Thursday, 19 March 2015

DVD Review: The Adventure Begins (SPOILERS)


With 2015 marking the 70th anniversary celebrations of Thomas the Tank Engine, the Railway Series, a special DVD is released to celebrate the occasion based on the first two Railway Series books by the Rev.W.Awdry, 'The Three Railway Engines' and 'Thomas the Tank Engine', the former which was published 70 years ago. The DVD is released exclusively at Wal*Mart in the US as well as iTunes and it'll be released in summer 2015 only at ASDA stores across the UK. So let's see how, the Adventure Begins. But first let me tell everyone why the definition 'spoilers' is used in some people's cases:

I understand that people can still buy the product even when they see spoilers, I do as well. But over the years I realise that there are people who would like to expect the unexpected because they wait in anticipation and I understand that they expect to see things there way and it ended up being the opposite. But people should know that not everything goes there own way. Plus the people with the days of the internet like Blogs, forums, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, many fans and including myself had posted many screenshots or footage from new Thomas productions before they're even released to other countries. I learned my lesson in the end and sometimes when I review specials I post the words spoilers. The new team had put hard work into these new things, like this for example, and the only way possible for a sequel would be to make this DVD sell well is definitely respect and leaks hurt that unfortunately.  The term 'spoilers' may annoy some people but in my views it's better to expect the unexpected rather then knowing what's going to happen anyway. 

Written by
Andrew Brenner

Directed by
Don Spencer

Produced by
Ian McCue

A little tank engine discovers a big new world when he arrives on the Island of Sodor. Escapades abound as Thomas explores his new home and meets some Really Useful new friends. Finding the true blue meaning of hard work and friendship, Thomas transforms into the Number one engine.

Special Features
Really Useful Engines - Music Video
Troublesome Trucks - Music Video
Old Reliable Edward - Bonus Episode

HIT Entertainment (UK/US)
Universal (US)

Release Date
3/03/15 - US (Wal*Mart)
Summer 2015 - UK (ASDA)


There'll be purists that will raise their voice such as Thomas not being tuscan, Henry not being in his old shape or not even a direct adaptation of the book. If it were the latter then what is the point of having it as a special despite that people can watch the original Thomas episodes from the first season or read the Railway Series book? Not that I'm saying that there opinion is worthless or anything as they have the right to dislike the special but I'm saying that this is an adaptation and there's bound to be some changes but at least respect the original source which this special clearly does! We see James in his black livery for the first time on screen, some dialogue from the first and second book and there are also some improvements as well that weren't in the books.

The CGI in my opinion is amazing. There is so much shine and glimmer that it makes everything look realistic. A bit like the models from the fifth season, yes despite my hatred for that season I do have to admit the shine they put onto the model to make them look realistic is fantastic. I also realised too that Arc Productions had improved on the lighting of there animation since TOTB. Whereas KOTR had shown pail faces here and there. 

The engines where in great characterisation and yes that will go for Henry too. I know fans say that Henry acted like a wimp, just like he was during the 'new series' era, but his wimpy attitude is good here because he's scared about the rain spoiling his paint and I know at the end of the book he got over the rain but in real life, old habits die hard and Henry wouldn't get over the rain in just a day. In fact even the first picture of Henry in 'The Three Railway Engines' of that story shows his face of worry and seeing Edward like this original character really made me to like him again. His wise but flawed persona was fantastic, with the Fat Controller punishing him for not following his orders as it shows Edward that he's not on top of the world or perfect, and Andrew Brenner had done great work. 

The music by Peter Hartshorne feels very much like an orchestrated piece for a theatrical film and it was also great to hear there version of the original themes and songs with there own pieces. I know I said that using Mike O'Donnell and Junior Campbell's music is pointless and out of date when put it behind modern footage. But what I mean is slapping the original music that can be heard in the first seven seasons and trying to make it like a classic episode and they end up to be horrible. I do like O'Donnell and Campbell's music very much as well as Hartshorne's style as they're both great in their own right. Plus it was great hearing Robert Hartshorne on the mic again singing 'Really Useful Engine' and 'Troublesome Trucks' with a children's choir in the back harking to the days during the classic era where a choir of children is used for the songs. I have to say I really prefer the updated songs more then the original. RUE is rather catchy and it really fits into the purpose of this special, much better then that travesty of a movie called 'Magic Railroad' where RUE was just out of nowhere. TT was fun to listen too as well as it sounds catchy as well but I prefer the former of the two updated songs featured. 

As of the new characters featured such as Glynn, Judy and Jerome. I do like how the two cranes have personality of taking emergencies seriously and as for Glynn. Despite that he was there for a few second I hope they consider using him for future episode or a possible sequel to this special. 

I really do enjoy this special very much and it's equel with TOTB. The story as well as character persona and development are amazing and I do salute to Andrew Brenner and his writing team for the best effort they've made to commemorate the 70th anniversary. I look forward one to see the UK dub coming out in the summer. If a sequel is to be made please buy the DVD now at your local Wal*Mart or iTunes and if you live in the UK buy it at your local ASDA in summer.