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Thomas &Amp; Friends: Tale Of The Brave DVD Review

08/10/2014 17:49 | Updated 20 May 2015

Thomas & Friends: Tale of the Brave / HIT Entertainment

Thomas the Tank Engine is back on the tracks with a new feature-length movie.

Thomas & Friends: Tale of the Brave is out now on DVD, and follows Thomas, his pals and the troublesome trucks on a new adventure.

We are also treated to a brand new engine - Marion – voiced by the truly marvellous Olivia Coleman.

Immediately recognisable even hiding behind an animated railway steam shovel and a silly voice, Olivia delivers some laughs for the grown-ups early on with her incessant self-effacing chatter.

Tale of the Brave is authentic Thomas. All the engines still work for the Fat Controller (when do they get a day off?) and they're still on the Island Of Sodor.

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But something's different, something's not quite right.

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The opening sequence sees a dramatic narrow escape for Thomas from a landslide that reveals a scary Jurassic footprint in some of the rubble.

Thomas races back to the other engines bursting with the news there is a monster on the tracks. And, perhaps predictably, no-one is more afraid than the little green engine, Percy, who has to deliver the mail at night.

Thomas & Friends: Tale of the Brave / HIT Entertainment

Under the light of the giant moon, Percy is terrified.

But there's worst to come for the little green engine when the giant silhouette of another new engine, Gator (who naturally resembles an alligator), comes chuffing down the tracks through the mist.

Luckily, the two engines soon hit it off, with Gator befriending nervous Percy and confessing that even a big bold engine like him has fears, telling his new friend: 'Being brave is what you do when you still feel scared'.

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This advice seems obvious but it stopped me in my tracks. M own approach when my daughter is scared of something is just to encourage her not to be scared - not bravery.

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Parenting advice taken, Gator!

Thomas & Friends: Tale of the Brave / HIT Entertainment

And so Percy learns to feel the fear, and seeks new ways to prove he's brave. James, the red engine, has chosen to deflect his own fears by picking on Percy, goading him into doing all sorts of silly things.

We very nearly find out what's outside the island of Sodor when Percy attempts to leave the famous home of Thomas & Friends before he takes centre stage in a dramatic finale where the monster is revealed.

Retaining its enduring minimalist charm, the Thomas & Friends formula is a lovely thing in an otherwise sophisticated animated world. It's a tried and tested magic formula for the under-5s - bedtime story moral lessons mixed with genuine excitement.

Thomas & Friends: Tale of the Brave / HIT Entertainment

And the verdict from my three-year-old on the best scary parts? "The giant footprints and when Percy tried to leave Sodor to see her friend."

Spending the entire film thinking Percy is a girl is great. My daughter lives in a world when a girl can be the central character and why would Thomas & Friends be any different?

What else did she think of it? 'It's okay to be scared'.

Nice one, Thomas.

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