|Index||3 reviews in total|
The Earl of Sodor is returning to Sodor and needs the engines to help him create a big surprise. All the favourites are here plus a few new engine faces and the story is true to the spirit of the original books yet big enough to keep the action going for a proper movie. The format of the TV series is essentially extended into a (short) full length movie with added songs and a clear emphasis on positive values like "working together". For grown-ups there are historic references to Stevenson's Rocket but generally the target audience is preschool Thomas fans who will not be disappointed. My two year old son was impressed and I was easily entertained enough to enjoy our first cinema outing together.
Like many fans of the show, I believe that Thomas & Friends has been
going down a slippery slope over the past few years in terms of
writing. However, this special marks the debut of a new head writer, as
well as new animators in the form of Arc Productions ("Gnomeo and
Juliet" and "9"). So, does it do better than the last few specials.
The main characters that many fans know and love are in character throughout the special, and this leads to some rather funny and witty lines. Also, the new characters introduced in this special are, for the most part, well written and developed (one character's back story even tells a history lesson about the early days of the railways). It's safe to say that writer Andrew Brenner did his research well, as there are a few references to the classic series included, and the first few minutes touch upon something never shown in the TV series before.
The animation by Arc is bright, colourful and fast, but there are a few points where it feels a bit unfinished. However, for a first attempt, they did very well, but I don't think I like the animation as much as that by Nitrogen Studios just yet.
Fun, knowledgeable, and just all around good entertainment, King of the Railway is a good watch for all fans of the little blue tank engine. Welcome back, Thomas!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
From 2010 - 2011, Thomas & Friends had been treated like rubbish with
its story lines. Misty Island Rescue has written some many rhymes and
alliterations on a repetitive scale and Day of The Diesels has very
silly moments and plot holes. Blue Mountain Mystery may have its own
little problems but it did well, thanks to the script editing of Andrew
Brenner to make the story have potential.
Now in 2013, King of The Railway was released on DVD with a new head writer and new animators by Arc Productions. Andrew Brenner, the new head writer, had done a vast amount of research to make the movie thanks to the TTTE Wikia. Ulfstead Castle was created by the Rev.W.Awdry in his book 'The Island of Sodor: Its History, People and Engines', showcasing us the fictional history and geography of Thomas' Island, even the Vicarstown Bridge.
The writing is great and entertaining and they've canned out one hour of rhyming like the last films had. The use of Stephenson's Rocket was great too, the character 'Stephen'. He has a great persona an old English locomotive who's an antique with a good sense of humor and is ready for work. The use of the Rainhill trails was good as well, even though it wasn't referenced but is used well visually.
At first I thought it was a bit weird to have two American based engines on a British Island and it was even stranger is that they have Irish accents. But some research I found that that their respective Railroads had Irish immigrants working for them so it's a nice cultural twist, this is Connor and Caitlin, and I also believe they used American based engines to please the Thomas fans in the United States, Thomas is popular there. Millie's a good character too, though they've never given her much screen time but in 17th series she did.
Nitrogen Studios had done well with their take on Thomas into the CGI world and they've done well with its realistic view. Arc Productions, now the animators for the show/specials had done well too, though some scenes may look a little plastic and should have some shading effects more put into. But in the end they've done well for their first try and I give them the best of luck for other Thomas projects in future.
This is a fun special for Thomas fans both young and old to enjoy.
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