Thomas and Friends: The Great Race (2016) Poster

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6/10
Go streamlining, you're boiling up a quarter a mile
feyipuk21 May 2016
There's a story in the original Thomas collection, by Rev Awdry, involving the Flying Scotsman, a relation of one of the engines on Sodor. In this film, he arrives on his way to the Mainland to join the Great Engine Show, an event Thomas thinks he should be a part of and tries to come up with ways he should.

The most noticeable thing about this story are the number of songs it contains. A few sound like Andrew Lloyd Webber pieces, and "streamlining" sounds a lot like "greased lightning".

The much reported exotic engines seem under used, given the hype - most of the story is focused on Thomas, which seems a waste to me - with a couple of exceptions. Ashima provides Thomas with a moral aspect to follow, and while Vinnie is a Canadian engine, it's hard to decide if he's really modelled on an American footballer, with his helmet. And it's a leap to include a train with overhead power and a pantograph; can't see Sodor copying that design.

It's nicely drawn, with the foreign engines looking like their real life versions.

The rest of the main steamy and diesel crews all play roles, and it's pretty obvious the story is a vehicle for toys (and given the current hype around the real Flying Scotsman, it's definitely tapping in), so if you're kids are into wooden railway or take 'n play, expect some new requests after you see this.
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10/10
Higher The Rating, Please?
olivertherobot7 September 2017
One day, Thomas is pulling the local train along the Main Line. As he puffs along the line, he hears Gordon behind him. Annie and Clarabel try to tell him not to do anything, but Thomas wants to race Gordon to the next signalbox and picks up speed, flying along the line and making it to the signal first, narrowly winning. When Thomas comes to a stop at Vicarstown, he expresses desire to go along the Vicarstown Bridge and visit the Mainland again, when all of a sudden, he sees an unfamiliar green engine with two tenders backing down on the train beside him. Thomas introduces himself to the new engine and tells him about the time he and the other famous engines of Sodor went back to the Mainland, to which the new engine says that he did not know Sodor had any famous engines; the engine then recognizes Gordon, who begrudgingly introduces Thomas to his brother, the Flying Scotsman. Flying Scotsman tells Gordon that he has been invited to take part in the Great Railway Show on the Mainland and that he will be competing in the race. He explains to a curious Thomas that the Great Railway Show is an event in which engines compete to see who is the fastest, the strongest and whatnot, but he does not know if any Sudrian engines will be going. Thomas wants to go and Flying Scotsman tells him that, with any luck, he might be able to, before departing for the Mainland with his passenger train.

Word of the Great Railway Show soon spreads across the rest of Sodor and all of the engines – large and small - want to go and participate in the events. Thomas especially wants to go, but the bigger engines laugh at him, believing that he is not big enough to compete in the events. The Fat Controller says that he does not know who to take to the show and even when he does choose, most of the engines will still have to do their normal jobs and orders the engines to get back to work. That evening, Thomas grumbles to Percy as he shunts Henry's train, believing that he will be left behind to do shunting while the Great Railway Show is held. Percy tries to compliment Thomas on his knowledge of shunting, but Thomas is still down. Just then, Philip rolls into the yard and tells Thomas that if he wants to go to the show, then he should put his mind to it, just as he had done when he had supposedly beaten Gordon in a race.

The next morning, Thomas is feeling a lot more cheerful and believes that if he is able to go as fast as Flying Scotsman, then he might have a chance of being taken to the show. Just then, Caitlin thunders by, which gives Thomas an idea: if he was streamlined like her, then he could go much faster. Thomas thunders down the line and imagines that he is a streamlined tank engine zooming all over the island, but overshoots the platform at Knapford when he rushes through the station too fast. When Thomas backs into the station, he suggests his streamlining idea to the Fat Controller, who agrees that it is an excellent idea... for Gordon. Thomas is dismayed. I Love This Movie! 10/10 Higher The Rating, Now!
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8/10
Chuffing good fun
polo_pete518 April 2019
Warning: Spoilers
Our near-2 year old has got into Thomas and we bought him the accompanying sticker book before we saw the show. He is absolutely captivated. As an adult I find this the best of the Thomas Specials. Yes it's aimed at kids but adults will enjoy this as much.

One thing I find gives Thomas the extra edge over other kids TV programmes is the moral aspect to most episodes (as demonstrated in the current serieswith Thomas' speeches ton the audience at the end. The Great Race is no different. In the modern era where kids and adults alike are being pressured to conform to what is deemed the norm and given impossible aspirations, it's refreshing that the moral of this story is learning that you dont have to be like others and you can make a success out of being yourself.
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10/10
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loveofmine-736942 September 2018
Warning: Spoilers
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8/10
Quite possibly the best Thomas CGI special
cyrusramsey16 July 2017
Thomas CGI specials cover the entire range from great to terrible, and I'm happy to say that this one is probably the best (although Blue Mountain Mystery is another contender for that title). It has a huge cast of new characters, and while it sometimes feels like the writers were trying a little too hard to make Thomas the focus of the story, all the engines we know and love are not forgotten by any means.

There's one new character whose wheels and running gear appear extremely unusual. When I first watched the special, I was disappointed in the show for just making up a silly-looking engine with totally implausible workings, especially given how well the show usually incorporates real-life bits and pieces of railway history. Then I looked it up and found out the character actually is based on a real engine, albeit a very obscure one, and the real thing is every bit as bizarre as it looks on screen. I won't say who this character is, to keep this review spoiler-free, but keep an eye out for weird running gear and you'll know when you see the character.

There's one other thing that makes this special my favorite: the music. I usually don't like the songs in Thomas specials very much, but this one has two songs that are actually quite good (although, for adult viewers, all of the songs are still a painfully obvious reminder that the show is intended for little kids). I won't claim to actually enjoy a song from a Thomas special (heck, no!) but I will say that The Great Race has two of the most...tolerable songs of any Thomas special - and for once, these songs actually do help advance the story. I still think these specials would work better if they weren't pretending to be musicals, but these two songs don't feel quite as forced and out of place as most of the songs in other specials. (This special also has a couple of typically clunky songs, as well.)
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