The children’s DVD “Thomas & Friends: The Thomas Way” has just been released to the public, and I’m providing a review in this article. It once again comes form Lionsgate and HiT Entertainment, who provided me a copy for review, but my observations haven’t been vetted by them at all.
The Island of Sodor keeps busy with the hustle and bustle of Thomas and his fellow engines
Five episodes make up the main part of this DVD, which sees Thomas and his fellow engines really get into some jams, but nonetheless, learn some big lessons from them. First, in “The Thomas Way,” another steam engine Duck plus Thomas are responsible for hauling Harold the Helicopter back to his base after a mishap, but Thomas would rather mess around than get Harold to his base in a timely fashion, which leads Duck to mistrust Thomas when the latter’s suggestion needs to be heeded. Then, in “The Switch,” Luke, a small gauge engine that works in the quarry, switches jobs with Millie, who works at the castle, so they can see what each of their jobs entail.
The third episode in the “Thomas & Friends” DVD is called “Percy’s Lucky Day.” This particular engine has a really bad day, so thinks he needs a good luck charm to change his fate, and the next day, his luck changes for the better, even though, unbeknownst to him, he actually lost his good luck charm. In “Calm Down Caitlin,” the massive steam engine is forced to spend the night on the island due to rail maintenance issues, but rather than be quiet which those on Sodor are at night, she’d rather raise all kinds of ruckus.
Finally, in “The Lost Puff,” after Thomas and Paxton mess around, it causes the former to lose his steam (or his “puff”) because his firebox gets wet, which then causes Paxton to desperately seek out some more “puff” for Thomas. The bonus feature include some “Guess Who?” puzzles, a game and a bonus episode featuring the small gauge engine Luke, who finds a new friend in a baby deer. On long play mode, there are several vignettes featuring Sir Topham Hatt, Engine Driver Perkins, and some other surprises.
This DVD features a big step-up in animation
What I noticed right off the bat on this DVD is just how much the makers of this series have stepped up the graphics, photography, and pace of each episode. It’s as if the shows are moving along faster than usual and are a bit more in-your-face because of the new animation efforts. Nonetheless, for Thomas fans, they’ll still get great stories where more life lessons are learned, including trust, belief in oneself, and consideration for others. The series has come a long way since I first saw it on “Shining Time Station” when there were fewer characters and more antiquated graphics. I do recommend the DVD, whose five episodes run at about 58 minutes total. With the extras, kids will get more than an hour’s worth of entertainment.
This video can be heard in English and Spanish and has a Suggested Retail Price of $14.98. For more information on the tank engine, go to his website here