Friday, February 20, 2009

Thomas & Friends: Railway Friends

Well, this is a some excitement and a nice change for Thomas and his friends! This disc, just released February 10, is part of the all-new CGI animated series. Animated faces are superimposed over the physical models, which means that the trains and people have fuller facial expressions and movements. Even die-hard Thomas fans have to admit he has always sported a bit of a stiff face in the past.

The point of CGI is to bring a fresh and modern look to our railway friends, and also allows for more enhanced, fluid movement of the characters. The show's core values and strengths remain unchanged, as this is merely a cosmetic upgrade. The important thing here is that Thomas can still make his trademark "frowny face." He looks so cross when he makes that face - it's my favorite!

In Best Friends, Thomas is awarded a job that his best friend Percy was hoping to get. Thomas is weighted down with guilt and doesn't know what to say to Percy to smooth things over. The Party Surprise has Colin the Crane sad because he will miss the annual big engine party. His friend Freddie decides to bring the party to Collin instead! Excellent Emily is what Sir Topham dubs Emily after she weathers a big storm. Her ego becomes so inflated that she refuses to listen to the other trains. In Saved You, Thomas insists on helping his friends when they really are not in need of help, causing resentment and an awful lot of problems.

The big change is the visual upgrade, but this is still the same Thomas we know and love. As always, this DVD is filled what we have come to expect from Thomas & Friends: lovable characters and heroic displays of loyalty, responsibility and friendship.

Episodes include: Best Friends, The Party Surprise, Gordon Takes a Shortcut, Thomas Puts the Brakes On, Saved You! and Excellent Emily. DVD special features: Laying Down the Track Puzzle, Name That Train Game, Bonus Episode: Roary’s First Day


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