Thomas & Friends: Big World! Big Adventures! The Movie is the latest in the series of movies based on the books by the Rev. W. Awdry. Thomas (voice of John Hasler) is tired of being teased for being too small. He’s also tired of his menial job. One day he nearly gets hit by a racing car called Ace (Peter Andre), who challenges Thomas to a race. Thomas admires Ace, who is reckless and carefree. Ace tells Thomas he should join him on the rally trail, which will take him all over the world. Thomas longs to do this and asks for permission from Sir Topham Hat (Keith Wickham). Sir Topham believes it will be impossible, but agrees. Thomas takes this a yes, and sets off across the world.
Thomas lands in Senegal in Africa and soon learns that Ace isn’t a reliable friend. His journey continues, and in Kenya he meets Nia (Yvonne Grundy). She helps him take some coffee trucks to Dar es Salaam. Together they travel over five continents, where they have many adventures and get into some dangerous situations. Along the way, Thomas learns some valuable life lessons. He realises that it’s more important to have good friends who can help you than it is to be a ‘free spirit’ with no care or thought for others.
Here we outline any topics, issues and ideas in this movie that might upset children and adolescents, so that you can gauge whether it is appropriate for your child. For example, children and adolescents may react adversely to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, separation from a parent, animal cruelty or distress, children as victims, natural disasters and racism.
Travel and adventure
Here we identify any violence in this movie, and explain how and why it might impact on your child or adolescent. In general, movie violence can make children less sensitive to the use of violence in real life. Alternatively, they may become fearful about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world. In some contexts, it can also teach them to see violence as an acceptable means of conflict resolution.
Thomas & Friends: Big World! Big Adventures! The Movie has some violence and accidental harm. For example:
- Thomas accidentally crashes into another carriage.
- Ace, the racing car, drives recklessly and often crashes into objects. He rolls at one point and lands on his roof.
- An African elephant charges at Thomas, but the carriages all start to sing. This pacifies the elephant.
- Thomas crashes through a closed exit in a tunnel and derails the train.
Content that may disturb children
In addition to the violent scenes mentioned above, Thomas & Friends: Big World! Big Adventures! The Movie has some scenes that could scare or disturb children under five years. For example:
- Sir Topham Hat is twice unexpectedly lifted up by a crane and dropped onto the deck of a ship.
- Thomas can’t get up a hill with his load and starts to slip backwards. Nia comes to the rescue.
- Ace and three other cars speed alongside Thomas’s train and then jump over him.
- Ace has an accident and is upside down when Thomas arrives. Ace is scared of the noises in the jungle.
- In one particularly scary scene, Thomas is crossing a bridge over a free-flowing river when floods come down and the rail starts to buckle. Thomas is halfway across the bridge when he finds he can’t pull the carriages and they start to slip into the water. Thomas manages to get them out just in time.
- Thomas, Ace and the carriages all end up on their roofs, separated and deserted. Another train says they might stay there until they’re dusty or rusty.
- Travelling through snowy mountains in China, Nia is pushed off the tracks by an avalanche and begins to slip over a cliff edge. Thomas arrives but he isn’t strong enough to pull Nia up. Another engine arrives just in time to save them both.
Some younger children in this age group might be scared by some of the scenes mentioned above.
Nothing of concern
Nothing of concern
Alcohol, drugs and other substances
Nudity and sexual activity
There’s no product placement of concern in Thomas & Friends: Big World! Big Adventures! The Movie, but plenty of merchandise associated with the Thomas & Friends franchise is marketed to children.
Ideas to discuss with your children
Thomas & Friends: Big World! Big Adventures! The Movie is a travel adventure movie made for young children. Thomas and Nia go to many exotic destinations including Senegal, Dar es Salaam, Rio de Janeiro, San Francisco and the Rainbow Mountains in China. This shows young viewers diverse cultures and geographic locations.
There are some scary and tense moments in this movie, so we recommend parental guidance for young children.
The main messages from Thomas & Friends: Big World! Big Adventures! The Movie are about the importance of being a good friend, being useful and keeping your promises. The movie suggests that these qualities are better than being free and not caring about others. Another main message is that everyone needs help sometimes.
Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include:
- friendship and teamwork
- diversity and inclusion
- kindness and care for others.
You could also talk with your children about how reckless driving will often result in someone getting hurt. Even though car racing can sometimes look cool and heroic, it should happen on racing tracks not roads.