I’ve been watching all the Thomas the Tank Engine movies. Some are pretty good. Some are really bad.
Thomas and the Magic Railroad––
This one’s okay. Paced horribly, bizarre plot that’s hard to follow, but it’s got a nice atmosphere of those types of silly movies I watched as a kid. I’m nostalgic for it, despite not having seem it as a kid. The modelwork for Thomas is amazing, most of the voices are good, the biggest problem is too much focus goes to human characters that arent nearly as interesting as the engines.
Calling All Engines––
This one’s all models, no live action. I watched the American version narrated by Michael Brandon. This one’s fine. Kinda dull, but it’s got its moments. I like The music. The thing that hurts this one is weird “learning segments” inserted into the movie. Keep your remote ready to fast forward. Some of these are kinda funny, as they encourage kids to help Thomas inconvenience Diesel.
The Great Discovery––
This one is pretty boring. It drags on and on. The concept is cool, Thomas finding a forgotten village overgrown in the forest. The middle just feels like one of the later model seasons with a new engine showing up, Thomas not liking them, and doing something to play a trick on them. Pierce Brosnan narrates this one, and I hate how slow and quiet he talks. There is one unintentionally hilarious bit where we see the new engine,Stanley, smiling like a dumbass, then cut to Thomas with his frowny face, and Brosnan calmly whispers, “Thomas didn’t like Stanley.”
Hero of the Rails––
This one is really good. Thomas happens across some forgotten railway line that leads into the woods. In the woods, he finds an old forgotten engine. He befriends the engine, Hiro, and secretly tries to fix him up. He’s afraid Hiro will be scrapped if he’s found in bad condition. Meanwhile, a snooty engine named Spencer decides to be an asshole and insists Hiro be scrapped once he finds out about him. This was the first cgi film in the franchise, and it’s impressive for a first outing. The new characters are all pretty cool, and it actually gets kinda intense later.
Misty Island Rescue––
This one’s regarded as one of the worst, and I can understand why. The film sets up characters and elements only to completely forget about them minutes later. Was this movie made for Dory? The plot is absolute nonsense, and the new characters are pretty useless. I like the opening credits, which are usually creative for the cgi films. Thats about the only positive.
Day of the Diesels––
Diesel 10, the Villain from Magic Railroad is reimagined as a more calculating manipulator. Unfortunately his evil plan is nonsensical, and the film overall is kinda annoying. Percy plays a big part, and I don’t like his voice.
Blue Mountain Mystery––
This one is pretty good, Thomas meets a little green engine he’s never seen before on an assignment away from his typical job. The other engines try to keep the green engine secret. Thomas eventually finds out why and it’s a pretty dark situation, but with a happy outcome.
King of the Railway––
This one feels like a long episode. Not in a bad way, it just diesnt feel very big for a movie. Thomas is helping restore a castle, befriends a really old engine, saves him when he gets caught in a cave-in, pretty typical stuff for the average episode. It’s paced well and the animation is nice.
Tale of the Brave––
This one surprised me, I really liked this one. The music is good, the animation is improving over time, and the new characters are all pretty fun. My one issue is the unfortunate cliche of many animated movies, towards the end, there’s a very forced feeling misunderstanding that causes a rift between the characters. Thomas thinks he saw monster tracks in stone, and later Percy thinks he saw the monster. When Thomas doesn’t believe him, Percy gets all passive aggressive and ignores him. It doesn’t go on for too long, though.
The Adventure Begins––
I haven’t seen this one yet.
Sodor’s Legend of the Lost Treasure––
This one is usually considered one of the best movies in the series. Thomas discovers a pirate ship, and a shady sailor pretends to be his friend in order to steal the ship and it’s treasure. There’s a ton of old characters popping up in the first half, it’s obvious fanservice, but done in a way that feels natural. The dark tone in the latter half makes this one stand out.
The Great Race––
This one is an okay one. It’s a fun fast paced movie but the character focus is uneven. There are fun musical parts and the new characters are fun as well. The titular great race is actually a small part and most of the movie is characters preparing for the show the race is a part of.
Journey Beyond Sodor––
I haven’t seen this one yet.
Big World, Big Adventures––
This one is annoying. A race car convinces Thomas to come with him around the world, and he does. Thomas makes some new friends who are tolerable and the race car just kinda leaves. This one wasn’t a very ambitious movie, which is ironic considering it was intended to introduce a new format where Thomas would travel to other countries.
There are two upcoming films in production, one based off the current 2d cartoon, and one that maybe is going to be a live action/cgi hybrid theatrical movie. Little is known right now about either. The 2d one I probably won’t watch, the series is a baby show. I can’t imagine the film being engaging, even for it’s target audience. The other in hopeful will be more like the Sonic Movie, nothing amazing, but with decent visuals and likable characters opening the door for more ambitious sequels later.