A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that the latest Thomas & Friends movie will not disappoint aficionados of the industrious tank engine. The franchise mostly sticks to its formula of good-natured yet sometimes squabbling engines performing their daily tasks. But action and intrigue figure prominently, also, resulting in some mildly intense scenes; for example, Thomas careens onto the wrong track and gets lost in the woods. Another engine gets in trouble when he helps Thomas keep a secret from the others. In typical Thomas fashion, though, the action is pretty tame, and by the end, the engines learn important messages about honesty, compassion, and friendship. This movie introduces several new characters to the Island of Sodor -- Hiro, Kevin, and Victor -- so don’t be surprised when your kids want to add to their toy collection.
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What's the story?
After high-tech private engine Spencer bullies him into a contest, Thomas’ brakes fail and he winds up lost on an unfamiliar track in the woods. He’s shocked to discover an old, strange engine named Hiro, who’s been rusting in the forest, afraid to come out for fear of being scrapped. Thomas vows to restore Hiro to his former glory as “Master of the Railway,” but he’s foiled at each turn by Spencer, who’s determined to figure out what he’s up to. Only when Thomas asks for help and support from his friends can he accomplish his task, and get Hiro back on the rails.
Is it any good?
Thomas’ relationship with Hiro, the aging engine who was once a superstar, is touching, and demonstrates how younger children admire their older heroes. The movie follows the classic Thomas format: Thomas and his engine buddies have a problem to solve, and they go about it much as kids themselves would -- with a few mistakes, misunderstandings, and confrontations along the way.
The action sequences are fun to watch; when Thomas’ brakes fail while he’s racing Spencer, kids will be on the edge of their seats. The movie broaches subjects that will resonate with young kids: Thomas and his friends all feel intimidated by bigger, faster Spencer, but by the movie’s end they realize that each of them has their own special talents. By working together to rescue Hiro, they all become heroes.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how telling the truth is almost always better than keeping a secret.
Spencer is pretty mean to the other engines. How does it feel to be bullied, and why do people (or engines) bully others? What should you do if someone is mean to you?
Why is it important to help someone in need?
How do Thomas & Friends movies help to sell other products?
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