Top positive review
5 people found this helpful
Play Misty For Me
on 12 August 2011
Opening with a decidedly ropey Pirates of the Caribbean-style score, Misty Island Rescue is pretty much as self-explanatory and easy to follow as it sounds. Narration is provided by Michael Angelis (sounds more like Bernard Hill than Ringo Starr) and the CGI is to a decent standard. 60 minutes may sound short for a film but I think anything longer and children might lose interest in what is quite a slender storyline.
The opening of the story concerns the building of a new Search & Rescue Centre on Sodor. Following the loss of their supply of Jobi wood due to rash action on behalf of Diesel, Thomas is rewarded with a trip to the mainland to see the Search & Rescue Centre there. Needless to say, things don't go well and Thomas finds himself adrift and eventually stranded on the mysterious Misty Island. Soon, the Fat Controller (I'm surprised in these PC times that they are still allowed to call him that) and the rest of the Sodor engines realise that Thomas is missing and they set about rescuing him but not before Thomas has made some new friends and discovered a new supply of Jobi wood.
One of the main themes of Misty Island Rescue is decision-making, both good and bad. Thomas is rewarded early on for his good decision-making when he saves Diesel and this then becomes his mantra throughout the remainder of the story. Despite ending up stranded as a result of a bad decision, Thomas soon recovers his confidence when he meets up with the "logging loco's" Dash, Bash and Ferdinand who, seemingly, were banished for being too playful. This also reinforces the secondary theme of Misty Island Rescue: usefulness. Diesel is teased by Thomas for not being as useful as a "steamy", Thomas is rewarded for being "The Most Really Useful" engine and so on. Also, the metaphor of the mist is used well to emphasise that a clear way forward is not always visible and a decision must be made on the evidence available. It seems some low-level moralising is demonstrated in the constant repetition of Thomas' mantra too; Thomas has made a good decision once so therefore, in his view, all his decisions subsequently are equally as good. Thomas soon learns that being wrong is often the best way to learn a lesson or help rid oneself of pre-conceptions. Being wrong is a complex lesson to explain and I think the story manages well enough without resorting to extremes.
As for the narration and dialogue, I found the repetitive and alliterative approach very pleasing. As a long-time fan of Dr Seuss, I know that children learn well by rhyme and association. Bearing in mind that this film is probably aimed at pre-schoolers, I think it can be forgiven for being a little on the simplistic side; the story is easy to follow, the narration is relaxed and friendly and the character's voices are easily identifiable. One thing that slightly bewildered me was the choice to give Dash and Bash voices that were ever-so-slightly similar to Ant and Dec. Whether this was by design or accident I don't know but it just seemed like an odd choice when regional accents hardly feature (except for the narration, of course).
All in all, a decent children's film and, where as I could get into another entirely different subject (namely the film being one huge advertisement for the Fisher Price Take `N' Play range), I hardly feel it's worth raging against too severely. Just don't go into it expecting Inception with talking trains or you'll be sorely disappointed.