Journey Beyond Sodor - The First Impressions Review [Part 2] (by SunilFan48)

August 11, 2017

Caution: This review contains major spoilers for the movie, "Journey Beyond Sodor." 

With the midnight of August 8, Thomas' 2017 special movie, Journey Beyond Sodor made its world debut through US iTunes, and other digital download platforms. Journey will be released in UK, Australian, and US cinemas subsequently. Journey blew fans' expectations out of the water... mostly. Almost everyone was pleased with it.

We here at ThomasNATION, got together three of our members (ThomasFan3000, SunilFan48 and JFtheLOLZOR) to write a First Impressions Review for Journey - our thoughts right now. We'll also be doing a grand Journey review with the complete team in the coming month.

Here's SunilFan48's First Impressions of Journey Beyond Sodor: 

This movie is the "Hottest Thing in Town!" Ehh? No? Okay... 

But anyways, I have watched it twice and plan to watch it many more times. I have replayed the songs waayy more though as they are stuck in my head and won't leave.  I was pretty hyped for the special, but I didn't expect what we got, it was much better! And here are my thoughts -

First up I will talk about the overall story structure, which in my opinion, I feel is probably the most focused it has ever been for a Thomas special. Most of the time we follow Thomas on his Mainland adventure, Only a few times we cut back to Sodor to see how things are progressing there, and none of those scenes are pointless, they all move the plot forward in some way. There are a bit of times it feels rushed, like the ending a bit but to me, I don't mind that very much. I still just enjoy what we got. And sometimes I even feel the fast paced nature helps in some areas.

As for the morals and themes told in said story, they were very well done and surprisingly mature. The themes presented during the time of Frankie and Hurricane luring Thomas in and keeping him there, as well as Thomas' lamenting when he is trapped there, are surprisingly dark for this show.

I mean, this is basically the equivalent of forced slave labor! Also I liked the themes present with the Experimentals as well, showing that those which society might deem as un-useful, can still do anything if they try hard enough. And the morals about friendship are quite heartwarming and are very well told throughout the characters in the film.

Speaking of the characters, they all were fantastic and memorable to me. Thomas and James were never more in character, especially during the scenes of their interactions, and James' snarkiness. The small parts that the other Island of Sodor members played were also handled well. 

As for the newbies this is the first time I have had trouble picking a favorite one. They are all presented and handled so well with their actions and emotions. They all feel so real, and some even very relatable. Lexi was funny, Theo was adorable, Beresford was quirky, Frankie was unnerving, and Hurricane was relatable. All of them added to the plot so well, and I can't wait to see them in the show again.

The animation in some parts of the special, was a bit sub-par. But it is understandable. As Arc were bankrupt and lost over a month of production. However even for that one month, most of the movie's scenes were portrayed amazingly! Especially the steelworks. It made it feel like big industry and gave a sort of creepy vibe out. As for the engine movements, I feel they were handled quite well. Certainly more tasteful than chuggington, and really helped to give the engines more character and range of expression. It was only over-exaggerated during the musical numbers, which is understandable. I personally think it is a nice change.

As for the music, this special continues Chris Renshaw's trend of success with musical scoring and musical numbers. All the scenes are scored beautifully, and help to coney the emotions on screen. One of the greatest examples of this is the very opening. The musical score combined with the shots of the Island and the engines bustling about all feel so very grandiose and majestic. And helps to set up the movie's premise: "We know the Island of Sodor, but what lies beyond it?" The musical numbers are top notch and they are pulled off brilliantly by the singers. Special mention to "The Hottest Place in Town" for it being so very cleverly scripted and portrayed.

So overall Journey Beyond Sodor is just brilliant in my opinion. Sure there are a few downsides, but to me they don't deter my enjoyment or opinion at all. The characters all felt real, the story flowed mostly well and the animation was pretty great, the music outstanding! 

All in all, I felt so happy while watching it and just was thoroughly enthralled with the spectacle put out here. I would watch it over and over.

Overall rating: 4.8/5

Read Part 1 - ThomasFan3000's First Impressions Review!

Stay Tuned! Thanks for reading!

- SunilFan48.

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About The Author:
Chris - SunilFan48
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