Judge David Johnson is archduke of the railway.
On the island of Sodor, train engines have achieved self-awareness and, lucky for the human residents, have yet to rebel against their masters. Led by the soft-spoken Thomas, these mighty locomotives labor intensively for the wills of the Sodor inhabitants. And since the entire island is covered in a complex web of train tracks, perhaps first built by extraterrestrials.
Their newest taskmaster: a powerful Earl who has big plans for the island, a special, antique steam engine in particular. That means it's time for the Steam Team to chug into action. Thomas, Perry and James sign up for duty to do the Earl's wishes. But after their new pal Stephen, the aforementioned antique engine, disappears into the caves, sad and depressed, the Team's biggest challenge awaits: to convince him to buck up and become the shiny, refurbished steam engine he was born to be.
There's your Thomas movie, clocking in at a robust 62 minutes, which, honestly, is the perfect runtime for the target audience. That audience is, of course, my 3-year-old daughter, who for some reason really, really likes Thomas and friends. Not that I'm complaining. Thomas & Friends: King of the Railway is about as innocuous a program as you'll find and not even close to as annoying as your Barney or Doodlebops. I just find the premise of these trains zipping around and smiling fairly boring; there's only so much you can with characters that are bound to train tracks and can travel. Right?
Wrong. My kiddo can't get enough and I am happy to indulge her in this harmless fare. In fact, Thomas and his pals make sure to pump out some decent moral lessons about friendship and sharing and caring and helping and giving and not judging dumpy looking old steam engines by their looks alone.
Serviceable Blu-ray from Lionsgate, opening with a solid 1.78:1/1080p transfer and a reserved 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio surround track. Extras: an interactive "Search for the Lost Crown" game, puzzlers and three karaoke music videos.
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