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Thomas & Friends: Hero of the Rails (2009)

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Thomas finds an old engine and tries to restore him without The Fat Controller finding out.

Writers:

Wilbert Awdry (railway series) (as Rev. W. Awdry), Britt Allcroft (creator) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Michael Angelis ... Narrator (UK) (voice)
Michael Brandon ... Narrator (US) (voice)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
David Bedella ... Victor (US) (voice)
Jules de Jongh Jules de Jongh ... Emily (US) / Mavis (US) / The Duchess of Boxford (US) (voice) (as Jules De Jongh)
Teresa Gallagher ... Emily (UK) / Mavis (UK) / The Duchess of Boxford (UK) (voice)
William Hope ... Edward (US) / Toby (US) / Rocky (US) / The Duke of Boxford (US) (voice)
Togo Igawa ... Hiro (UK & US) (voice)
Kerry Shale ... Henry (US) / Gordon (US) / James (US) / Kevin (US) / Sir Topham Hatt (US) (voice)
Martin Sherman ... Thomas (US) / Percy (US) (voice) (as Martin T Sherman)
Ben Small Ben Small ... Thomas (UK) / Toby (UK) (voice)
Keith Wickham ... Edward (UK) / Henry (UK) / Gordon (UK) / James (UK) / Percy (UK) / The Fat Controller (UK) (voice)
Matt Wilkinson Matt Wilkinson ... Spencer (UK) / Victor (UK) / Rocky (UK) / Kevin (UK) / The Duke of Boxford (UK) (voice)
Glenn Wrage ... Spencer (US) (voice)
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Storyline

Thomas finds an old engine and tries to restore him without The Fat Controller finding out.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

thomas the tank engine | See All (1) »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official site [Japan]

Country:

USA | UK | Canada

Language:

English | Swedish

Release Date:

8 September 2009 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Thomas & Friends: Hero of the Rails - The Movie See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This is the first Thomas movie where Diesel 10 does not make an appearance See more »

Goofs

When Hiro was first discovered, there were bushes and trees all around him. After that scene, the area was cleared out almost like a miniature valley for the rest of the movie. See more »

Quotes

Michael Brandon: Narrator: Suddenly, Spencer whistled long and hard! James and Toby heard Spencer. Suddenly, James and Toby steamed out. Spenser had puffed to close to Hiro! James blew his whistle /whoo whoo!\, and Toby rang his bell /ching ching-ching ching!\. Together they chased the mighty Spencer down the track and away from Hiro.
See more »

Connections

Followed by Thomas & Friends: Day of the Diesels (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Go Go Thomas
Performed by Sam Blewitt
See more »

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User Reviews

 
For the first CGI outing, pretty good

The year 2009 was a big year for the Thomas & Friends franchise. After the failure of Thomas and the Magic Railroad (2000), a transformation began to occur to the series that would change the show forever. Creative consultants began to retire from their roles and new ones took their places. On top of that the rights to the show transferred to different hands, leading to new ideas being added. Still though, live-action physical models were being used, that is until the 12th season when CGI faces were added to the models. This was a big sign to those watching that the show, it was headed in a direction many thought would not happen. But by the time the 13th season rolled around, Thomas & Friends had been fully converted to CGI with the release of this home video special.

Even more surprising was that the director to the special was Greg Tiernan. Prior to this Tiernan had only worked as unit director and not much else. He would later go on to direct the adult animated film Sausage Party (2016). The exact opposite of Thomas & Friends' demographic. Aside from this the story to adventure has Thomas and his friends going about work as usual until Spencer the fast silver engine arrives on Sodor. According to Spencer, the Duke of Boxford is having a summer house built and will be around all summer. This means being harassed by Spencer nonstop wherever he goes. Thomas becomes fed up and races Spencer only to discover in the process another engine by the name of Hiro, abandoned long ago in the brush. Hoping to help Hero, it's up to Thomas and his friends to help put Hiro back together.

With a script written completely by Sharon Miller, the story itself isn't the smartest but also isn't the laziest either. Being that she's written screenplays before for this franchise, it's acceptable to a point. The biggest issue this story has is trying to cram in a bunch of different characters by only giving them a few lines. Toby, one of the oldest characters in the show has one line of dialog; impressive. However what will lessen this burden is hearing all the unique voices all the engines have now. Prior to this, every story was told by the narrator only. Now the narrator talks along with the engines having their own voices. Both Michael Angelis and Michael Brandon act as the narrator respectively while the rest is performed by other voice actors.

As for them, there really isn't an actor who out performs the other because they all do well. For the US dub, Martin Sherman voices Thomas and Percy and he sounds youthful enough for it. Jules de Jongh voices Emily and Mavis. William Hope voices Edward, Toby, Rocky and the Duke of Boxford. Kerry Shale voices Henry, Gordon, James and Sir Topham Hatt. Voicing Spencer is Glenn Wrage. Finally voicing Hiro, the new main character is Togo Igawa. All of which give their roles life and something unique to hear. The animation was also quite the departure from past features. Being that everything has been converted to CGI, several iconic places have also been transferred over. Much of it is well done when taking it all in.

There is a new area to be featured though and that's the Sodor Steamworks lead by two new characters. Kevin the crane (Kerry Shale) and Victor (David Bedella). Other places like Tidmouth Sheds, Knapford Station, Gordon's Hill, and Brendam Docks are remarkably kept intact. It is a bit jarring at first though because no longer are the sets physically limited. Now the locations can be expanded to have many layers of colors, textures and the scope can expand far beyond any physical set. Those will be missed but seeing how much detail is put into these settings is still respectable. Acting as animation supervisor was Jeff Bailey who had held similar positions prior to this production. Music was thankfully well composed with Robert Hartshorne continuing to score the franchise. The unfortunate part is that the music is no longer a large center piece to the overall picture. Much of it seems to be over shadowed by sound effects and other things. With that there isn't any new character themes to hear except for a the second original theme song. Lastly there's one pop song called "Go Go, Thomas!" at the end, which is fun to listen to. Aside from this not much else.

With the newest transition of the show moving from practical effects to CGI, the conversion is pretty good. The characters, sets and animation is rendered well. The voice actors for their respective dubs are also performed competently. Writing is slightly above average with an okay story even though it tends to leave some main characters in the background. The saddest part is the lack of iconic music that was once so profound in its presence, no longer at the forefront.


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