Thursday, October 1, 2009

Thomas & Friends: Hero of the Rails

I love the full-length movies from Thomas & Friends. They offer so much more of an depth plot than the shorter videos can. The prior release, The Great Discovery, was excellent and this one follows that same path. The biggest addition here is the brand-new CGI-animation, which marks the debut of individual character voices for the engines.

Thomas and his friends have the unpleasant experience of meeting a new engine named Spencer. He's faster than the others and teases them unmercifully. While engaging in a race with Spencer, Thomas accidentally runs off the track and discovers an old, abandoned engine named Hiro. Thomas learns that Hiro was once known as "Master of the Railway" but was forgotten once he grew old and needed extensive repairs.

Thomas pledges to help Hiro again become a really useful engine. He works hard at finding extra parts and implores the other cars for help. Just as they are getting the final part, Spencer discovers their secret. As Hiro struggles to escape from Spencer, his parts come flying off and he is forced to come to a stop. Spencer is elated and tells Thomas that the engine is bound to be scrapped.

In fact, when Thomas comes clean to Sir Topham Hat, he isn't cross at all. He exclaims that Hiro is a very famous engine and should be brought to Steamworks at once so he may be repaired! Thomas heads over to Hiro to tell him the wonderful news, and the two engines are overjoyed.

When Hiro is completed, all of the engines are amazed at how wonderful he looks! He may look good, but he doesn't feel so great. Hiro confesses that he has been feeling terribly homesick. Sir Topham Hatt arranges for him to return to his homeland and Thomas promises him that he will always have a home on the Island on the Sodor, should he wish to return.

This movie is packed with tales of friendship, determination and teamwork. The engines have their share of disagreement, but they always work together to do the right thing. The brand new style of animation breathes new life into the trains, and the new voices give each train more personality. Another great full length movie from Thomas that you won't want to miss!


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