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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Thomas & Friends: Big World! Big Adventures! The Movie has enough positive messages to outweigh the few mild scares. Thomas travels far from home on this global adventure, and he and his new friends get into some sticky situations. Some of these are mildly frightening, like when a bridge collapses under them and train cars are in danger of sliding into a raging river, or when Thomas flies off the tracks and lands in the desert, potentially to be stuck there for eternity. The trains always emerge unscathed from their accidents and near-misses, and learn the importance of helping each other in the process.
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What's the story?
Inspired by a cool race car, Thomas decides to leave the Island of Sodor to become the first train engine to travel around the world in THOMAS & FRIENDS: BIG WORLD! BIG ADVENTURES! THE MOVIE. On his journey across five continents, he makes lifelong friendships and learns the value of teamwork, resilience, and a positive attitude. He transports goods across Africa, gets lost in the jungles of Brazil, and helps a friend escape an avalanche in the mountains of China. Sir Topham Hatt follows close behind, trying to find Thomas and bring him home. When Thomas lets the race car Ace convince him to prioritize individualism and winning above friendship and teamwork, Thomas gets himself into serious trouble and loses his new best friend Nia. Realizing his mistake, he vows to find her and apologize.
Is it any good?
This installment in the popular series has all the charm and trackside adventure generations of fans (and their parents) have come to expect. Thomas & Friends: Big World! Big Adventures! The Movie has an added layer of teaching kids a little bit about world geography and a diversity of countries and cultures. Hand-drawn maps situate viewers as Thomas moves from one place to the next, and the filmmakers have done a decent job of respectfully incorporating a few key cultural touchstones and accents from each region that will be easy to understand and memorable for the youngest audiences. Musical numbers are silly and fun, teaching Thomas lessons about not being grumpy, making good choices, and treating friends with kindness. Thomas is the little engine that could, in this case, travel the world.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how Thomas & Friends: Big World! Big Adventures! The Movie is different from or similar to other Thomas shows and movies they've seen.
Of all the places Thomas travels on his adventures, which would you most like to visit? Why?
The trains Thomas meets represent different cultures -- what different values and behaviors did they display?
Have you ever needed a friend's help? Have you ever helped a friend?
- On DVD or streaming: September 7, 2018
- Cast: Dona Adwera, Peter Andre, Richie Campbell
- Director: David Stoten
- Studio: Mattel Creations
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Adventures, Book Characters, Friendship, Trains
- Character strengths: Teamwork
- Run time: 85 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
- Last updated: March 16, 2020
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