Thomas the Tank Engine is a staple in our house. It does take second place behind Blaze and the Monster Machines but it is loved enough to warrant a trip to Vue cinema on a Sunday morning to catch it on the big screen!
The basic story line is that Thomas takes a trip around the world at the suggestion of a race car named Ace (voiced by Peter Andre). Along the way he makes friends with a Kenyan train named Nia, a very helpful, gentle female train. Encountering a few problems along the way, Thomas achieves his goal of being the first train to travel around the world and, along with Nia, returns to Sodor. The moral of the story throughout seems to be that it is good to help others and take care of your friends.
The film itself is very much an extension of the TV programme, it doesn’t have a Hollywood polish to it and felt very much like watching something from Amazon on a much bigger screen. However, this was great for my barely three year old. It was only his second cinema trip and watching something in a familiar format is definitely a good way to introduce the big screen.
It was a colourful film, with musical numbers throughout. There were no show stoppers but the songs were catchy enough to give the movie a little more energy. Again, whilst some catchier tunes by Lin Manuel Miranda would have added an amazing element to the ‘big adventure’ the songs provided were very much suited for a 3yr – 4yr audience, simple yet fun.
The length of the movie I felt was a little too long. My child sat nicely for the first hour but for the last 20 minutes took to wandering around the back row. Luckily it was not very busy and therefore we were not disturbing anyone. It felt like the film was geared towards a very young audience, yet the length of the movie did not reflect this. An hour would have been sufficient.
Overall, ‘Thomas and Friends: Big World! Big Adventures!’ is a good choice for a child aged 3 to 4yrs, but it won’t be the best thing you see this year. For older children it is a little too simplistic. The length of the film is a little too long for toddlers and I recommend turning up at least 15 minutes after the start time to avoid the ads and trailers.