Tuesday, 19 March 2013

DVD Review: Ten Years of Thomas & Friends


Written Originally By
The Rev.W.Awdry

'All At Sea' written by
Britt Allcroft and David Mitton 


Directed by
David Mitton 

Produced by
Britt Allcroft, David Mitton and Robert D. Cardona

'Thomas Antheme' 
Written and Composed by
Mike O' Donnell and Junior Campbell

Bonus Features:
Breakfast Time For Thomas
Bios of your Favourite Engine
Build an Engine Game
Link to the official website

Release Date

Distributed by
HIT Entertainment/Anchor Bay Entertainment

In 1999, Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends had great success in the United States for ten years when it was debuted on 'Shining Time Station' in 1989 with Ringo Starr and Didi Conn. A special VHS tape was made to celebrate with interviews from the younger fans of the show and their parents filmed at the Strasburg Railroad in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania during a 'Day Out With Thomas' event which still runs even to this day. I remember buying a VHS tape from a seller on Amazon in 2007 and now I have the DVD. So let's take a look at the ten years of the show's success in the USA, which is now 24 years.

Just to let parents know that this DVD does not contain CGI episodes and is not in CGI. Just letting you know so to avoid dissapointment. The episodes are from the first - fourth series all narrated by the late George Carlin. During each episode break, we're given a special presentation of interviews from children and their parents about their perpecstive about the show and what it shows for them and their kids and also it shows their ERTL toys, which back in the 1990's was one of the most well-known toy lines before Take Along and Take-N-Play came into the merchandising range, so it was a bit nostalgic to look back at. 
It even shows us the SRR's Thomas going along the Railroad in the countryside. It even shows the activities of the event with face painting, meet and greet Sir Topham Hatt, photos with Thomas and a display of Tomy merchandise, most notably the battery operated train that ran between the 1990's - 2007, when the UK were discontinuing it in favor of Trackmaster.

The special features give us a read-a-long of 'Breakfast Time For Thomas' a book adaptation of Rev.W.Awdry's Railway series story from 'Branch Line Engines' narrated by Robin Smith, I have to say I usually find his narration bland in some DVD releases but here he sounds energetic in the story. The illustrations are nice and friendly too by Owen Bell, who also provided the cover of the DVD. I have to say he is my second favourite non-Railway Series illustrator with David Palmer being on the no.1 spot. Here's an example of Bell's work:

Though I don't know why they've used BoCo in the story as his introduction was much different. The real diesel was of course Daisy. But you can't turn the clock now. But it is good for kids to learn to read and to understand what the story is saying. You can even read along yourself with your child. 

The other two are good for kids as well, the 'Build an Engine' game teaches the kids about shapes and sizes and the bios are to their to teach kids to know the characters well from the television series. 

These types of DVD's with interviews from young Thomas fans telling us their favourite story or character are a gem to have in a collection of Thomas DVDs. Nowadays with DVD's to commemorate an event in Thomas history, you have a collection of Thomas episodes and that's all like 'The Greatest Stories' (2010) I recommend this DVD to any Thomas fan young or old, it has a good segments of children (who are now in their older age now) talking about their interest in Thomas from their favorite character to story. If any representative from HIT Entertainment is reading this, please, one day in future whether its the 30th anniversary of the television series next year or the 70th anniversary of the Railway Series, please make a DVD commemorating that event with young Thomas fans telling us their favourite Thomas story or character, that way we can have that as a gem too. 

Rating: 5/5