Thomas & Friends: Calling All Engines!

  • Review Date: April 9, 2013
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2005
  • Running Time: 60 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Thomas and friends adventure offers lessons in cooperation.
  • Review Date: April 9, 2013
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2005
  • Running Time: 60 minutes





What parents need to know

Educational value

Kids learn specifically about the different types of engines and the fuel they use, and there are cartoon breaks throughout the film where they solve problems, such as which type of building materials should be routed to help construct the airport.

Positive messages

Offers extremely positive messages about cooperation and teamwork in getting a job done. It discourages petty squabbles and focusing on distractions that don't make the work go easier.

Positive role models

While the characters have different personality traits, and varying to degrees of grumpiness and enthusiasm, they all have a desire to be useful, and to get the job done. Mostly male characters.

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Not applicable

Thomas and his friends are well-established characters featured in a variety of products, but nothing is advertised within the show specifically.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Thomas and Friends: Calling All Engines! is an animated train adventure heavily targeted at little boys. It features largely male characters, and focuses on engines, fuel, construction work, and other stereotypically masculine pursuits. But its messages of community, hard work, and cooperation are gender neutral.

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What's the story?

It's summertime on the island of Sodor, and an airport must be built and completed in order to bring more vacationers to the island. Will Thomas and his friends learn to cooperate to get the job done, or be tripped up in petty pranks and disagreements over their differences?

Is it any good?


Thomas and Friends are classic boy-centric tales of trains and their adventures in the English countryside. Calling All Engines! offers adventure and problem solving, folded in with solid messages about cooperation, teamwork, and the idea that everyone's part is important to the whole. This is extremely family friendly fare and offers some realistically kid-like challenges -- sharing, working together, and working out your differences.

Kids who like trains will find the action fascinating, and aside from the obvious gender routing, parents can be assured the overall takeaway here is a good one. However, the shortage of female characters leaves this world a little lacking on the kind of full-scale cooperation more programs are moving toward these days.

Families can talk about...

  • Familes can talk about the differences in the steam and diesels in the movie, and how the types learned to work together in spite of those differences. 

  • Sometimes the engines pulled pranks on other engines to make their work harder, or take longer. What happened when they did this? Were there consequences for their actions?

Movie details

DVD release date:September 6, 2005
Cast:Michael Brandon
Director:Steve Asquith
Studio:Lyons Group
Genre:Family and Kids
Topics:Adventures, Book characters, Great boy role models, Trains
Run time:60 minutes
MPAA rating:NR

This review of Thomas & Friends: Calling All Engines! was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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