh, the heads are very good - and of course these aren't string based puppets like Thunderbirds, these are more traditional hand puppets which is why their legs are actually seldom in shot.Hiro, for example, is always stood behind his console etc - not dissimilar to Star Fleet in that respect, actually. But the result is that not much attention was paid to the lower half of their bodies.It was most noticeable when Ninestein was sat in the rear seat of Hudson with his whole body visible. It just didn't look right at all, and I think it's probably something they avoided from that point. Contrastingly, the Thunderbird bodies were often seen at full length - not walking, but stood up or sat down. So they're better proportioned - because, of course, being operated from above meant that the whole body could easily be in shot.Incidentally, I think that may well be why Anderson doesn't mention Terrahawks in the same breath as Thunderbirds and Captain Scarlet - it's a very different style of puppetry in Terrahawks, and it may well be that he just doesn't like it...
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Rachel
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Terrahawks DVD Review!

Postby Rachel » Mon Jul 29, 2002 6:21 pm

Are you a Thundrebirds fan, Andy? If so, I should apologise, as I keep slagging it off. Hope I didn't offend you too much!

AndyThomas
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Terrahawks DVD Review!

Postby AndyThomas » Mon Jul 29, 2002 7:41 pm

Heh. No, no, and I respect your passion for Terrahawks Rachel! Just trying to come at it critically ;-)
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Rachel
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Terrahawks DVD Review!

Postby Rachel » Tue Jul 30, 2002 5:48 pm

It's OK, I wouldn't mistake any Anderson puppet for a real person! They're probably not meant to be exactly lifelike, anyway. And none of the heroines of his shows (even Kate and Mary, much as I like and admire them) are as attractive as the women in Starfleet.I will tell you something that really did make me mad, though, a few months ago: when looking up Terrahawks on Yahoo, one of the matches found an interview between 2 men. The interviewer was a total jerk, as one of his questions was "Why was Gerry Anderson's Terrahawks so crap....?" That was most uncalled-for, and whoever the bloke was, I would like to see HIM try to create a better children's programme!


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