Thomas & Friends: Tale of the Brave

Movie review by
Renee Schonfeld, Common Sense Media
Thomas & Friends: Tale of the Brave Movie Poster Image
Percy learns about bravery; scarier than past Thomas titles.
  • NR
  • 2014
  • 62 minutes

Parents say

age 8+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Educational Value

Introduces and describes simple terms: "fossil," "steam shovel," "dinosaur."

Positive Messages

The primary concept, repeatedly stated, is "Bravery doesn't mean you're not scared. Bravery is about what you do even when you do feel scared." Other clear messages: Friends believe in one another. Running away is not a solution to problems. You can't always do the jobs you love most.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Nervous and frightened initially, Percy takes steps toward learning not to let fear dictate his behavior. Though Thomas is not the central character here, he is always helpful and loyal and has a "can-do" attitude. Adult humans are supportive and act responsibly. 

Violence & Scariness

With fear as its central theme, this tale has more spooky and suspenseful scenes than other Thomas & Friends adventures. An early thunderstorm includes eerie music, rain, lightning, and a landslide. Other mildly tense scenes show the railroad engines crashing into one another (no serious results), a derailment, glowing eyes in the dark, and a ship nearly pulling an railway engine into the sea. A large heap of scrap metal is shown in a way that makes it look threatening; footprints are designed to suggest an unknown creature ("monster") in the area. 

Sexy Stuff
Language

 Percy is subjected to some teasing and name-calling about his fearfulness (for example, "scaredy-engine").

Consumerism

Another DVD release in the expansive Thomas & Friends franchise of books, toys, games, clothing, and accessories. "Gator," a new railway engine introduced in this movie, is available to toy buyers.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that in Thomas & Friends: Tale of the Brave, being afraid and managing fear are the themes at the heart of the story. Because of that, there are more suspenseful scenes and more shadowy visuals with eerie music, and there is frequent talk of the possible existence of monsters. The lovable train engines encounter mysterious footprints and the suggestion that something dangerous may be hiding nearby. Cartoon action includes a fierce storm, landslides, and some minor accidents and near-disasters. Percy, the central character here, is faced with his own escalating fear, teasing from others, and a series of events that help him ultimately define bravery. Very young or sensitive kids might find this movie too intense. 

User Reviews

Adult Written byViannaR October 18, 2014

Relentless peril

We are huge Thomas and Friends fans in our family, but this one was disappointing. We pre-ordered it and saved it for a long car trip, and I thought it would be... Continue reading
Parent of a 1, 5, and 5 year old Written byKira M. November 18, 2016
Positive message of bravery. Kids (4 yrs) love it!

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

What's the story?

In THOMAS & FRIENDS: TALE OF THE BRAVE a major storm on the Isle of Sodor reveals some mysterious footprints. While most of the little engines take it in stride, Percy does not. The thought of monsters hiding nearby frightens him. He's so nervous, he can't even keep up his normal mail run. James and some of the others think Percy is being silly. "There's no such thing as monsters," they tease. That just makes matters worse. Percy, despite his fears, sets out to find the source of the footprints. Along the way he meets Gator, a visiting train, who scares him at first, but then, along with Thomas, teaches him a lot about bravery, friendship, and (spoiler alert!) dinosaurs.

Is it any good?

Fans of Thomas and all the Isle of Sodor folks look forward to every adventure; for kids already comfortable with make-believe danger as opposed to real scares, this will be a welcome addition. Clear messages about being afraid and what it means to be brave should resonate, even with little kids. Gator, a new character, is likable and solid. Still, the story has more than the usual amount of suspense, which may be a problem for those same little kids; the "mystery" is not very skillfully resolved; and some of Percy's choices don't feel right given his predicament. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about things that frighten us. What, if anything, are you afraid of? How does talking about what scares you make it better? How can parents help kids deal with fearfulness?  

  • What did James learn about teasing and making fun of Percy? When is teasing not fun?

  • This movie says "You can't always do the jobs you like best." Give some examples of this in your life and in the lives of other members of your family.

Movie details

Themes & Topics

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For kids who love preschool tales

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