In case you haven’t been keeping up with the TV adaptations of Rev W Awdry’s Thomas The Tank Engine, our feisty little blue train has had a bit of a makeover thanks to 21st century computer animation. He and his pals are far more expressive than they were in the eighties and nineties telly versions, and in this feature length adventure it turns out that their little island of Sodor is bigger than we ever imagined, too – it even has a mainline station that links to the mainland.
It’s at the station that Thomas learns there is going to be a Great Railway Show on the mainland, featuring a host of new engines from all over the world. He wants to compete, of course, even though the other engines tell him he’s not big enough or strong enough. Like most petulant toddlers, though, Thomas refuses to listen and starts planning how to get there.
It’s all very brightly coloured and aimed at the very youngest members of the audience (who will no doubt want to have toys of all the new trains featured) and it zips along quite merrily. Parents will shudder at the rather dreadful musical numbers that are added to extend the film’s running time – one is a dirge worthy of Les Miserables – but little ones will no doubt be charmed by another adventure with Thomas and his steam engine pals.
Is Thomas & Friends: The Great Race suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...