A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Simple information re: categories of trains/engines along with their unique roles and mechanisms.
Strongly promotes discovering one's "best self," and liking who you are. "You can only be you -- nothing else you can do." Message is repeated multiple times in both conversation and song. Unselfishness, perseverance, and friendship are rewarded.
Positive Role Models
As usual, Thomas makes mistakes, recovers, and learns from those mistakes. He is a good friend, an optimist, and tries hard to be good at his job. Other trains exhibit human traits (vanity, over-confidence, aggressiveness, sibling rivalry) and, again, lessons are learned. Set in England and with diversity in mind, this story includes an abundance of female trains and trains from other countries. The most obnoxious, selfish train engine is an American bully.
Violence & Scariness
Some crashes, close calls, and mildly suspenseful moments. Thomas teeters on the edge of a bridge; two engines collide; the boiler on a speeding engine explodes. No severe consequences; everything is easily repaired.
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Mild bragging, taunting (i.e., "shortie").
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Products & Purchases
Part of the vast Thomas & Friends franchise, which includes toys, films, TV, website, and related products.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Thomas & Friends: The Great Race is a mildly suspenseful, often amusing entry in the Thomas collection of original DVDs. With strong, easily understandable messages about being happy with who you are and making the most of your talents, Thomas makes some mistakes and learns from them. An effort has been made here to bring diversity to the franchise, so there are a number of vibrant female characters, as well as trains from other countries that arrive to take part in the fun (a female train from India plays an important role). Cartoon action includes: bumps and crashes; a train racing without all of its safety mechanisms in place; an engine teetering on the edge of a bridge, and several close calls with trains in danger of colliding. There are no serious scares or negative outcomes. Since Thomas is a franchise from Great Britain, most of the train characters speak with British dialects; a few of the featured engines have been re-voiced as American. This movie, with several new original songs, is part of the Thomas & Friends brand, which markets films, books, toys and games, a vast array of related products, and has a popular website. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Old and new fans will enjoy this traditional Thomas tale with a sincere lesson about "being yourself" at its heart, and which includes a more diverse cast than usual (both female and international). Ashima (Tina Desai), a decorated steam engine from India, provides a strong, relatable character for girls. Thomas & Friends: The Great Race introduces several hit-and-miss original songs, all of which bolster the characterizations and the messages expressed. There's enough conflict (lamentably, the most loutish bully in the group of contestants is an American) and mild suspense to hold the interest of kids even older than its intended preschool audience. Entertaining and gently instructive, it's a typically simple Thomas & Friends story that won't disappoint.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.