Thomas & Friends: Hero of the Rails
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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.Read more ›
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!
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Thomas and Percy are the favorite. Anything with Percy is a hit.Published 3 days ago by Billie J Hill
There are widely varying levels of quality when it comes to the animation of Thomas & Friends (Thomas the Train, Thomas the Tank Engine) movies. This is one of the better ones.Published 4 days ago by Amazon Customer
I was attending a birthday party of a 3 year old this past weekend and needed a present. The theme of the birthday party was "construction" so I figured a present along... Read morePublished 20 days ago by Julie Laybourne