Here are my reviews on Thomas specials, had nowhere to write this, so I just decided to make a blog on this wiki for now.
Here is what each rating stands for:
- 10/10 = Splendid
- 9.5 or 9/10 = Excellent
- 8.5 or 8/10 = Great
- 7.5 or 7/10 = Good
- 6.5 or 6/10 = Okay
- 5.5 or 5/10 = Average
- 4.5 or 4/10 = Boring
- 3.5 or 3/10 = Bad
- 2.5 or 2/10 = Terrible
Thomas and the Magic Railroad
In my opinion, this special is very bad, because of the lack of realism and it introduces a pointless magic engine named Lady into the show. For a start, magic doesn't exist on Sodor and she only became a one-off, only returning in the next special in a dream of Thomas', and she never appears again in the franchise. So pointless.
Though, I do like how the special introduces Diesel 10, a very popular character in the franchise, though he only ever appeared in specials since he first appeared, but later made his first ever episodic appearance in the seventeenth season episode, The Missing Christmas Decorations. But I hated his role in this special, at least it got better in his next appearance, which we'll get onto soon.
What I liked
Hardly anything really, I only liked how it had the song Really Useful Engine in it, I also liked how it introduces the new style of the Thomas model series. I also like how it introduces Diesel 10, but I hated his role in this movie. One more thing I liked is that the characters have their own voices now, but after this movie, they never get their own voices until the CGI special Hero of the Rails which came out nine years later.
What I dislike
Pretty much everything, I dislike Lady and Splatter and Dodge, which I said before, are one-offs. At least, Diesel 10 makes an appearance in the future. Lady is technically a one-off as she appeared in the next special, only in a dream of Thomas'. Splatter and Dodge never appeared again, probably because their models were damaged when they were shipped to Canada or they were repainted into 'Arry and Bert, because they used their models from the fifth season. Though not a bad thing, Diesel 10 is introduced also, but his role in the movie was terrible, as I've said a number of times now. At least he got better in the next special. I also hate how there are so many characters absent such as: Edward, the Scottish twins, the Great Western Duo etc. Though I understand about Edward's absence in the movie as his model couldn't be finished in time for its release. Though surely the other characters could've made a role in the movie. Though characters like George and Cranky were to appear in the movie, with the former being the henchman of Diesel 10 and the latter having a quick cameo appearance where he drops a load of fruit onto Percy, Splatter and Dodge and he drops a load of oil all over Diesel 10. Though at least Cranky cameoed at the yard beside Knapford in the final film, it would've been better if he and George made a major role in the film. It would also be nice if Diesel were to appear in the movie and help Diesel 10, they are both alike anyhow.
Though, now this is the worst thing about the movie, I've writ it on a different paragraph because the last one was too long and this long sentence would make it a hundred times more bigger. The worst thing about the movie has got to be its inclusion of Shining Time Station, the movie hardly ever focused on Thomas, but it did on this? Anyway, Mr. Conductor was good, I guess, but Burnett's role was let-down quite a lot, he built Lady, but that's technically it, he doesn't really have a big role in the movie. P.T. Boomer was cut, because apparently, his role would be too scary for kids. I don't see this, he could still appear maybe as Diesel 10's driver, as we don't even know if he's got one. In fact, none of the engines at all have drivers, except Bertie who has a model driver still. Even if this film was to have no modelled people in it. Surely the engines' drivers could be an exception, if Bertie has a model driver then what about the engines?
Overall, very bad, the animation was okay and so were the engines having separate voice actors, but almost everything in this movie was terrible, the inclusion of Shining Time Station, the lack of so many characters, lost time, the movie being rushed etc. Final words to say: Worst Thomas film ever, I doubt any special will be as worse then this.
Final rating: 2/10
Calling All Engines!
This special is average in my opinion. Though it is better then the previous one. This special was the first to ever include the Steamie and Diesel rivalry, which is one thing that I think is quite racial to some Thomas fans, especially because of the skin colour of some people. But I have to agree that it has a good moral of helping one another, but I'll get onto that soon.
What I liked
Not really much to it that I like, I like its moral of helping one another, especially if there is a site to be built or whatever. One good thing in this special is that it has a new airport being built on Sodor, I like its appearance, so modern-looking. I also like how the special introduces the new Tidmouth Sheds, it is demolished in this special, causing the engines to sleep elsewhere until it is repaired, which is one thing I like, when engines have to sleep at other places which would carry over in the seventeenth season episode The Frozen Turntable. Good to see how the sheds gain an extra berth after re-construction which Emily can sleep in, I prefer her sleeping here then at Knapford Sheds. Though, I would've liked it if Duck appeared in this special as he formerly slept at Tidmouth and when the sheds are rebuilt, as Emily now sleeps there, the Fat Controller gives Duck a new home, not sure where though. It's nice seeing Daisy appearing in this since she has been absent since the fourth season. Also, Derek who only appeared in the music video Trying, but it was nice seeing him appear again, I guess. The best part about the special has got to be its songs, Busy was a good song and was quite catchy in my opinion, but Trying seemed to relate to the Steamie and Diesel rivalry, so I'd say it's my least favourite song of the special. Though I love the song Together, great tune and I love how it relates to the moral of the special, working together as a team.
I also like the idea of having engines having nightmares into thinking what would happen to them if the railway closed down. (e.g. James becoming a coconut shy. Gordon becoming a playground. Edward becoming a scarecrow and Percy becoming a roller coaster). Though, we never get to see much of this in later episodes/specials.
One more thing I liked is that Diesel 10 has improved since last special. In the previous one, he acted so idiotic and boring. But in this special, he seems much more conniving then he did previously. We also get to see Diesel 10 with a smiling face mark, which is not evil-looking. Good job, Miller or whoever designed the faces.
What I disliked
As I said back when we first got onto reviewing this special. I dislike the inclusion of a Steamie and Diesel rivalry, which would later carry on in future seasons/specials especially Day of the Diesels which we'll get onto very soon. It seems so racial to people who have different coloured skin. At least Andrew Brenner took down this idea when he became head writer eight years later. Just what were you thinking Sharon Miller?
I also dislike how Thomas is too scared to ask Diesel 10 a question. I mean, he only wants to ask a single question, you hear me? SINGLE QUESTION!
But the worst part about the movie of all was when the steamies and diesels kept bashing each other off the rails and into certain buildings. Did Sharon Miller forget about the engines having crews in them, I doubt they would've controlled the engines and made them push others, even if they did so, they would've been sacked or fired from their jobs. This steamie and diesel rivalry needs to stop Miller, now!
Good, but not great, it has a good moral of teaching younger people how to work together, but its inclusion of a Steamie and Diesel rivalry let it down quite a lot. It's nice having an airport built on Sodor for all the planes coming in from the Mainland, one of them planes being Jeremy, who would be introduced into the series a year later. Overall, the special would've improved if it had less of a steamie and diesel rivalry and would've focus more on the Sodor Airport, which only appeared a few times in the movie and if Thomas wouldn't act like a scaredy cat towards Diesel 10. Final words: Better luck next time Miller.
Final rating: 5/10
The Great Discovery
Great special, I like it more then the previous one. I love how Thomas finds an old town named Great Waterton, even after being tricked by Duncan by going cross the Rolling River Bridge, but later goes down the other line only to find an abandoned town. Very good filler, and good special to introduce Stanley, a character who has become popular since his introduction, but in the CGI Series, he only makes short cameo appearances, and speaks less. But let's move onto that another time.
What I liked
I love heck a lot of things in this film. As I said when we got started. Great introduction to Stanley, an engine who has become popular since he was introduced, but sadly hasn't got as much speaking roles as of the CGI Series, but he still speaks now and then. I also like how the Pack are in this, the last time they were seen was back in the Jack and the Pack mini-series, but they also get a role in a special? That is brilliant. Here's another thing I said earlier, I love the idea of having Thomas find an old town, which is obviously Great Waterton, the engines and even the Pack help with the construction of it, and all because Thomas got tricked by Duncan by trying to cross a bridge that eventually collapses once he's on it, but backs away and heads down another line and comes cross Great Waterton. Though much worst then Stanley, Great Waterton only ever appeared in this special and the twelfth season, it would be great if we see it return sometime in the CGI Series. The best idea of the movie is having Thomas become lost in a mine, and when he exits it, he flies across a river and onto land, something very realistic and hazardous, I guess lol.
The songs in this special are over heck great. Thomas and James are Racing was a fun song to listen to. There's a Job for Everyone was also great, a song dedicated to the engines hard at work, much like the song Together in the previous special. The song Where, oh Where is Thomas? was a fun-hearing sun, all about Thomas going missing when he went into the mine. But Thomas You're the Leader is the best Thomas song in the Model Series, it was formerly my favourite song in the whole franchise, until the songs in Sodor's Legend of the Lost Treasure, The Great Race and Journey Beyond Sodor managed to go over that song. This is the best song dedicated to Thomas, in my opinion, much better then Thomas' Anthem, nearly every character's name in the franchise is mentioned, like the minor characters, the narrow gauge engines and the Pack. Very fascinating to see.
What I disliked
Even though the special is very fun to watch. Sadly, this special was the first to involve Thomas being jealous over new arrivals, ever since this special he gets jealous over new engines, this even carries over to Sodor's Legend of the Lost Treasure and The Great Race being jealous of Ryan and Ashima respectively, but I'll get onto them too very soon. In this special, he is jealous of Stanley, the only new arrival in this film, he starts to think that nobody likes him, yet just because they all like Stanley doesn't physically mean that Thomas is unliked and isn't being replaced, though he did start becoming unlikeable in the Nitrogen era, because of his idiotic childish attitude in that era. But here, he just felt like he was being replaced, he did though show some shades of cheekiness at the beginning of the film by teasing Duncan when he did it to him which is something I don't mind really. But Thomas gets Stanley to take a long train of trucks up a hill and then they snap and crash into the standpipe tower causing it to fall down right in front of the station. That has got to be Thomas' worst incident over jealousy yet.
This is a great special. Amazing songs, good storyline (with the exception of Thomas' jealousy over Stanley), everyone's characteristics fit in perfectly and that's technically it. Best model series special to date. You finally wrote a good special Sharon Miller, for once, despite the flaws, you did a good job.
Final rating: 8/10
Hero of the Rails
Here we have it, guys! The first ever CGI project, which is a special. Really? I was just being sarcastic there, but we're not talking about sarcasm. Anyway, this special is okay in my opinion, plus it was the first ever production made in CGI, and it introduced many new characters like Hiro, the main character, well major I'd say more of, Victor and Kevin, though unlike Stanley in the previous special who has only made quite few appearances, the three characters introduced in this special have appeared quite frequently in the franchise, though in the Arc era, these characters appear to make more fewer appearances then usual. Probably to make up space for the characters returning in the era's seasons. This is also the first ever special to have an antagonist (though TATMRR had Diesel 10, but that is a film, not technically a special and CAE did have the diesels as antagonists, but I don't think they would count though), the antagonist for this special is Spencer, good to see a steam engine, not diesel, to have the role as antagonist. Spencer's role did fit quite perfectly in this, but I'll explain more about his role once we've started.
What I liked
First off, the thing I like, well like a little bit, is that this special is the first ever Thomas project to be done in CGI, though I do prefer the models slightly more. It is also the first Thomas special since the first, not really Thomas special to have voice actors, we never get to see the engines voiced by the narrator again, with the exception of in promotional videos on the official Thomas & Friends YouTube channel. As I said earlier, I like how it introduces the quite frequent characters that appear in the show ever since: Hiro, Victor and Kevin. They all have good personalities, though Kevin seems more of a clown lol, but I still like him, though in my opinion, I'd say I like Hiro and Victor more then him, don't worry Kevin, I still like your clumsiness lol. Spencer's role as antagonist worked well in this, though he did act like an idiot at some parts in the special, though we get to see him have his first two accidents, having stone fall from the hopper all over him and derailing at the Fenland Track, thus causing it to snap severely.
The song in this special Go, Go Thomas was quite catchy to listen to, but does have a few problems within it. Though, the chase scene was quite fun to watch and so was the chase with "Patchwork" Hiro, speaking of him, I liked his multi-coloured appearance, having blue, green and purple parts.
What I disliked
Thomas thinking that Hiro would be scrapped just for being left on his siding? I mean, seriously Thomas, you know by now that the Fat Controller would not scrap engines (which has been said now over a hundred times in the show), but Sharon Miller probably just forgets that it has been said before. Come on Miller, do remember this! How many times has it been said before, the Fat Controller would not scrap engines! Okay?! Well enough of that. Also, like I said before, Spencer did have a good role, but acted like an idiot at times, like when he tried shunting away Percy's mail trucks, I mean... seriously? Though, I think Gordon should've had a major role in this, considering he is Spencer's cousin who is the main antagonist of this special, we could see more of their LNER rivalry, which is what I like to call it.
Despite all this, there's not really much to say about Hero of the Rails that I dislike, but it's pretty bland though, just is in my opinion.
Overall, not great, but good special, it is average in my opinion, I slightly prefer it over Calling All Engines! At least this special doesn't have any sort of rivalry, but probably was one against Thomas and Spencer, like at the beginning and halfway through, though at least you tried Miller, better luck next time.
Final rating: 6.5/10
Misty Island Rescue
One of the weakest Thomas specials ever, it introduces, which are known as the most pointless characters out of the Thomas franchise, the Logging Locos: Bash, Dash and Ferdinand. They are known as the most hateable characters in the franchise too, they have no job, they have dangerous behaviour, along with owning a crane who throws logs instead of loading them, was this what Sharon Miller was thinking? She seems to think that she's writing on another television show, not Thomas & Friends. But let's just get onto the review.
What I liked
Though despite the special being weak, I love its plot of Thomas leaving the Island of Sodor and ending up in a mysterious place, and the engines go out looking for him, but the best part about the movie is the music, this is one of Robert Hartshrone's best piece of music he's composed, sounds much like Pirates of the Caribbean rather then Thomas. It's also good seeing a Search & Rescue centre being built on the island, it has become a very useful location since it first appeared. I like the song Misty Island Rescue, prefer it much more then the special itself lol.
What I disliked
Obvious one, as I said before, what I disliked about this movie was its introduction of Bash, Dash and Ferdinand, three of the most pointless characters ever in Thomas, they have no job, dangerous behaviour (throwing logs), laughing at typically everything and have no distinctive persona, Bash and Dash only finish each other's sentences while Ferdinand constantly repeats the phrase "That's right!" Though, I have to prefer Ferdinand then Bash and Dash, he's less annoying then those two menaces lol, but repetitive, as said earlier. Misty Island also seems like a boring-looking place, it doesn't have much potential to it, just mist and logs, and two cranes, Ol' Wheezy and Hee-Haw. Really it! Besides, what's with all the plot holes and why couldn't Thomas simply cross the Vicarstown Bridge instead to get to the Mainland, it has been closed a number of times within the series, but it was never mentioned in this special, or was Thomas just being too lazy to go to the bridge himself? Lovely!
Though, quite short review, the special was a terrible choice for the 65th anniversary of the series and was let down because of its inclusion of the Logging Locos, 'cos of their dangerous personality which I've said before, Thomas' annoying line, "I make good decisions, that what I was told, I will not be fearful, I'll be brave and long." One thing Miller does to turn Thomas into an annoying jerk (make him constantly repeat the same phrase three or four times, just stop it! It's disturbing) and the many plot holes in this is what ruins the special even more. I have no more to say about this special, let's hope Miller improves next time.
Final rating: 4/10
Day of the Diesels
Very bad, nothing else to say, just... Bad! Though, this is clearly my worst Thomas special ever, considering Thomas and the Magic Railroad is a film, not a special. The inclusion of its 'Steamie & Diesel' rivalry was a big disgrace. Not to mention, Percy thinking Thomas is not his friend, just because he is showing two new engines around the island. Just pathetic! Anyway, let's move onto the review.
What I liked
Hardly much of it, only two things to point out that I think were quite good, I like the idea of having a character other then Thomas as the main character (that character being Percy). The scene of the Steam Team heading for the Steamworks was quite fun to watch, though I do like some of the new characters, like Paxton and Sidney, but Norman, Belle and Flynn are good, but do not really have much potential in them. Despite this, everything else about the movie is meh.
What I disliked
A lot to say to be honest, the inclusion of a 'Steamie and Diesel' rivalry again? Diesel 10 sort of acting like how he did in Magic Railroad, Percy thinking that his best friend has fell out with him just because he is showing two new engines, Belle and Flynn around the island, just come on Miller, and also... Stop adding a 'Steamie and Diesel' rivalry, it's racist to some of the audience, especially depending on their skin. This also seems like a ridiculous rewrite of Calling All Engines! whereas Miller is trying to make that special better, but only makes it a lot worse. Even when the diesels take over the Steamworks, they are being held up by hoists and such, yet there are no workmen, do you realise Sharon that workmen/crew are needed to control vehicles, it's not like they can move on their own. Even the song Day of the Diesels was terrible, couldn't save the special at all. I have no more to say as of now!
Overall, very bad movie, Percy's personality just didn't fit in well, though I liked seeing some of his younger side, like when he befriends Diesel 10. But him thinking that Thomas was no longer his friend just because he was busy showing new arrivals around the island. Not well done, Miller... Not at all!
Final rating: 3/10
Blue Mountain Mystery
Best Miller special ever, she appears to have done a good job on writing this, for once. Well, it is the last special writ by her, so it makes sense that she wanted kids to love it before she retired as head writer. More focus on the Skarloey Railway engines, something that past specials have never had in common. It has a good storyline, of Thomas trying to find out about an engine named Luke who keeps hiding from him, though the story does have some flaws, but I'll get onto that once we're onto reviewing this.
What I liked
As I said before, I like how the special focuses on the narrow gauge engines more. Plus, we get to see less of the Steam Team, besides Thomas, who once again has the role as main character, but I don't really mind if he's the main though, it fits in quite well. Also as I said earlier, the storyline is good, involving an engine named Luke thinking he'll be sent away from Sodor and Thomas tries to convince him to stay and say it was an accident, though it does have some flaws, which I'll write on the "What I disliked" section once I've done this one. Luke is a very interesting character, like how they based an engine off another engine designed by Kerr Stuart, like Peter Sam, though I'd like to see the two have a conversation with each other, as they were built both by the same person and at the same works, California Works. I love the flashbacks in this, they managed to do recreated scenes in CGI, like A Scarf for Percy, The Sad Story of Henry and Down the Mine, especially an engine who is shown in a different livery before coming to Sodor, that engine being Victor, who was painted yellow. Though, I didn't understand why the docks doesn't look any different then it does now, as Victor did appear in Hero of the Rails and in the model series, Brendam Docks did look quite different, but I don't really mind if they hadn't had time to do so.
Though not just Luke that I like, but also having a quarry that replaces the Skarloey Railway Slate Quarry, the Blue Mountain Quarry, a much bigger quarry with two other characters called Owen and Merrick, I do think they're interesting characters, but haven't got as much potential in them sadly. Also, the runaway scene with Rheneas at the beginning was thrilling, and so was the scene at the end when he got repainted yellow, though it looks as if it was only put into there so that Mattel could make it into merchandise, not very good idea, but I still like the idea of having him repainted. I'm also glad that Annie and Clarabel speak again, because ever since they last spoke was in the eleventh season episode Thomas in Trouble, I thought they would never speak again in the series, but they still are, thankfully.
Besides that, the special's songs Working Together and Blue Mountain Mystery were very catchy to listen to.
What I disliked
Before, I was mentioning about some flaws being in the storyline, though here they are. It is said that when Luke was being lifted off the ship, he accidentally knocked Victor into the sea, and he gets all worried that he'll be sent away from Sodor, plus this is what the special is about. Yet it was Cranky who lifted Luke and cause him to hit Victor, so this is the main plot of the movie, yet it was someone else who caused it to happen. This is one of the most stupidest problems Miller has gotten to have done, and it's even her last special. Though I'll let her off on this special.
Despite this, Nitrogen's animation did seem quite terrible.
Overall. Excellent movie, good use of characters, good comic relief, moments and scenes (e.g. the runaway scene with Rheneas at the beginning). Miller has improved a lot while writing this special, even though it has some flaws in it, at least she tried her hardest, which I'm okay of. A very good way to end your job as writer Sharon Miller. Though, you may have wrote the worst specials/episodes ever, but you certainly did a good job on this. Well done!
Final rating: 8.5/10
King of the Railway
Though I have to say. Good Thomas movie, it introduced Sodor's oldest castle, Ulfstead Castle as well as the world's famous rocket, Stephenson's Rocket, as known as Stephen and even the Earl of Sodor, Sir Robert Norramby, along with his private engine named Millie and two streamliners named Connor and Caitlin, it even marks the return of Jack the front loader, but I'll get onto the rest when I've got onto reviewing this.
What I liked
I like how this is the first project written by Andrew Brenner, the head writer who has basically saved the show since he started as headwriter, like changing characters' personalities back to how they were originally. I also like how this is the first project animated by Arc Productions, which is much better animated then Nitrogen, though the animations in this special look so odd. As I said above, we're introduced to Ulfstead Castle, a very old and ancient-looking place, but also Stephenson's Rocket aka Stephen, who has become a popular character since he was introduced, then the Earl of Sodor, Sir Robert Norramby, which was I think Duke's grace in the RWS, if only Duke did appear in this special. Anyway, there is also Norramby's private engine Millie, who has become loved by many fans, mainly because of her French accent and dialogue. Then is introduced Connor and Caitlin, two streamliners who don't really seem as popular as Stephen and Millie do.
Though, not just the characters, but I like how Stephen references the real-life event, the "Rainhill Trials" and that he was on it, along with two other experiment-looking engines. But the best thing about this movie has got to be the appearance of Jack, the first character to make a return appearance in the Arc era, his role fitted perfectly within the movie, he helped with the construction of Ulfstead Castle and helped dig up the rocks blocking Ulfstead Mine. Though, it would've been better if the rest of the Pack had appeared too. Though, Alfie, Oliver, Max and Monty would later return in Lost Treasure, which I have yet to review.
The storyline is also pretty good, involving Stephen getting trapped in a mine and Thomas and everyone else goes looking for him. I also quite like the Thomas, Percy and James trio, which would then carry over to next year's special and so on, it's not just that, but also Gordon and Spencer's rivalry made the movie shine more, even that race at the end with them and Connor and Caitlin, this is the real Great Race, but we still have more specials to come though. The songs Searching Everywhere and It's Gonna be a Great Day were awesome, both of them.
What I disliked
One thing I disliked was Arc's animation in this, yet even though it's there first Thomas project, they started out with very poor anime, the lighting looked quite low-in quality, and the sounds/voices sound quite hard to hear. I didn't really like how Stephen went to several places on the island looking for a job when he is told to wait at the Steamworks, he's supposed to be an old engine, though he did act more older and mature ever since, but it would be good if we saw this in this special.
But the thing I'd like to complain about is what is the point of having this special exist, I mean... It consists of four different story arcs, one being about Thomas, Percy and James helping the Earl at Ulfstead Castle, one being about Gordon and Spencer racing, and encountering Connor and Caitlin, another being about Stephen going around Sodor asking for a job and another being about Stephen going missing in a mine. Why couldn't they have just done these as four different episodes maybe in a story arc instead? Would be better.
Just one more thing to say is what is the point of introducing Millie, Connor and Caitlin in the movie, they hardly did anything, it was only Stephen who did something essential to the plot, did Mattel make Brenner add them into the movie, so they could make merchandise out of them or was it because they wanted more newbies in the special rather then one?
Overall. Great movie, though not as good as the last one, it did have some good moments in it. Great introduction to Stephen, Millie, the Earl, Ulfstead Castle and the two streamliners, (though Millie, Connor and Caitlin didn't do much in the special) and the perfect re-introduction for Jack. I'd like to see more Thomas movies like this, but not with characters who are useless to the plot. Try better next time, Brenner!
Final rating: 8/10
Tale of the Brave
Excellent Thomas movie, it has a very good storyline and plot, with Percy again as the main character, it also introduces four new characters: Gator, Timothy, Marion and Reg, while the former three have become popular since they first appeared, the latter hasn't got as much popularity. It's moral is also great. It is even the first Thomas special not to have Toby in it, but that's not really something to be happy about. But I'll talk about all this when we've started reviewing.
What I liked
Nearly everything about the movie. As I said before, it has a very good storyline and plot, it again has Percy as the main character, but his role as main character is better in this special then in Day of the Diesels. Like I said earlier, it also has a good moral of teaching younger people how to be brave and go through. James' role as antagonist was very well done, he has his original persona of scaring Percy and he even ends up having to take the Flying Kipper for Henry while he goes to the Mainland, great comic relief. If there was another Steam Team member to be an antagonist, then it couldn't be anyone, but Gordon.
The story's plot started well, with Thomas' Branch Line being closed for repairs and Thomas is sent to work at the Clay Pits with Bill and Ben, a similar experience to the RWS book Thomas and the Twins where something similar like that happened. The new characters: Gator, Timothy, Marion and Reg were great. As I said before started reviewing, the former three newbies have become popular since they were introduced, but the latter hasn't had as much popularity, or potential. Gator has become a well-known character for his bravery and backstory, which was so interesting, though sadly he hasn't appeared as much in the series after that only appearing in two episodes of the eighteenth season, Missing Gator and Long Lost Friend. The songs in the special were also great. Monsters Everywhere and Let's Be Brave, I also liked Our Tale of the Brave, all three were awesome songs.
Though the best part of this special has got to be the many references from past Thomas episodes, like Classic ones, or events that happened in the Nitrogen era, but I'm only going to say Classic ones. Here are a few references to name, Thomas' Branch Line being closed and he gets sent to work up at the clay pits with Bill and Ben is a reference to Thomas and the Twins as I've already said. Also, Henry's line "You were supposed to deliver the fish, not throw them back in the water" was quite funny, the Fat Controller even told Henry the same thing in Something in the Air after he crashes into the water and lastly, the narrator saying Percy has had troubles going past danger signs before is a reference to Percy Takes the Plunge.
We also get to see my favourite character, Oliver return in the CGI Series after years of absence, I'm glad he could make it back into the show, but weird seeing his re-introduction consisting of a non-speaking role. Boring! Even though he didn't speak in this special, at least he spoke in the eighteenth season. James' idea of having scrap piled on one another was great, well Reg's, should I say?
What I disliked
Nearly everything about this movie is great, but there are a few flaws in it, such as I don't see the point of having Reg appear as a new character in this special. I mean, he can still exist in Thomas & Friends, but I'd say he's more better off of being a newbie in the eighteenth season, here's the reason why: Reg only appeared once in the movie and that is when James is heading for the scrap yard, and accidentally runs into Reg's Scrap Heap Monster, he introduces himself to James, who then takes the scrap monster away plus not doing his job, and after that, Reg doesn't appear again in the whole movie, nor James doesn't do his job of collecting scrap, not even the Fat Controller was cross with him for not doing so.
I'd have to say, Reg would be much better off being a newbie in the eighteenth season, which makes sense as he appeared in Disappearing Diesels, which aired on DVD before this movie, which would make sense pretty much as he technically first appeared then. James could've got his scrap heap monster from the yards instead and he has a different job, not collecting scrap, but perhaps pulling a goods train instead.
Another thing which I'd like to say is what is the special meant to be about, is it about Thomas wanting to know about the dinosaur footprints, Percy trying to be brave or James scaring Percy? This would be better being done in an actual episode maybe, like three episodes like these in a story arc or something, much like the previous special.
Though much like the previous special, I don't see the point of introducing Timothy, Marion and Reg in this, as only Gator did something essential to the plot while the other three just made very little roles in the movie, it seems like they were only made to appear in the special so that Mattel could make merchandise out of them, much like the three newbies in the previous special. Though, Marion did have quite a large role in the movie, which I'm okay of.
Final Thoughts Overall, excellent movie, the new characters are great and so are the references, song, storyline and moral. I'd love to see more specials like this, like I said on the previous review I did with King of the Railway. Good job, Brenner, good to see you've wrote a special which is way better then the previous one. Well done, keep up with the good work Brenner!
Final rating: 9/10
The Adventure Begins
Excellent special, the writers did a good idea of writing a special in the year of the Thomas & Friends 70th anniversary, which is all about Thomas' past. Thomas first appears in a new livery and James appears in his black livery for the first time in the T.V. Series, and this is the first Thomas project to feature the original "Coffee Pot" engines, but I'll get onto all this when I've started reviewing this special.
What I liked
Nearly everything about this special, I like how Andrew Brenner decided to write a special to celebrate the 70th anniversary of Thomas, which is all about Thomas' past when he arrived on Sodor, even before he arrived. We finally get to see an engine in their original colours before being repainted into NWR colours, such as Thomas being panted green with "LBSC" written on his sides and the number "70", whereas the idea was probably done because it is the 70th anniversary of Thomas & Friends, we also finally get to see James in his black livery from the Railway Series, as for some strange reason, he appeared red in his first appearance Thomas and the Breakdown Train in the first season. Good seeing how certain events from some of the first season episodes are remade in this, like Edward and Gordon, The Sad Story of Henry (which was only seen in a flashback), Thomas and Gordon, Thomas' Train, Thomas and the Trucks and Thomas and the Breakdown Train, though the events of Edward, Gordon and Henry were mentioned by Edward, though it would be better if the events from that episode and The Sad Story of Henry could actually make it into the special, without the former being a flashback, though this was probably done because of time constraints.
We finally get to see the Breakdown Train appear in the CGI Series, but there is only one breakdown train which has faces and names, Jerome and Judy, who would later appear in the series again in the twentieth season. As I said before reviewing the special, the best part about this special has got to be the inclusion of the "Coffee Pot" engines, where we are introduced to Glynn, the former number 1 engine until Thomas arrived, good inspiration there, all thanks to railway consultant, Sam Wilkinson. It's good hearing music from Mike O'Donnell and Junior Campbell, it would be better if they returned to compose music in the series. I also like the mention of Brighton, which was said by Thomas when he was telling James about himself and the North Western Railway is referred to by name for the first time ever? Wow!
It is finally mentioned how Thomas became the number "1", as he wasn't actually the first engine on Sodor, he replaced Glynn the coffeepot who was former number "1". Though, the crash with James was thrilling and one of the best out of the whole Thomas franchise, seeing a close-up of a crash instead of a wide shot was such a good inspiration there. Hope it carries on in later seasons/specials.
What I disliked
Though the special itself is amazing, there are some flaws in it, it's strange seeing locations like Kellsthorpe Road, the Sodor Steamworks and the Sodor Suspension Bridge even though they weren't built around the time on Sodor, though I understand that the steamworks appeared, probably because there was nowhere for Thomas to be repainted, but the other two should've been replaced with other locations that existed by then.
What was also a bit shame is that Henry is still in his new shape and Tidmouth Sheds has its new seven berth architectural instead of its original six berth one. If James was able to be repainted black and coffee pots were able to be included, then how come Henry didn't get re-rendered into his old shape, they simply had to remove the splashers, taper his firebox and remove his sand dome, that could've been done in like only a few seconds really, Tidmouth Sheds only needed one of its berths removing, that would take definitely just a second also. Though what is also strange is that Henry appears to have his worrisome pre-S13 personality instead of his original Classic Series personality.
As I was also saying before, it's also quite a shame that we don't get to see the events of The Sad Story of Henry or Edward, Gordon and Henry, as the former was only done as a flashback while the latter was mentioned by Edward. If it's because of time constraints, then I don't see the point as it's only a 45 minute special, they could've made it a 60 minute special instead like the other specials.
One more thing to say is that what's the point of having Glynn in this? He only appeared for like a few seconds towards the end and had only three lines. Couldn't he have gotten more development within the special like Judy and Jerome? Well, he does do later in the twentieth season.
Overall, fantastic movie, great way to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the franchise, I'd really love to see a sequel to this pertaining the events of James and the Coaches all the way to (I don't know) Percy Runs Away maybe? Andrew Brenner has done very well on writing such a terrific special. Well done to you!
Final rating: 9.5/10
Sodor's Legend of the Lost Treasure
Fantastic movie, so action-packed and whatnot. Many characters return in CGI like Donald, Douglas, Daisy and the rest of the pack, besides Jack, and we are introduced to Ryan, Skiff and Sailor John, the latter being an antagonist, Ryan and Skiff are known as the most popular Thomas characters in the franchise, while Sailor John on the other hand is sort of popular, but not as much as the former too. We also get to see the Arlesdale Railway at last in the TV series. But I'll see more once we've started reviewing this excellent special.
What I liked
Particularly everything, to be honest, I don't even know where to start. Its action-pack! Returning characters! New Characters (with an antagonist)! Arlesdale Railway! The Pack! The music! The storyline! All of these features make me love the special a lot. But I'll start with the storyline. First off, Thomas is very perfect-in persona, with his usual young cheeky side, especially at the beginning when he races Bertie and being cheeky to Gordon, it works very well. His young side is used a lot, like when he befriends a sailor, John, who turns out not as friendly as he seems. By the way, that accident he caused with Gordon's Express Coaches was thrilling, I've never seen anything like it, so was his accident when he fell down the cavern and plus discovered Captain Calles' Pirate Ship. I also liked Marion's role here, with her usual talkative and bubbling persona, her interactions with Toad at the beginning were great, and so were the ones with Oliver the excavator, in which he seemingly didn't know that there were two Olivers until the end of the special, she even thought the Arlesdale engines were "magical". This definitely fits in with her persona. Though, I also liked how the special focused less on the Steam Team, like Blue Mountain Mystery, though characters like Henry and Gordon did have a major part in this, whereas the former claims to have seen the ghost boat, which is really Skiff and the latter whose coaches are being shunted by Thomas, but ends up derailing them after his cheeky personality gets a little too over him.
Now the returnees and new characters, Donald and Douglas finally make it into the CGI Series, after an absence of seven years in the franchise, even Duck references that they haven't been around in a while, though sadly they didn't do much in the special (which I'll get onto soon), then Daisy, who's been absent for ten years, but she didn't do much either, only make a small appearance towards the end, then the Pack, as Jack returned in King of the Railway, pack members like Alfie, Oliver, Max and Monty return in this special, though Alfie and Oliver did appear quite frequently in the movie, unlike the other returnees. Then here we are, the Arlesdale engines: Mike, Rex and Bert, three of the most populist characters in the whole franchise, they finally made it into the series. Weird how they know Thomas, yet they never met in the RWS, but it looks as if they met offscreen. Their role in the movie worked very well, their interactions with Marion were quite funny due to her thinking they were magical. The new characters in this movie: Ryan, Skiff and Sailor John were great, this time all the newbies are essential to the plot, unlike the newbies in King of the Railway and Tale of the Brave where they appear very little in the movies themselves. I liked the idea of Ryan's basis, looks like they chose it to make Thomas feel threatened that he was being replaced with someone larger then him. Good idea! Skiff's role here worked well, a boat that eventually is given wheels to roam the tracks lol! But then there is Sailor John, the first ever human antagonist in Thomas & Friends ever, his personality worked really well, especially his dark and sinister behaviour. Looking for treasure that has been buried for over a hundred years, quite weird though. Captain Calles also seemed like a great character, but all we know as of Salty's story, he attacked and sinking merchant ships in order to steal their treasure, meaning he is quite greedy, but still we don't know anything else about him whatsoever.
The music in this special was great, especially the music heard when Donald and Douglas were hauling the pirate ship to Arlesburgh Harbour, that has got to be the best music I've ever heard in the whole Thomas franchise. Robert Hartshrone really has done a good job on composing, so did his son, Peter. The songs Never Overlook a Little Engine and We Make a Team Together were great, both catchy and brilliant, with one song relating to the special's moral, We Make a Team Together.
What I disliked
Everything about this special is brilliant, though there are a few things that I'd like to point out that aren't really great. First off, returnees like Donald, Douglas and Daisy didn't do much in the movie, the twins only helped with the construction of the Harwick Branch Line and hauled the pirate ship to Arlesburgh Harbour, that was technically it, and Daisy only ever appeared at the end where she spoke the line "That's right Thomas, me!" It would be good if the twins could speak more or do more in the special, and perhaps Daisy shouldn't return in this special, instead she could make a return in the twentieth season, revealing then that she is helping Ryan on the Harwick Branch then. There are also characters that I think shouldn't of spoken in this, like Duck. Duck only spoke at the beginning when Donald and Douglas pulled into the construction yard, he only says how the twins have been gone for ages and then after that, he never speaks again for the rest of the movie, nor doesn't do anything, but just appears in the background helping with the construction yard, couldn't he just cameo and maybe someone else could do his part. Salty should've appeared more in this, as in the special itself, he tells the story of Captain Calles to the engines and after that, he doesn't appear again for the rest of the movie, shame really. Couldn't Thomas have just come to the docks and ask Salty if the story of Captain Calles is real, or something like that?
Though, the review was quite long. This movie was fantastic, everything in it was perfect, with the exception of a few, of it being so action-packed, its new characters, its returnees and its storyline. Andrew Brenner did a very good job on writing this movie, I doubt that any other special will be as better then this.
Final rating: 10/10
The Great Race
Good, but not great, this special introduces twelve international engines from all over the world and even the Flying Scotsman, there's a surprise. Thomas wants to go to the Great Railway Show, but the other engines laugh at him because he's not the right engine to be competing, but we'll get onto the rest once the special's review has began.
What I liked
There are a certain things I liked about this special, like the first appearance of Vicarstown station in the series and the reintroduction of the Flying Scotsman, who hasn't directly appeared in the series yet considering only his tenders appeared in the third season episode Tender Engines, but now we're introduced to the full Scotsman himself, lol! His role worked well here, and his brotherly rivalry with Gordon was also great, showing that Scotsman is just as pompous and smug as his brother. I'd like to see more of this rivalry in future episodes, perhaps one with Scotsman, Gordon and Spencer, knowing that they're all relatives and they all act similar.
I also liked the international engines, with the except of one, who just acted too much of a bully to Philip and that was simply it, Vinnie! Ashima is a very interesting character, with a good paint design, though she hasn't got much potential in her as she doesn't really have a backstory, unlike Gator in Tale of the Brave, Ashima appears to be somewhat similar to Gator, but Gator appears to have much potential. It was good seeing a Great Railway Show taking place, with four different competitions, one of each that have different stats like strength, speed and agility. Diesel's role here also worked well, I guess, but I don't see the point of his role here, simply trying to get into the railway show, but I'll explain more of that in a bit. It's also good seeing a character being simply modified entirely, like Gordon, who had streamlining panels all over him, plus he tries to be like his brother, renaming himself "The Shooting Star", like how the Flying Scotsman is called as such. Gordon's streamlining design looks very classic, but I don't really see the point of him being streamlined for this, but I'll also get onto that later.
Though, the best part about this movie has got to be the songs: The songs Will You Won't You, Streamlining, I'm Full of Surprises, You Can Only Be You, The Shooting Star is Coming Through and Be Who You Are, and Go Far are all amazing, though the best song in the special has got to be Will You Won't You, surprisingly a song that is sung by nearly every character in the series, like the Steam Team, engines 8-11, the dockside team, the China Clay team, the minor characters, the Skarloey Railway engines and the smallies, just wow! This is something we thought we would never have seen in Thomas & Friends, but we thought wrong. Streamlining was also quite catchy, and so was The Shooting Star is Coming Through, both were actually good, I'm Full of Surprises was also quite catchy, being sang by Diesel, who can be described as a villain, and You Can Only Be You was very good, Ashima's singing voice is wonderful, though Be Who You Are, and Go Far tops that song in my opinion.
What I disliked
I didn't really like the storyline in this special, it's only about Thomas wanting to try and enter the Great Railway Show and he tries everything he can to try and compete, but just fails. Seems like a re-hash of the eleventh season episode Dream On whereas he did the exact same thing in that episode, and he failed every time.
Since, when did the idea of Thomas jumping the Vicarstown Bridge even come from? Something that has yet to be explained. I don't see the point of having this moment in the special because after Thomas jumps it, he never references it again, doesn't tell his friends about it or anything, did Brenner just push the scene into the special, so that kids can see how realistic the trains are? Just awkward! I wouldn't mind if Thomas had jumped the bridge in the actual movie, but couldn't some of his parts have fallen off when he lands on the rails because he is supposed to be not fully repaired, and couldn't more emphasise have been given about the event? Well, I know he didn't have time to, but couldn't he have told them after the railway show had ended? Guessing Brenner wasn't thinking, huh!
Why couldn't have Gordon been the main character in this special instead of Thomas? We could've got attention from the big blue engine, since other engines have appeared as main characters before, like Percy in Day of the Diesels and Tale of the Brave, Gordon could've got a time to shrine, though Thomas and the others can still be in it, and the former can still bring Gordon his safety valve, but the special should focus primarily on him, since he tries to prove that he is better then his brother, and at the beginning, he complains to the other engines about the Flying Scotsman replacing the scene with Thomas at the shunting yards talking to Percy, a missed opportunity in this special.
Also, why didn't Diesel think of another plan when his failed, because he tried getting into the strength competition, by disguising Paxton, Den and Dart into crates while they push the train to make it look as if Diesel was strong, so he could go to compete in the strength competition instead of Henry, but after that, he didn't think of another plan, nor does he appear again in the whole movie, but later appears in the credits where Den, Dart and Paxton look for him only to turn out he is under a crate on a ship leaving Sodor, boring. But here's a missed opportunity, couldn't have Diesel, along with Paxton and Sidney got repainted yellow and red so they look like the Mainland Diesels? I mean, when I first saw those diesels in the behind-the-scenes video for the special, I thought they were Diesel, Sidney and Paxton in disguise, as their faces looked similar, I was really looking forwards for this, but it turns out nah, they are entirely different characters, a shame really. Another missed opportunity in the special. Another thing I'd like to say is Vinnie, who acted like nothing, but a complete unlikeable jerk, he was just being mean to Thomas and Philip and whatnot, I personally don't see the point of having him in the special itself, though I did sort of like the scenes with him and Philip. But why did Thomas and Ashima have to jump in and save Vinnie, couldn't Gordon do it instead, sticking up to Philip, even though they don't really get along and he then tries pulling Vinnie away, coupling up back first as he hasn't got a coupling at the front. Because if anyone has noticed, after Thomas and Ashima make Vinnie run into the pylon in the actual special, the shunting challenge continues as if nothing ever happened, very awkwardly done!
Just a few more things to say. What was the point of having Philip be the flag carrier of Team Sodor, there was no point as no other engine had a flag carrier, and why wasn't Stephen shown going to the railway show with the other Sudrian engines? You know, even when Thomas arrives at the show, Stephen passes him, but doesn't say a word when he passes, it's like that engine isn't Stephen at all, it's just another engine sharing his model, very dumb thought there! Also, why was Percy chosen to replace Thomas in the shunting challenge? If Percy didn't want to compete in the railway show in the first place, then why was he singing in Will You Won't You?! Just come on Brenner, we thought you could do better then this! Surely, characters like Duck, Rosie, Stanley, Stafford or Philip could've been chosen instead, though I know the latter is the flag carrier for Team Sodor, but as I said before, it seems pointless having a flag carrier.
The longest review I've done yet, but here are my final thoughts, the special was good, but not entirely great, so many missed opportunities and flaws were in it, I feel like doing a rewrite of this special sometime in the future, though that could be possible. Better luck next time, Mattel and Andrew Brenner!
Final rating: 7.5/10
Journey Beyond Sodor
Excellent movie, I love the experimental engines, very well-written characters, the storyline was amazing also. But I'll get onto the rest when we've started reviewing this special.
What I liked
A lot about this special, I liked the scenes at the beginning showing each location on Sodor, like the docks, Arlesburgh Harbour, Bluff's Cove, Blue Mountain Quarry etc. The crash with Henry was also thrilling to watch. Probably one of the best accidents ever in Thomas & Friends in my opinion. The storyline was also great, with James being sent to take Henry's trucks to the Mainland, but Thomas wants to get revenge on James and sends them himself, but meets up with some new engines and a large Steelworks, where two engines try and hold him and James hostage, fits in really well with the special. The songs in the special Somebody Has to be the Favourite, Who's Thomas?, The Hottest Place in Town, I Want to Go Home, We Can't Do Anything and The Most Important Thing is Being Friends were great. Though, my favourite about of them all is the latter one, so fun to listen to. Plus, the moral is great, you don't have to be the favourite, but more importantly you should be friends. We finally see Rosie in her new red livery for the first time and see her speak in a special, as all her other appearances in specials she only cameoed, that was technically it, but she finally speaks in a special. I'm starting to like the character more now. I loved the experimental engines, though my favourites have got to be Theo, Hurricane and Merlin, very well-written characters, I liked Lexi too, her personality was well-written also and Frankie, she seemed to love taking the mick out of Thomas by calling him "little tank engine" lol.
What I disliked
What I didn't really like about this special is that a lot of characters in the movie have non-speaking roles, even the dockside team, since they usually speak in every special they appear in. Honestly, only twenty-four characters in the whole movie speak, mostly being Steam Team characters. I would've liked it if some of the non-speaking characters in the special would've spoke. I also don't see the point of Beresford, though I do like him and he has got a lot of potential in him, but he didn't do much in the special itself, only appearing three times in it, much like Reg in Tale of the Brave where he only appeared once in that movie. I don't even see the point of having two antagonists: Hurricane and Frankie. Couldn't one do? I would say Frankie should be the antagonist, considering in the special she seems much crueller then Hurricane, who appears to be much nicer. Perhaps Hurricane could've told Thomas that Frankie had held him hostage and he ended up becoming her assistant. Much better if that was true. Though, I would've liked it if the whole Steam Team and the Fat Controller would've came to the Mainland to look for Thomas and James, and they try to stop Frankie from holding them hostage.
Great special, though it had a few problems with it, but it was still fun to watch, I do prefer it over The Great Race, but at least Brenner did try his best on writing this special. Good job!
Final rating: 9.5/10
Order of Specials
Now we have finally reviewed every special, here are my list of specials from favourite to least favourite.
- Sodor's Legend of the Lost Treasure - 10/10
- The Adventure Begins - 9.5/10
- Journey Beyond Sodor - 9.5/10
- Tale of the Brave - 9/10
- Blue Mountain Mystery - 8.5/10
- The Great Discovery - 8/10
- King of the Railway - 8/10
- The Great Race - 7.5/10
- Hero of the Rails - 6.5/10
- Calling All Engines! - 5/10
- Misty Island Rescue - 4/10
- Day of the Diesels - 3/10
- Thomas and the Magic Railroad - 2/10