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Thomas & Friends: Hero of the Rails

4.7 out of 5 stars 302 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

See Thomas & Friends like never before in this new action-packed movie. Follow Thomas as he discovers Hiro, an abandoned engine from a faraway land. Fearing that Hiro will be scrapped, Thomas enlists the help of many friends, but mishaps, mistakes and one boastful engine could foil their rescue plans. Watch and find out if they can work together to help their new friend in the most heroic movie of the year!

Amazon.com

See Thomas & Friends™ like never before in this new action-packed movie. Follow Thomas as he discovers Hiro, an abandoned engine from a faraway land. Fearing that Hiro will be scrapped, Thomas enlists the help of many friends, but mishaps, mistakes and one boastful engine could foil their rescue plans. Watch and find out if they can work together to help their new friend in the most heroic movie of the year!


Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Martin T. Sherman, David Bedella, William Hope, Togo Igawa, Jules de Jongh
  • Directors: Greg Tiernan
  • Writers: Sharon Miller
  • Producers: Nicole Stinn, Marion Edwards, Christopher Skala
  • Format: AC-3, Animated, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, Full Screen, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Dubbed: French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Lionsgate
  • DVD Release Date: September 8, 2009
  • Run Time: 61 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (302 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002E9HML0
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,206 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
The fourth Thomas movie down the line (after "Thomas and the Magic Railroad", "Calling All Engines", and "The Great Discovery"), "Hero of the Rails" makes the biggest change in Thomas's history so far; the entire film is done in CGI animation produced by Nitrogen Studios in Canada. All of the characters are now individually voiced, although Micheal Brandon returns to narrate through the film.

In the story, Spencer, a big silver engine from the mainland, is visiting Sodor to help build a private summer house. Thomas, after being teased about his size, foolishly tries to compete with Spencer, but ends up crashing onto an abandoned old line. There he finds Hiro, an old abandoned engine who once worked on Sodor long ago. Wanting to prevent him from being scrapped, Thomas promises to help return him to his former glory, along with the help of Victor and Kevin (a steam engine and a crane, respectively), who work at Sodor's famous "Steamworks". Along the way, he has to avoid the suspicious eyes of Spencer, and keep Hiro's secret from Sir Topham Hatt.
Not spoiling the end of the story, it's vaguely similar to "Magic Railroad", but it was fantastically executed overall. Hiro's character is very believable and likable, and Victor and Kevin make a wonderful pair on-screen. The story's moral is laid in through the narration, but isn't thrown right into the viewer's face, unlike most children's films, which is a refreshing change.

The film's main focus, however, is the new animation. While the original model series was wonderful, the new CGI is a breath of fresh air. The moving faces give a whole new life to the characters, and each locomotive looks as realistic as they can be.
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My 4 year old went bananas when he saw that I bought this for him. He was so happy. I watched it with him the first time and I was impressed with it. The Thomas movies have always been good for kids and now that they are animated it is even better. Not quite as creepy I think! So if you have a Thomas fan in your house this is a must see & buy.
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My daughter loves Thomas the Tank Engine but sometimes the videos make me want to eat nails. That stupid song gets caught in my head and the stories just seem so short and underdeveloped. This movie is very different. The music is more modern (read: no annoying children's choir)and the character voices are much more natural. The longer story was developed well and did not seem to end abruptly. I actually enjoyed watching this Thomas video with my daughter.
1 Comment 22 of 24 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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I bought Hero of the Rails for my 2-year old. He is an absolute Thomas fanatic!

This movie does not dissappoint. Initially, I was not a fan of the CGI. After watching what seemed like endless hours of Thomas minatures and voiced-over character dolls in the older shows, it seemed that was the only proper way to watch Thomas. The CGI would simply cause "confusion and delay".

Was I wrong! CGI breathes new life into this series. The characters have lost that "homey" feel of the minatures, but this is more than made up for by the quality of the graphics. The scenes flow very well, and I must admit, they hold your attention better than "The Great Discovery".

The storyline is very believable: a broken-down and forgotten engine is made new again. This seems to be a recurring theme in many Thomas episodes: Something old is made new. Or, something old is worth keeping around, e.g., steam engines in the age of diesel.

The characters are great! Some of the voices are bit overboard, such as Gordon's "High & Mighty", and Henry's whine. Spencer's voice is perfect, as are Hiro's and Emily's. Personally, I don't care for Thomas's voice. It seems a bit too youngish, but considering who this DVD is aimed at, it works for kids. As was mentioned in an earlier post, Victor and Kevin are a match made in Heaven: the seasoned veteran and the new kid in the shop. Perfect!

Without getting too specific and spoiling the movie for all, I will just say this movie is great for kids and adults. I have even snuck it into the DVD player when no one was around...

Buy it. You won't regret it!
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My 2 year-old daughter has recently expressed excitement over buses, trucks, airplanes, helicopters, and trains...so I thought she might get a kick out of a Thomas video. Once I popped it in, she was hooked. It's actually a very cute movie, and carries a nice message about friendship. The new CGI format is wonderful, and I prefer it to the traditional style (this may be my preference because we started with this format in the first place). I'm waiting for the next Thomas full-length movie, as I prefer it to the videos with short stories.
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Format: DVD
Hero of the Rails is a surprisingly effective movie that demonstrates the potential the Thomas series still has.

Breaking from the usual plot formula of the show, Thomas finds an old engine left for scrap, and tries to repair him in secret. Meanwhile visiting engine Spencer is feeling sore from his competition with the Sodor engines, trying to sabotage them in any way possible.

For a show that was admired for its trainset-come-to-life imagery, changing Thomas to a CGI show seems like a controversial move. However, Hero of the Rails shows the new medium being used to its full potential - wonderful scenery, dynamic "camera" work like tracking shots, and a new sense of scale in Thomas' world. In fact, one new setting is the Steamworks - a giant workshop modeled on several installations from the glory days of steam.

There are new characters, too, and while often Thomas introduces new characters with little purpose other than merchandising potential, these seem like natural extensions of the Sodor world: Victor, the even-tempered workshop engine; Kevin, the Steamworks' accident-prone mobile crane, and Hiro, the abandoned engine whom Thomas and friends hope to restore.

The movie's not without its flaws. For instance there's little regard for actual railway practice, which the older shows almost always adhered to. Finally there are times when the narrator keeps talking even though it's perfectly clear through the characters and on-screen action what's happening. It's not really adding anything other than repetitive rhyming and alliteration.

Still, Hero of the Rails is a refreshing chapter in Thomas' history, and deserves a look.
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