Monday, 16 July 2012

Movie Review: The Great Discovery

2008 was a bitter year in and out of the Thomas & Friends world. The world had entered an economic recession, The original director of the Thomas and TUGS series, David Mitton have passed away, US narrator George Carlin have passed away as well and also it was the announcement that this DVD special is the last of the full model animation. In 2007, HIT Entertainment had undergone some financial trouble and decided that their shows like 'Bob the Builder', 'Angelina Ballerina' and of course 'Thomas and Friends' would turn into CGI. Thomas would be making its way to Canada's Nitrogen Studios being taken care by Greg Tiernan, who is now former director of the show, who knows about the world of Thomas and the Railway Series. This special also marked the debut of a guest storyteller who is former James Bond actor, Pierce Borsnan, who has a little history with Thomas as he read the stories to his kids at bed time.

Originally, Brosnan was going to be the new narrator of the show for both the UK and US, but for some reason unknown, Michael Angelis and Brandon had the role. You can hear Brosnan's narration bits from Season 12 on the US DVD of 'The Great Discovery' in the 'behind the scenes' feature and on YouTube with the episode, 'Gordon Takes A Shortcut'. But now, let's take a look at 'The Great Discovery', but first:



Written by
Sharon Miller

Directed by 
Steve Asquith

Narrated by
Pierce Brosnan

Release Date:

Around the time when this was announced, YouTube was only two years old, the layout was very different in those days before what it is today. The announcement for this DVD came when I first saw an article on Google news that Pierce Brosnan was going to be the narrator of the show. At first, I thought it was just for the US, but it turns out he'll be narrating the UK version as well, this was the first that happened when Ringo Starr took the job. I would say Michael Angelis, but I believe he not that well-known in the US, but he's still a great narrator.

Out of all the specials, this one is my personal favourite. The special makes you feel sorry for Thomas and Stanley, as Stanley is getting neglected by Thomas because everyone likes him more then Thomas, but the special shows the true value of friendship as in the end, you can see that the many engines and Jack and his pack were happy that Stanley had found Thomas.

The setting of Great Waterton looking lost and abandon was just perfect model making and even when its new was perfect. Now I bet there are some people, who have saw this, wondered, what is Sodor Day? Well, just a celebration for the movie with no explanation unfortunately, but in real life, there is a celebration called Yorkshire Day to celebrate the history of Yorkshire in the UK. Even on January 26th, we have a celebration called Australia Day were we celebrate the first fleet coming into the country from England.

The movie even has a great moral towards it. 'Friends are important'. You can friends who can be jerks to you, but, if life gets you hard, your friends are there for you and that is something the TV series is lacking.

Though there are some flaws with the movie. With Thomas landing on the raft, he could've sunk due to his heavy weight as well as running on a rickety bridge, Misty Island Rescue wasn't the first to show this, Thomas flying over a cliff to the other side, how can that happen? There were a few rhyming and pointless dialogue like 'Huffing and puffing' and there was one rhyme in the movie, but at least its not 'Misty Island Rescue'. There was no explanation of rolling river bridge being mended and what was Diesel 10 suppose to be at the quarry and why was he happy with Thomas being found? If Thomas's boiler is filled with water, the crown stays would be broken and why did he whistle after Stanley broke before he had Stanley's coal in his firebox? And why did Arthur tell Emily the news that Thomas was found? She already knew it happened when she was at Great Waterton when Thomas pushed Stanley into the station.

Though this special actually brings many characters that have never been seen in the series for a long time, like Bill and Ben, Molly, Trevor, Terrence, Arthur so on and so fourth, makes a shame that neither Duck or Oliver didn't get a part, but at least they were in Season 12. But the best part of the whole movie is the ending song, 'Thomas You're The Leader'. It was a great send off to the models and their twenty-four years of service, well the show didn't turn 25 until 2009. Yeah the song has a steam team reference, but it shows other characters too, that the recent TV series songs are lacking.

With Pierce Brosnan, I like his narration, it was breathe of fresh air, I like Michael Angelis, but around the time of the new series, he sounds like he was going to sleep to any minute. In my opinion, Pierce Brosnan provided a bed time storybook like narration as he said himself it was very different to him reading from script, instead of reading it to a child. He has some chuckles as he it shows he was having a fun time. But if since this was a send-off to the models, how great would it be if HIT got Ringo Starr to do the narration as he was first. I guess, since he was in the making of his album 'Y Not' at the time, he's a very busy man, but Brosnan did some good work, there are sometimes he can speak in a quiet voice. There are people are not interested in his narration and that's fine, but I like it.

And yes, I know Season 12 used models as well, but this special ended the full model animation and with such great action and story line, this is a personal favourite of mine and is one of Sharon Miller's best work.

Rating: 4/5