Friday, 12 May 2017

NWR Editorial: Journey Beyond Sodor trailer




After months of waiting, we finally got the trailer for the upcoming 2017 special, 'Journey Beyond Sodor'. In this special, Thomas goes to the mainland again! That is if you count 'Thomas and the Special Letter' and the book 'Thomas and the Great Railway Show' and if you count it as one despite that the 2016 special would not have any impact on S21, except for Flying Scotsman and Vicarstown, 'The Great Race'.  

The trailer opens up with a beautiful shot of Arelsbrugh harbour and then Thomas, possibly on the mainland and then Duck and Oliver chuffing and then we cut to James wondering about Thomas. In the UK trailer we hear that James gets a new voice from Rob Rackshaw. Even though I'm pretty much warmed to Nigel Plinkgton's voice for Percy despite being critical back in 2015, I will be waiting for the entire special to hear his new voice. 

Then we cut to Thomas going across the mainland and saying that there's a lot of new things to see while a truck, with a new face and narrow gauge based, says all he can see is another truck's backside. Although I'm not a fan that they still use US voices in a UK dub as it sounds out of place with an entire cast of UK voices, I don't have anything against the US audience or the dub here.

We then meet our new characters at the Steelworks, Hurricane and Frankie and then we meet the experimental engines such as Lexi, Theo and Merlin and a new crane named Beresford, who I think would not add much to the story TBH. We then see James at the Steelworks too and was being chased by Frankie and Hurricane for some reason. 

Then we see the most unexpected thing happening to Thomas, being carried over and dropped to a melting pot.

One thing though is this, some people are complaining, this is in no way of attacking anybody and if it is I apologise in advanced, that the animation looks bad, despite being Jam Filled's first feature length special. This happened back in early 2013 when the 'King of the Railway' trailer was released and when we saw Arc Production's animation for the first time, there were some unfinished shots like when the Earl introduced us and the engines to Stephen. The lighting was not there in the trailer but was there in the final product and when Thomas and Percy were careering down the hill from the castle and the grass in the trailer was flat and bland and in the final cut it was detailed and I believe the shot after that we see no dust on Thomas too but he had it in the final cut. 

This also happened in the 'Tale of the Brave' trailer such as Gator at the docks being all bright and sunny and in the final cut it was dull, cloudy and grey. There's more to it than that, I suggest going onto the Wikia for it. This also happened last year when an Australian news site was showing Shane's profile video for last year's special. On there we see that the lighting was different and he wasn't pulling any trucks and when his video was released on the offical YouTube channel and the DVD, the lighting was better and he was pulling trucks. So while yes that some sets are a bit flat, I'll await for the final cut.

Some people complain that a truck made a butt joke or maybe that the truck was self-aware. I get it that you will never hear a butt joke in anything that is Thomas but that joke could be about anything. Plus I kinda hear that line from the troublesome trucks. 

The trailer was also released alongside with a Behind the Scenes video with more footage from the special. One of the other things that some are complaining about is the engines bouncing around, mostly the experimental ones. To be honest, the bouncing may seem odd but it feels like they are expressing themselves more, heck Kevin bounced in S19 where was the backlash? Or even in model era such as Gordon shaking when Diesel 10 was first seen in Magic Railroad! I can see there point though, the fans. When it comes to competing against other kids brands such as Cars, you might say Chugginton but I think that show is slowly dying considering that here in Australia there is hardly any merchandise or DVD available. The only countries that are keeping Chugginton alive are America and Japan, heck the latter country has a store dedicated to it! Mattel are now the owners of HIT's brand and they see Thomas as the number one brand and would do anything to appeal to kids today. This is a side effect of being a successful children's brand.

Even though I would love to see realism in the show, I think I can take the engines bouncing about when it comes to a good quality story. Because story is more important as long as its entertaining and makes sense to audiences. A bouncing engine is more tame than a stupid pointless bridge jump to sell an expensive train set.

One thing that I'm surprised to hear about this special is the addition of Hugh Bonneville as the voice for Merlin, who I believe would be the leader of the experimental group. If you are not familiar with him he was also in the popular BBC drama 'Downtown Abbey' and the 2014 film 'Paddington' the bear. Looking at him I think he was a great choice as he brings some fun and a eccentric feeling to his character that makes him as the engine who thinks he's invisible but not. 

In conclusion, I think Journey Beyond Sodor might be better than last year's special but maybe not as good as Sodor's Legend of the Lost Treasure. But we'll wait and see when its out.