Real explosions and puppets make a comeback on Kickstarter

This remake will use Anderson’s traditional puppetry style and real special effects, updated for the 21st century using a technique dubbed "ultramarionation."

Mar 1, 2020, 8:17 pm*

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Gavia Baker-Whitelaw 

Gavia Baker-Whitelaw

Back in the 1960s, Gerry Anderson created some of the U.K.’s most iconic children’s sci-fi television—all using puppets. Stingray, Captain Scarlet, and Thunderbirds are all remembered fondly, but in recent years this filmmaking technique has only been used for the parody movie Team America: World Police.

Now, one Kickstarter campaign aims to change all that. Headed up by Gerry Anderson’s son Jamie, this campaign will fund a pilot episode for Firestorm, a TV series that Anderson originally sold to a Japanese production company to be developed into an anime series.

This remake will use Anderson’s traditional puppetry style and real special effects, updated for the 21st century using a technique dubbed “ultramarionation.” You can watch a message from Jamie Anderson here.

The campaign is already more than halfway to its £49,280 ($79,768) goal with 32 days to go, so there’s clearly a real desire for this pilot to be filmed. This is partly thanks to the nostalgia factor for classic shows like Thunderbirds, but it also speaks to the general affection for practical special effects. Although movies like Gravity are now possible thanks to ultra-realistic CGI, many sci-fi fans tend to favor practical effects and Jim Henson-style puppets in more fantastical or family-oriented films—hence why so many people were excited to see puppets on the set of the new Star Wars movie.

Practical effects are expensive, so the Kickstarter’s £49,280 goal only pays for an eight-minute pilot. If it reaches its first stretch goal, the pilot will be expanded to 22 minutes, a more traditional length for a televised episode.

Photo via Kickstarter

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*First Published: Oct 1, 2014, 2:02 pm