Saturday, June 22, 2019

MLEEP Reviews: Thomas & Friends - Batucada | #BigWorldBigAdventures


Season 23, Episode 5: Batucada
Written By Davey Moore
Directed By Dianna Basso

Music and song has always been a really important part of 'Thomas & Friends' from the orchestrations heard during each episode and special whether it be done by Mike O'Donnell and Junior Campbell or Chris Renshaw to the sing-along music videos that have been around for twenty five years now and of course the big push to make full-length musical specials ever since 'The Great Race' three years ago...but what musical adventures will Thomas get up to when the carnival comes to Brazil?  Let's go go go on one last big world adventure back to Brazil as we jam along with Thomas to some 'Batucada'!

BATUCADA: Thomas finds a way to take part in the Brazilian carnival music

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PROS:
  • Teaching Brazilian culture-some or even many fans might be turned off by this due to feeling like that they are back in school learning things that they don't want to (as if they didn't want to learn anything before), I'm all for learning new things about different cultures because the closest thing that I have ever gotten to Brazil were the 'Rio' movies which had this same style of party music ...and we all know how well those ended up, so it was great getting to learn that Brazilian party music is known as 'batucada' as well as some of the instruments that are played during the batucada which really helped to make the episode fun to jam along to when the musical sequences did happen especially since it reminded me of my four years in the high school marching band whether it be on cymbals or bass drum!
  • The animation-even if they had to reuse a lot of assets from Sodor in order to create the railways of Brazil like they did for the 'Big World Big Adventures' movie such as Brendam Docks for Guanabara Bay and the shunting yards where Thomas looks for a replacement for his 'musical cars' of engine parts and iron pellets, you can't deny that the team at Jam Filled still did an amazing job in capturing the beauty and spectacular views of Brazil from the rainforest and seaside to the mountainous palm tree filled landscapes to the busy bustling town square where the carnival takes place for Thomas' desire to be a part of the fun from the vibrant colors everywhere such as the buildings or the festive decorations like bunting and confetti to the extravagant costumes of the performers parading down the street with Thomas at the end of the episode
  • The fantasy sequences-with this now being one of the major selling points for the series, this sequence triggered by Thomas' musical ride of cargo and passengers leading to what I like to call 'Drum Major Thomas' because of my four years in the high school marching band was an absolute joy to experience from the keyboards and bass drums on his tanks to the calliope pipes on his boiler to Thomas sporting sunglasses and tooting his whistle while playing the 'Big World Big Adventures' theme song...if anything deserved to be made into merchandise in my honest opinion, I would absolutely love to own this 'one man band' version of the number one engine!


CONS:
  • Gabriela-now I won't deny that Gabriela does have a very interesting design based of Baroneza II and Monica Lopera does give a very kind and comforting performance, but it's just that she just randomly appears out of nowhere without being properly introduced first in an episode of her own...now I'm going off of the U.S. broadcasting schedule and I don't know for sure if this is the right order to view the episodes in, but hopefully we'll get our official introduction to Gabriela sometime within this season
  • Fernando-unlike Gabriela who actually has a very interesting design, we were introduced to Fernando back in the 'Big World Big Adventures' movie albeit not knowing his name until just now and not to mention the fact that he's just another Class 08 shunter like Diesel...but like Gabriela, he just randomly appears out of nowhere without being properly introduced first in an episode of his own-now I'm going off of the U.S. broadcasting schedule and I don't know for sure if this is the right order to view the episodes in, but hopefully we'll get our official introduction to Fernando sometime within this season

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Overall, 'Batucada' brought Thomas' adventures in Brazil to a close in what was easily the best of the bunch...this episode just really took me back to such great musical memories and I'm proud to give it a 9.5 out of 10.  What else can I say except 'boom boom, cha cha cha'...


Grudge Match-9.5/10
Batucada-9.5/10

SEASON 23 OVERALL RATING: 8.5/10

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