A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this standard Thomas and Friends fare should be easy-going for even the most sensitive young children. There are no scary moments, no suspense, and no villains. Care is taken to restrict the preparations to the generic "holidays" and other than a reference to Christmas trees, there is no mention of any specific religious celebration. All the trains and featured characters are male. Parents concerned about consumerism should know that the usual promotional ads precede and follow the feature, and kids will recognize Thomas and Friends-branded products everywhere.
What's the story?
The holidays are coming to the Island of Sodor. Sir Topham Hatt and his stable of trains all have important jobs to do. From transporting magical, mysterious boxes to decorating the Search and Rescue Center, it's a very busy time. But not every engine pays attention to Sir Topham Hatt's instructions and the well-meaning, but sometimes wrong-headed trains almost spoil everything. These four related holiday stories are not dependent upon one another and can be viewed as a whole or separately. They are intercut with live-action sequences starring Mr. Perkins, who drives the steam engines on the Island of Sodor, as he gets his train station ready for the holidays.
Is it any good?
Though this is a minor effort from the people who make THOMAS & FRIENDS, fans will probably enjoy the familiarity with the characters they know so well. The stories are repetitive and show little in the way of originality. The live action sequences in the train station are particularly routine, though Mr. Perkins is a likable, earnest adult figure.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about asking for help. Bash, Dash, and Ferdinand want to decorate the Search and Rescue Station all by themselves, but they find out they need their friends to get the job done. Why is it important to ask for help when you need it? Who helps you when a job is too hard? Who do you help out?
Talk about the Thomas and Friends brand. Does watching this show make kids want Thomas merchandise? What's the difference between a beloved character and a merchandising brand?
Thomas and his friends make mistakes in these stories. Why is it important to tell the truth when you do something wrong? What usually happens after you admit a mistake?
Sir Topham Hatt is kind and understanding. What other qualities does he have that make him a good leader?