A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Kids learn about the kinds of work trains perform, from hauling goods to transporting passengers, as well as the basics of how a train yard works. Also strong examples of responsible social behavior as the characters work through issues that arise in their daily interactions.
Kids see that even though the engines don't always get along, they pitch in to help each other and value doing a good job. Size and strength are important, but determination and perseverance prove even more so in overcoming challenges. Strong messages about respecting differences, showing compassion, and cooperating.
Positive Role Models
There's good and bad to every unique personality in the train yard, but when the characters' negative traits show, there's always a lesson to be learned from their actions. Thomas is eager and determined, but he doesn't always think things through before he jumps into action. Gordon can be condescending to the younger engines but also proves a valuable mentor in a pinch.
Violence & Scariness
No violence, but a few moments of mild peril (an engine's brakes catch on fire, for instance) and one collision.
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Products & Purchases
This special joins an extensive product line as well as movies and a TV series.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Thomas & Friends: The Adventure Begins is the origination story of the Sodor gang as interpreted from the first two books in the Rail Way Series. It originally aired as a TV movie on PBS. The show opens with the arrival of a plucky young engine named Thomas, who's exceedingly eager to be the island's most useful new engine, but things don't proceed quite as he plans. Happily, though, he's just as motivated to learn from his many mistakes and to prove himself a helpful part of the railway team, so no misstep goes without a valuable lesson of some kind. Expect infighting among some of the engines as personalities clash and a few fretful moments, but ultimately there are happy resolutions and increasingly strong friendships as a result. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This TV movie taps the first two books in the Railway Series to inspire a retrospective look at the beloved blue tank engine's origination story. Every Thomas fan will want to see how the Sodor gang first got together, and it's comforting that all the features of other Thomas stories are prominent here in Thomas & Friends: The Adventure Begins, from the mostly good-natured squabbling to the eventual resolution of the characters' differences.
Besides the colorful characters and exceptional storytelling, what makes Thomas stories so appealing to kids is that they can relate to the social dynamic that exists among the railway friends. Just as in real life, these coworkers don't always see eye to eye, and their very different personalities often complicate their working relationships. It's a big dose of reality in a world where trains talk to each other and to the people they help, and it leaves kids with a positive impression of conflict resolution, cooperation, perseverance, and friendship.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.