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on 20 September 2001
This excellent DVD contains nine Thomas episodes, two songs and three games. The model railway used to film the episodes and the songs is superb and adds an element of reality not found in cartoons. Most of the stories are beautifully narrated by Ringo Starr, who brings the characters (especially the Fat Controller) to life in a charming way. The stories will appeal to children aged two and over, but even younger children (such as my fifteen month old) will enjoy 'watching the trains' and pointing at things they recognise.
My personal favourite is Lady Hatt's Birthday Party. The Fat Controller (Sir Topham Hatt) is clearly both devoted to, and terrified of, his wife (a sort of Penelope Keith character), and suffers the most tremendous trials and indignations in order to be on time for her birthday party.
Another good story is 'Busy Going Backwards', in which the break van Toad becomes tired of always seeing things slip away from him because he is stuck at the back of the train.
'I have forward thinking views Mr Oliver,' he tells Oliver the Great Western Engine. 'I could be a leader.' And so it turns out when the trucks detach themselves from Oliver at the top of Gordon's hill and the train, now with Toad at the front, runs backwards down the hill out of control.
The songs are just as good as the stories and include 'karaoke style' words at the bottom of the screen. Be warned - the tunes are annoyingly catchy and you will find yourself humming 'Donald's Duck' at work ! 'Night Train' is very atmospheric and beautifully filmed, but the rather dark images may be lost a little on young children.
The games are a bit simplistic. The first asks the viewer multiple-choice questions about the episode just shown, the second allows the viewer to click on different images and hear an appropriate sound and the third encourages children to count. The games look as though they were put together quickly in order to add some 'interactivity' to the DVD, and they are of limited interest compared to the stories. However they don't detract from the DVD as a whole.
The menu structures are sensible and intuitive, and offer the chance to play the stories one after the other - which is important given their short duration. And of course the quality of DVD pictures makes watching Thomas a pleasure.
All in all this is a superb DVD which will give young children hours of enjoyment. It is well worth five stars.
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on 23 May 2003
To begin with, this latest collection of Episodes from Thomas and Friends is probably the best to be produced to date. This is the second DVD to include the latest episodes of Series Six, which introduces new characters, new plots and a whole new twist to the original classics.
Percy's Chocolate Crunch follows a typical day for Percy, as he avoids the threat of dirtniess, as the water tower is out of use and therefore he cannot wash. After a rather dusty and grimmy day of tasks, Percy is releaved to find that his next job is to deliever a train of sugar to Mr. Jolly's Chocolate Factory. At last he can be clean! However, disaster strikes when the rails are dosed in slippery oil...and Percy is soon to find that he his dirty spree is far from over!
Next, we are introduced to a whole new cast...the Sodor Construction Company. Meet Jack the Front Loader, a vehicle on a mission to become accepted into the Pack, a team of construction vehicles. Can Jack prove himself useful to the team? Or will his enthusiasm get the better of him? (My favourite episode on this DVD)
Diesel is determined to prove once and for all, that he is the World's Strongest Engine. But with the trucks help, it becomes clear that he is far from it.
Iron Arry and Iron Bert (from Stepney Gets Lost) return and are up to no good when they find that the steam engines have a weak spot - being the Middle Engine. Percy learns how to catch the sneaky diesels out, but James learns that it's not as easy as it is! (One of the best episodes on the DVD)
Bill and Ben are saddle tank engine twins who do everything together, but jealous shows it nasty face in this episode "Buffer Bother" (listed above as "Bill and Ben's Excellent Adventure"). Bill lands himself in a spot of heated jealousy when Ben is rewarded with a shiny new set of buffers. But what effect will this have on his work?
Gordon's fame is stolen in a puff of smoke, as an accident at the harbour results in Thomas becoming the fastest engine on the line...with the help of an airplane jet. But fame has it's down Thomas soon finds out.
Duncan is fusy and wanted to get his work at the incline done as fast as he can. Rusty, Skarloey and Rheneas are not in the mood for his selfishness but Duncan simply won't listen. Maybe the trucks will show him how to really...take a dip!
Duncan returns once again, this time...without a whistle! And as we all know, an engine without a whistle is not safe at all. How will Duncan complete his days work? Why, with a Faulty Whistle of course!
Enjoy! This DVD is definetly worth the buy!
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on 16 September 2003
This double video contains all 26 five minute episodes from the fifth series of Thomas & Friends which was made in 1998. Although he never gets onscreen credit, Michael Angelis narrates this, his third series of Thomas. By this point, Britt Allcroft had gained all rights to Thomas and decided to write her own stories with David Mitton, in favour of using Reverand Awdry's Railway Series Books.
Although, there are some solid entries (Cranky Bugs, A Better View for Gordon, Double Teething Troubles, Busy going Backwards and Rusty & The Boulder to name but a few) there are several clangers. These include Baa!, Duncan Gets Spooked, Snow, Bye George and Stepney Gets Lost. The stories have clearly been Americanised - there is crash in nearly every episode!
Some new characters are introduced aswell: Cranky The Crane, The Horrid Lorries, Old Slow Coach, Thumper and Derek The Diesel. Cranky The Crane is made a bit of a regular the others only appear once. This is all very well for the toy franchise but, come on, let's see more of the old favorites such as Henry.
This is definately not the worst series - I reserve that spot for series 3 - but certainly isn't the best. If you're after the classic stories then go for the first two series, which are a lot better.
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on 28 April 2000
Thomas and his friends give you their last series narrated by Ringo Starr. The set has expanded and Diesels come along for the first time in Thomas series. One is devious Diesel, one is lazy Daisy, and the last is kind Boco. New steamers come too like, Duck, Donald & Douglas, Bill and Ben. But old friends of Thomas like Edward, Henry, Gordon, James, Percy and Toby are all there to show them the rails.
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on 18 July 2001
Bought this today for my son ( nearly 4 ) and havent heard a peep ( peep ! ) since - a good selection of stories featuring all the major characters ; along with a song we all enjoyed and some games which vary each time they are played. For my son who is a TTE fanatic it was well worth every penny .
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on 29 January 2001
Absolutely fantastic! Fun for two year olds and grown ups too! The original Thomas the Tank Engine stories are the best and you really can't beat them. Watch it with the kids or watch it by yourself and enjoy the magic again and again and again!!!!
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on 25 September 2002
This video incorporates catchy tunes with a great store of clips from the series. Sing the songs, name the engines, tell the stories - it's versatile and very entertaining. Just as well, really, because it has not been out of the VCR since it arrived! My 3-year-old certainly rates it at 5 stars - and that's good enough for me.
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on 5 November 2000
Get out the party hats and blowers. My children really enjoyed this video. It is cram packed with thomas episodes. This video provides endless hours of enjoyment. My children adore Thomas and this video is just one of many in their collection and I would recommend it to anyone..
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on 29 June 2002
This is a better DVD than the Peep Peep Party DVD, with more episodes on it. As you will know, kids want to watch the same episodes over & over, so better to have more to choose from.
One tedious aspect they both share is the inability to skip over the title sequences!! Why do they do that? We've paid for it, so why do we still have to watch their adverts?
That said, if your child likes Thomas, this is the DVD for you.
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on 26 October 2000
The entire third series from 1992 all in one doublepack. Within it's 2hrs 20mins worth of stories, we meet new characters like Oliver and Toad the breakvan, Mavis and many more. This series may not be the best out of all of them but children will watch them over and over again. (It will also shut them them quiet for a while!)
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