Thursday, 24 August 2017

DVD Review: Team Up With Thomas

THESE ARE SOLEY MY OPINIONS AND ARE NOT INFLUENCED FROM THE THOMAS & FRIENDS FAN BASE

TEAM UP WITH THOMAS
Written by
Lee Pressman
Davey Moore
Helen Farrall 
Andrew Brenner

Produced by
Ian McCue (HIT)
Tracy Blagdon 
(Arc Productions/Jam Filled Toronto)

Episodes
(NOTE: My opinions may have changed after rewatching these episodes)

Special Features
James the Splendid Engine - Music Video
Accidents Will Happen - Music Video
Learn With Thomas
The Earl's Quiz
Landmarks of Sodor 

Distributed by
Mattel Creations/HIT Entertainment (UK)

Release Date
7/08/17

EPISODES

I have a rewatch and seem to differ some my viewpoints. While I still standby my views on 'Buckled Tracks and Bumpy Trucks' being clunky, I think the presence of Belle and Flynn is entirely pointless and they didn't add anything to the story. You can cut them out and the episode can be fine without them. Maybe have one of the engines travelling on the buckled line and stubbornly refused to report it and saying that it would be fine but the tracks got more buckled and bent and caused a derailment to another engine and while the Fat Controller, in his authoritative nature, would be stern with the engine for not reporting the matter in the first place and learns the lesson and the situation would've be solved with the white paint. That could've been a better plot than what we had on the DVD. 



Another episode that differ to my early views is 'Blown Away'. I'm not a big fan of Skiff as I do find his personality a bit bland and generic and it shows here. Although I think him in 'Skiff and The Mermaid' was probably his best with naive and child-like personality. Yes, the episode's moral is about size and I like that, but the story feels a bit similar to Helen Farrall's other episodes such as 'Slow Stephen' and 'Toad and The Whale'. Character/s is put down for whatever reason from other character/s and proved themselves to others in the end. It's not bad and not good. I think it's on par with 'The Missing Breakdown Train'. 


'Mucking About' was fine when I first saw the episode but now, after recent events in the US, I look at the episode and its message about ignoring others and they would go away whereas in real life didn't deliver in the end. Because in real life ignoring the bullies can only make things worse for everybody else, which the episode shows by the way, but with Max and Monty not learning anything in the end. But the episode still has its upsides in the end such as seeing the two as well as the Pack and I hope we see more of them in the future.

Aside from these three episodes, I still stand by my opinions of the other episodes.  

SPECIAL FEATURES

One of the highlights of the DVD's special features is the two music videos provided. The songs are composed by the classic series composer's Mike O'Donnell & Junior Campbell who had provided music for the classic series from 1984 to 2003. It's also the first time, 15 years since its debut in the US, that the 'James the Really Splendid Engine' song was given a home video release in the UK as the original song was released in other countries such as the US, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, China and Singapore. The music video of course supplies much footage of the red engine himself from the CGI series over the years. 



Another music video is 'Accidents Will Happen' which the song had seen some home video releases before in countries like UK, USA, Australia, Japan etc. of course the music video provides clips of all the crashes during the CGI series. While it was nice to hear these songs again and were given a new breath of life, I think the editing was a little choppy with the song.



Other special features include 'The Learn with Thomas' segments that are usually seen on PBS Kids over in the US after a certain episode had aired. I don't know about the UK ones apart from being on DVDs. Although it was strange that they snuck in a US dubbed one rather than a UK counterpart. To be honest this had happened before on a US DVD back in 2015 on the 'Tales of the Rails' DVD with Mr. Perkins' story time and The Earl's Quiz, both UK dubbed. So it was most likely a mistake made by the Home Entertainment department of HIT Entertainment. 



Others include a 'Landmark of Sodor' segment about the coastline of Sodor and taking about the railway operation during the summer period. Although I was rather confused that they mentioned Toby has a branch line that runs along the coast even though on the Sodor map (the 2014 one) his line just crosses a waterfall and dam.


And of course there is the Earl's Quiz which was standard and good enough for kids to have fun with.


OVERALL


One thing I wish the people at HIT and Mattel should do is their DVD titles. In 2008, HIT Entertainment, prior to their takeover by Mattel, HIT had released a similar DVD title when S12 was about to debut but only for the North American audience though. Despite that, I think they should've gone to be a more simple way with their DVD titling and just call the DVD after one of the episodes, like many previous Thomas videos and DVDs had done in the past. Heck they did it with 'Whale of a Tale' in 2015, even though that wasn't an actual episode title. Not all DVDs need to have a thematic title like the ones that were released earlier in the year, in fact the title 'Extraordinary Engines' didn't really have episodes that fit with that title unlike the previous ones.

Another thing that I think the DVD had lost as a good potential one is holding back the Arlesdale miniature episodes and use them for their own DVD along with other episodes. But in the end, I'm not all that fussed about it and I'm glad that they were at least given a DVD release. 

The DVD does have some bad apples but there are some good ones in the end especially if you're a fan of these episodes. If you're willing to see a few of these episode I suggest going on iTunes but if you're interested in the episodes from S20 and the special features then I recommend the DVD.

Rating: 8/10

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