A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
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.
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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.
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