Sunday, November 27, 2016

MLEEP Reviews: Henry In The Dark

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Season 20, Episode 16: Henry In The Dark
Written By Lee Pressman
 

As Kermit The Frog once said, 'it's not that easy being green'...but what if you were as green as a ghost like Henry was in our next Season 20 episode-Henry In The Dark!
 
After Henry is accidentally repainted with glow-in-the-dark green paint due to a mix-up from Kevin, Henry has all of Sodor thinking that they've seen a ghost train. I'll be honest...after the modern classic that was 'Henry Gets The Express', I thought this episode was gonna suck since we didn't know much about it and sounded like they were taking a step backwards with Henry's character. But I did my best to go into this episode with an open mind and to my surprise...it turned out to be better than I expected!
 
When it comes to the story, I kept saying to myself that this is what Season 14's 'James In The Dark' should've been because...whereas 'James In The Dark' was formulaic and boring, this episode does everything that it can to be entertaining and informative at the same time with things like the uses for the glow-in-the-dark paint on railway signs-not to mention that this episode is filled to the brim with comedy!
 
As for the animation, the team at Arc's work truly shone amongst all the darkness of this nighttime episode since I've always thought it would be so cool to see an engine's paintwork glow in the dark and they took every advantage that they could with Henry as the lead in this episode...and it kinda gives a reason why there are some pieces of Thomas merchandise that actually do glow in the dark whether they're the Trackmasters or MINIS.
 
And when it comes to the characters...ever since 'Henry Gets The Express', it's been so great to have the Henry that we all knew and loved as kids back after so many years and Lee Pressman did a great job as well as Helen Farrall in combining Henry's original and current personalities at the same time of being a cynical worrier-bravo to Keith Wickham for giving another perfect performance!
 
Overall, 'Henry In The Dark' is a Season 20 episode that truly shines and gets a rating of a 10 out of 10


Monday, November 21, 2016

MLEEP Reviews: The Way She Does It

Season 20, Episode 15: The Way She Does It
Written By Davey Moore
 
Ah, Daisy...a diesel railcar who likes to do just what work she chooses and no more, let's see what shenanigans she gets up to this time with our next Season 20 episode-The Way She Does It!
 
When Sir Topham Hatt asks Daisy to take some special passengers to the holiday town of Harwick, she decides that they are so special that she doesn't want to allow children on board and refuses to pull a dusty baggage truck...and her special passengers may not be as special as she thinks they are. When this episode was first announced, I thought it was gonna suck since it felt like three previous episodes that I was not a fan of being all mashed together; those being Season 12's 'Push Me Pull You', Season 14's 'Pingy Pongy Pick Up' and Season 16's 'Emily's Winter Party Special'. But I did my best to go into this episode with an open mind and...as much as I didn't want to admit it, I unfortunately was right.
 
When it comes to the story, it's exactly what I thought it was gonna be-a rehash of the three episodes that I had previously mentioned: you have the puppet show aspect from 'Push Me Pull You', the main character getting excited for a job that she doesn't end up doing while bragging to the other engines about it from 'Emily's Winter Party Special' and that character not wanting to pull something that she doesn't know is important from 'Pingy Pongy Pick Up'...and when you have a character like Daisy as the main star, you know exactly where it's gonna go. On top of that, the humor was extremely hit-and-miss with some hitting bullseyes like Duck's reaction to Daisy's theater talk and others just falling flat on their face like Thomas mentioning (shudders) Misty Island...really, Brenner? REALLY?!?!?
 
As for the animation, there really isn't much to talk about without me repeating myself from previous reviews...however, I will say that it was nice that we got to see some more of the Arlesburgh-Harwick branch line again and the team at Arc really did capture the aesthetic of a traditional Punch & Judy show-plus, the three stations split-screen scene was clever of the animators to pull off.
 
And when it comes to the characters...being someone who was extremely excited for Daisy's return to 'Thomas & Friends' since she was my introduction to the show as a kid twenty years ago, this whole 'lazy, complains about everything and doing just what work she chooses' routine is getting old really fast and nowhere is that more painfully obvious than in this episode. I know that is part of Daisy's personality, but...THIS CAN'T BE HER ONE TRAIT-even Sir Topham Hatt sounded like he's getting sick of her behavior...what was that line he said again in 'Percy's Predicament'? 'My engines work hard, I send lazy engines away'...earth to Topham, SEND DAISY AWAY!!!
 
Overall, 'The Way She Does It' is clearly not how Andrew Brenner should've done it and gets a rating of a 5 out of 10.


MLEEP Reviews: Blown Away

Season 20, Episode 14: Blown Away
Written By Helen Farrall
 
Ah, Skiff-our lovable railboat from 'Sodor's Legend Of The Lost Treasure'...I wonder how you're getting on with your new life of railboat tours around Arlesburgh Harbor, let's find out with our next Season 20 episode-Blown Away!
 
Skiff and his new captain Joe are helping everyone to prepare for a big storm approaching Arlesburgh when Skiff's anchor rope snaps and he gets blown down the track into a tree that has fallen across the branch line...which Duck and Oliver are heading straight towards! Much like 'Ryan & Daisy', I was really excited to see this episode when it was first announced since I was one of the many fans who loved 'Sodor's Legend Of The Lost Treasure' and was excited to see what adventures Skiff would get into after the events of the movie and...for his first episode, it blew me away-no pun intended!
 
When it comes to the story, the concept of a big storm wreaking havoc on Sodor was already enough to peak my interest and on top of that was executed extremely well when it came to the structure of the story as well as the characters chosen to star in it and the moral of how those that seem small and helpless compared to those who are bigger and stronger than they are can end up becoming the biggest of heroes.
 
As for the animation, Arc's work truly spoke for itself in this episode and...with the concept of a big storm, they went all out with what they were given especially in things like the build-up to the storm's arrival during the first few minutes as well as the dramatic sequence of the runaway Skiff leading up to when he rescues Duck and OIiver from the lightning-struck fallen tree.
 
And when it comes to the characters, it's so great to see that Skiff hasn't changed a bit since we last saw him in 'Sodor's Legend Of The Lost Treasure-he's upbeat, very positive and gullible to persuasion...heck, his voice actor from the movie (Jamie Campbell Bower) even stayed to supply his voice for future episodes! On top of that, Duck and Oliver were great supporting characters to Skiff...and for once, this wasn't an episode where they preached about the Great Western Railway!
 
Overall as another episode that fans have been anticipating for quite some time, 'Blown Away' is one that certainly blew me away to get a rating of a 10 out of 10.



Tuesday, November 15, 2016

MLEEP Reviews: Pouty James

Season 20, Episode 13: Pouty James
Written By Andrew Brenner
 
Ah, James...I know you like being the center of attention, but your showing off is getting way out of hand...especially when it comes to what happens in our next Season 20 episode-Pouty James!
 
James likes to show off and be the center of attention...but when he goes too far and the passengers start complaining, Sir Topham Hatt takes his coaches away leaving James feeling very pouty. I'll be honest, this was an episode that I was rather split on when I first heard about it since I thought that James had learned his lesson of not being a show-off by now ever since last season with the episode 'Philip To The Rescue'...but I did my best to go into this episode with an open mind and this proved to be better than I ever expected.
 
When it comes to the story, I cannot believe I'm saying this...but I think this episode handles the concept of James being a show-off far better than in any other episode I've seen especially with the comedy and just how relatable it was for me in terms of the moral...allow me to explain: for those who don't know, I suffer from really bad anxiety and depression because of a very rocky past of relentless teasing and bullying and I've found it hard to keep a positive perspective in the face of adversity for the past few years because of what happened back then...so to see an episode where I'm pretty much in the role of James with trying to stay positive despite life being difficult really makes this a relatable episode for me since it shows that Thomas the Tank Engine will always be there for me to show a way for me to overcome life's obstacles. Uhhhh, Hit Entertainment...are you sure that you don't have cameras secretly following me?
 
As for the animation, this episode should've been called 'Pouty Memes' as I can tell that the team at Arc was having a field day with this episode when it came to the different pouty face designs for the engines and trying hard not to laugh...and I just know that these many different faces will soon be made into jokes and memes by the entire fandom.
 
And when it comes to the characters...like I said, James was so relatable in this episode when it came to keeping a positive perspective in the face of adversity and how going around in a sulk can result in nothing but trouble for everyone else around you-bravo to Rob Rackstraw for a simply splendid performance!
 
Overall, after the past few weeks I've had...'Pouty James' was just the episode I needed to see as it has now become my favorite episode of Season 20 and gets a rating of a 10 out of 10.




MLEEP Reviews: Ryan & Daisy

Season 20, Episode 12: Ryan & Daisy
Written By Davey Moore
 
Ever since the end of 'Sodor's Legend Of The Lost Treasure', Ryan and Daisy have been running the new branch line between Arlesburgh and Harwick and we fans have been excited to see the many episodes that would come from this pairing of engines...and today is the day as it's time to take a look at our next Season 20 episode-Ryan & Daisy!
 
Daisy encourages Ryan to help her out with her passenger duties, but then she makes him do even more of her responsibilities resulting in confusion and delay. When this episode was first announced, many fans including myself were excited to see it since it was finally giving us a glimpse into the friendship between Ryan and Daisy and I'm happy to say that this episode delivered perfectly.
 
When it comes to the story, it can easily be described as Season 9's 'Thomas' Day Off' done right as I think they handled the conflict of a steam engine helping out a lazy diesel with all of their jobs far better here than they did back then with Thomas and Dennis...who I'm pretty sure has been forgotten forever due to being a one-off, although I think a Dennis and Daisy episode would be cool to see. Not only that, but I love the moral of how it's good to help a friend and how your friends should help you as well.
 
As for the animation, the team at Arc always delivers and it shows in this episode as we got to see more of the Arlesburgh-Harwick branch line with things like Arlesburgh West where the miniature engines work as well as Ryan and Daisy's shed...not only that, but it was great to see old locations return like the quarry and Knapford.
 
And when it comes to the characters, it was so great getting to finally see the friendship between Ryan and Daisy explored as we could see that Daisy can be quite manipulative when she wants to be and Ryan being more than willing to help out any engine in need...not only that, but they have a great dynamic chemistry between the two of them-bravo to all of the voice cast and especially Steven Kynman for filling in the shoes...or wheels of Eddie Redmayne as Ryan.
 
Overall, as an episode that fans have been anticipating for quite some time, 'Ryan & Daisy' makes for a very worthwhile episode and gets a rating of a 10 out of 10.