Saturday, June 8, 2019

MLEEP Reviews: Thomas & Friends - The Other Big Engine | #BigWorldBigAdventures


Season 23, Episode 1: The Other Big Engine
Written By Davey Moore
Directed By Dianna Basso


When Thomas The Tank Engine first arrived on the Island Of Sodor, he thought no engine worked as hard as he did and he loved playing tricks on them especially Gordon by whistling to wake him up from his nap...until Gordon gave him the ride of his life behind the express one day leaving Thomas breathless, but the two engines eventually got to know each other after being rescued from ditches and mines and formed an alliance: united we stand, together we fall, you help me and I'll help you.  Even so, Gordon still loves to boss Thomas around and call him a silly little engine...are all big blue engines around the world just like Gordon?  Let's go go go on a big world adventure with Thomas to Brazil while we begin a brand new season of international adventure as he meets 'The Other Big Engine'!

THE OTHER BIG ENGINE: Thomas is on his first trip to Brazil and working the railway when he encounters Gustavo. His first meeting with the big, blue engine is a messy one and he finds that this stranger reminds him of Gordon back home

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PROS:
  • 'Gustavo The Grand'-not only is Gustavo the second electricity powered engine introduced into the franchise along with Etienne back in 'The Great Race' (hopefully we get to visit France and be introduced to him again...please, writers?) as well as being based on an EF4 Little Joe and while the 'Thomas falsely judging the new engine' trope is now severely overused in the series, it is soon revealed that Gustavo is not like Gordon at all as Thomas envisioned he'd be since he was actually trying to help Thomas regardless of Thomas not wanting to be bossed around in the same way that Gordon does back on Sodor...in fact, maybe this way of trying to help Thomas stay on the straight and narrow is the reason why Gordon is always bossing Thomas around back on Sodor.  Also, did anyone else see this story as the Brazilian version of Season 1's 'Down The Mine' with Thomas being judgmental of a big blue engine until getting himself in trouble and forming an alliance with his new friend? 
  • 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, 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 especially during the sequences of Thomas taking the express line in order to show Gustavo that he won't be bossed around by big blue engines...not to mention that I appreciate the show staff giving the former Steam Team members a chance to appear in Thomas' thoughts as to who Gustavo reminds him of as a way of saying that these characters are not forgotten about like the fandom thinks they are
  • The fantasy sequences-with this now being one of the major selling points for the series, this trippy as hell sequence of Thomas going for a wild spin on the Tidmouth Sheds turntable as numerous clones of Gordon and Gustavo appear around him while bragging about their importance and teasing him about being a silly little engine really plays into his judgmentally delusional behavior of not wanting to be bossed around by Gustavo in Brazil in the same way that Gordon does back on Sodor...not to mention that I found the talking lorikeets from Brazil to be pretty cute in terms of humor

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

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Overall despite having an out of nowhere newbie appearing without a proper introduction, 'The Other Big Engine' is a great way of kicking off a brand new season of international adventures for Thomas and his friends-a new location, new characters, new cultural facts, everything helped play a part into making this episode truly something worth checking out if you're a Thomas fan or love traveling to Brazil and for that earns a rating of a 9.5 out of 10.


The Other Big Engine-9.5/10

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