Summertime is always beautiful on the Island of Sodor. It is a busy time for all of the engines....but when the Steam engines and Diesels can't get along, and no work is getting done, the engines are in a terrible mess! Wi... more »ll the new airport get ready in time? Will the bridge get built? Can the engines save the day?« less
"This is one of our most played DVDs, mainly because there are so many of my son?s favorite characters crammed into the story. Thomas fans will be able to identify many of the trains, both steam and diesel, including Thomas, Lady, Diesel 10, Edward, Henry, Gordon, James, Percy, Toby, Harvey, Mavis, Diesel, Iron ?Arry and Iron Bert, and more.
There are five catchy songs, including ?Busy? which will have you humming all day, and for shorter attention spans there are short breaks in the action for cartoon challenges.
In this story, there is to be a new airport built on Sodor, which will bring in lots of visitors to the Island. Unfortunately, this also brings the Steam Engines into close contact with the Diesels, and before long the island is in chaos as train warfare breaks out. To compound matters, a storm hits the island, further delaying the work schedule.
With the vacation season plans headed for disaster, Thomas rallies the engines to work together and be really useful, but the real challenge will be to finish everything on time. A last minute emergency might put a damper on things, but maybe a little help from an unlikely source can save the day.
Entertaining and educational, this one is a must for any Thomas fan.
Amanda Richards, March 1, 2006 "
HIT Entertainment Fall Short Again
B. D. Arel | Barre, MA | 10/11/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"My two-and-a-half year old and I have watched Calling All Engines approximately a dozen times since we purchased it about a month ago. We are both huge Thomas fans and so I write this review with mixed emotions. I would like to say that I thoroughly enjoyed this DVD, but alas, even my precocious wee one, likes this video less than its predecessor, Thomas and the Magic Railroad (2000)
The storyline of Calling All Engines is entertaining, the scenery, as in all episodes of Thomas and Friends, is outstanding, and the songs are entertaining. The DVD also contains bonus features including an interactive game, a read-along story, Diesel 10 Means Trouble, character gallery (the weakest of the bonus features), deleted scenes, and a music video. Although diehard Thomas and Friends fans will enjoy this video, there are problems with the film that make this Calling All Engines substandard.
Although HIT Entertainment has great success with its television programming, they seem to fall short when it comes to producing feature length programs.
Michael Brandon fails miserably as the "storyteller." He seems unable to remain in character for more than a few seconds and oftentimes slips from a character's voice to the narrator's voice in mid dialogue. Furthermore, in several places he mispronounces words, for example, bananas is pronounced "bananers." He evens manages to mispronounce Sir Topham Hatt's name! These are problems that should have been corrected with ADR, but for some reason HIT entertainment choose not to do so.
The continuity and flow of the story are destroyed by the frequent interludes where Mr. Brandon asks the viewing audience to make choices for the characters, or to teach little lessons. For example, the story is interrupted, early on, for almost four minutes to ask the audience to identify characteristics that set steam and diesel engines apart. If this interruption in some way advanced the plot, or assisted in the development of the characters it might be acceptable, but it does neither. Finally, these interludes are often animated which is visually distracting given the care that was taken in creating and photographing the other scenes.
In addition, the film is advertised as being "closed captioned" which it is not.
For all its flaws, Thomas and the Magic Railroad which incorporated stop action photography and live action was a far more rewarding film. Perhaps in its next outing HIT entertainment will take what it has learned from these two efforts in full length Thomas features and produce the kind of film that Thomas and his friends deserve.
"Calling All Engines" - recommended by kids and mom alike!!
Pam Tee | 01/27/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a wonderful video and we highly recommend it. Besides having tons of Engines (of both a coal and oil persuasion), Harold, and Sir Topham Hatt, there is a pretty good story about cooperation, and the fact that our differences are what make us special.
The story begins with an announcement that a new airport is going to be built. Orders are given to both the Diesels and the Steamies but trouble starts when Thomas decides to play tricks on `Arry and Bert, and Diesel. In one case, Thomas substitutes bananas for construction materials.
He and Percy have a good laugh, but soon find that everything has backfired. When they go home they find that one of the important jobs the diesels had was to rebuild their sheds. The old sheds were destroyed on time, but there was no supplies to build new ones. Consequently the gang are split up into shelters all over the island.
This bad situation is made worse when a hurricane rips through the island. What little work that was done on the airport is undone, and the beautiful new suspension bridge is mostly gone!
The Steamies decide that they need to work really hard now, but their plans fall in disarray as the Diesels retaliate to Thomas' pranks. [This is a good opportunity to point out to children that actions have consequences: good and bad.]
This long story, much like the television versions, are interrupted with breaks of music and games. In the case of this Video, the games involve practice logical reasoning skills. And unlike the TV show, most of the game-breaks have something to do with the story. For example, the first break comes after a mention of the age-old animosity that exists between the Steamies and Diesels. A discussion ensues about what the real differences between steam engines and diesels engines are. Steamies use coal and have whistles, for example, while diesel engines burn oil and have horns.
In any case, real trouble comes as biffing and bashing begin to go on all over the island. Things go so badly that the Steamies all begin to have nightmares as to what might happen to them if no tourists come. Everyone but Thomas. He dreams of Lady who he finds high in the mountains, shunting cars with Rusty. She tells him something to the effect that she and Rusty always get their work done with they cooperate.
This sets the wheels in motion and soon everyone is working together and everything is done... until an accident which, at the last moment, takes the runway out of commission. What can they do? Thomas (the principal good guy and Steamie) finds the solution in asking Diesel 10 (a former principal bad guy, now more realistically portrayed (lol) as a lead grumpy, strong, and scary diesel) for help. Yeah differences. Yeah cooperation. Just the stuff for small fry.
Five Stars. Good story. Good lessons. We also get to learn a lot more about Sodor on this video and we certainly get to see lots of trains. I don't know what parents of younger children find, but I know that my almost 4 year-old son loves this video. He has actually managed to sit for the whole 150 minute running time, and then wanted to watch it again!"
Calling All Engines review
Pam Tee | 09/27/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"It makes you wonder why they would even bother making another Thomas movie after "Thomas and the Magic Railroad", but this time they got it right. No live cast, no Mr. Conductor, no Alec Baldwin, all Thomas. The only similarity this movie has to "Magic Railroad" is Diesel 10. But in "Calling All Engines" Diesel 10 isn't the creepy, evil character that he was before. His character change is for the better, a kid's movie doesn't need a homicidal talking engine in it.
I have to say that I did like it. It was much better than the recent episodes and it was just fun. A great movie for any Thomas fans. The movie was really entertaining (some parts were laugh out loud funny) and Gordon and Percy had some great lines. Michael Brandon did very well his voices (notably Diesel 10, Arry, Bert, Lady, and Henry). It was also nice to see some memorable old characters who made appearences. Small cast, which I liked, that had every main character.
Though the story was simple and predictable, the movie was still entertaining. Nowadays, Thomas isn't known for it's excelent storylines (which is a pity, but Calling All Engines is never boring, and fans of Thomas will like it.
I even liked the songs. Out of all of them, "The Dream Song" was my favorite (only on the DVD). Every one of the songs were catchy and upbeat, some of the best in the entire series.
The interactive bits were added into the middle of movie. It wasn't terrible, but it did interrupt the flow of the movie. You may want to see them once (they are, unfortunently, part of the movie's plot) and then fast-forward past them the next time you see it.
The only main flaws of this movie were the visuals. I liked Calling All Engines, the visuals and locations were as bland as ever. There were some familiar scenes from past seasons, but most of the movie had some very dull locations. In Magic Railroad there was Shinning Time, the Magic Railroad, Muffle Mountain, and the busy yards. In Calling All Engines, Sodor doesn't feel like the bustling railway that it used to. The locations seem the same all over the island and makes the railway seem much smaller than it really is. The endless, flat, countryside is as dull as ever and doesn't have anything in it (aside from the occasional signalhouse). Even the smelters is boring and doesn't have the life and energy that it did in "Stepany Gets Lost". I know that the locations have been this way for a while, but I was expecting more in a full-length movie.
Aside from the minor flaws of the locations and interactive segments, "Calling All Engines" is fun for any Thomas fan. Recommened.
4 out of 5 stars"
Fun - but interruptions get in the way
Brian L. Miller | Minnesota USA | 09/08/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I have watched this twice with my son and it's a good DVD. The basic plot is described above.
The main downfall are breaks in the story (Help Thomas pick the right cargo, which route should Thomas take, etc) but they're not interactive, and they can wreck the flow of the story. Most of the breaks are simply rendered CGI sequences, which is jarring for me because I admire the work they put in to the "real" sets.
As maligned as "Thomas and the Magic Railroad" is, I did like how that movie had different actors doing voices for each of the trains and I wish they had done this for this DVD. That said, Michael Brandon is my favorite narrator (tied w/ Ringo, I love how he does Gordon, so upper class sounding) and he does a good job.
The songs are OK, nothing too special. My son wanted Spencer in the movie. Sorry son, no luck there.
DVD extras - the usual story book, character gallery on the other Thomas DVDs. The songs and the breaks are grouped into one submenu, and there's a game we haven't tried yet.
Our DVD came with a bronze colored "Deisel" engine. Well worth the extra two bucks if you have any of the wooden track."