Monday, 25 March 2013

DVD Review: New Friends For Thomas & Other Adventures


Written by
Paul Larson 
Jan Page
Phil Ferhle
Johnathan Trueman 
Abi Grant 


Directed by
David Mitton

'Five New Engines In The Shed' 
Written and Composed by
Mike O' Donnell and Junior Campbell 

Bonus Features:
- A Day At The Works
- Really Useful Engines
- Really Useful Places
- Scrapbook 
- Web Fun 

Release Date:
16/03/04 (Anchor Bay)
2009 (Lionsgate)

Distributed by
HIT Entertainment/Anchor Bay Entertainment

2004 was the year when I discovered the new Thomas episodes from S7, one of my favourite 'Post-Awdry' series of the classic series, along with season six. During that same year ABC Kids had aired them later on and released 'Engines To The Rescue' on DVD, which was delayed by ABC shops in October but somehow Big W managed to have it in stock. But to my surprise as well that this was Michael Angelis' only time narrating for the US and somehow got bad reception from buyers when the DVD and VHS (remember them?) saying that he was 'horrible'. But we'll get to that later, let's take a look at the DVD of Thomas' new friends.

These episodes are from my two favourite underrated seasons of the post-Awdry era from the classic series. I find the episodes nice and simple and it has the old/modern feeling of the early seasons of the show. But some episode may've need a bit more work, for example, 'The Spotless Record', it would be much more better if say Arthur got a bit conceited about his record that way Thomas' cheekiness would be a lot more explainable, but despite that the episode does show that not everyone is perfect at something. As for the song, it was nice and catchy and visually amazing with some deleted scenes or specially made shots, which were a great gem during the classic era of the show. If you like to see more of my views of the episodes, click the titles to see my reviews.

I remember when this came out nine years ago, parents were complaining about the narration of the episodes being bad and it turns out it was Michael Angelis who was the star of the VHS and DVD. As of course I grew up with MA since I was a kid and I think he's a good narrator during S3-8 with many accents for the engines such as Donald and Douglas, around S9-16 he was getting less enthused and bland for the series, but I don't hate him for that. 

I do know the US had grew up with big names such as Ringo Starr, George Carlin and Alec Baldwin and they were more energetic then Angelis in the DVD and that people, like the parents, knew who they are before the show became to existance. But of course the real reason is no one in the US even heard of Michael Angelis until this came out. But in this DVD and in the two series that these episodes were in, Michael Angelis does have some energetic narration in these episodes along with some nice gentle narration as well and I'll say this, I prefer him over Baldwin's narration, Alec Baldwin is a great and funny actor, but in my views his narration was quite bland and plain to listen too.
Thier are three bonus DVD games are good for kids to teach about colours and solving and there the scrapbook of the characters as well and the sing-a-long music video.
The DVD is nice, not great though. If you're familiar with the UK storytelling then check this out. Like the Ten Years DVD, this one has no CGI series episodes nor its made with CGI. Its got good simple episodes that kids will love and great characters too.
Rating: 4/5