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So, I've seen 'Journey Beyond Sodor' aaaand, well, 

It was nowhere near good enough to compete with 'Lost Treasure', and if anything I was left, disappointed. It's major problem I found was in the writing: a lack of motive and continuity (and I'll explain that later)

It's hard to say whether it beats or loses to 'The Great Race', because if anything, both have their ups and downs. 

So in a cinemasins style (similar to when I reviewed *shudders* TCC...) , here's a list of pros and cons about JBS! I'll probably do an actual review some other time.

If you think my thoughts are crap or disagreeable, that's fine, let's chat about it below :) No need to pull a CT on me and ridicule them on Twitter

+ I don't normally care about the narrator talking about the island but this was a good cinematic one
- Henry and Connor suddenly switch from passing each other on the mainland to Vicarstown
- Slow motion crash again? :/
- What? Henry bounces off the brakevan. Why are the animators so afraid to have rolling stock smashed to pieces? I miss that :/
+ Ok but the rest of the crash is brilliant though. You can legit see and feel the shock from everyone in that scene.

Not a con, but it does sorta have the same setup as BMM: a crash and engine out of action leads to the main plot. Then again its been 5 years since BMM, I can't blame HIT for resusing a plotline

- Thomas saying hello to bunnies, the sky etc....eugghhh, no. Where's the cheeky twat from the beginning of 'Lost Treasure'?
-Oh and the bouncing.... :/
- :/
-You can probably tell this animation gimmick isn't welcome in my eyes :/
- "Don't days like this make you feel like bursting into song?" Oh please no...
-Suddenly a singing, obnxious bouncing James. 
- Up until now I thought I was watching a Thomas special, now I'm legit convinced I'm watching a random kids film where it only LOOKS like thomas, instead of feeling and acting like 'Thomas'

-Wilbert Awdry bouncing along to James' song. No, no, no.... 
- I'm gonna apologize to TGR now. At least their singing was restricted to within songs, not just random spontaneous-ness
+ The writers usually suck at humour for The Fat Controller but it's done well here (Him swatting wooden toy trains about on a Sodor map)

-James is really starting to piss me off with his bouncing and singing. Why is he even acting so overly obnoxious all of a sudden anyways? I mean sure, he's always a boastful showoff but even for him this is over the top, especially without a reason
-Thomas you led the grand opening of a new branch line and won a trophy in an international competition. Why are you whining so much? 
- So does James just always sing 24/7 now. I dunno how nobody has told him to shut up at this stage

Red Rosie out of nowhere. Not a sin because I like it but....why is there no explanation for this sudden transformation?

- Thomas's solution to his problem is to basically steal James' train. 
- Why do I get the feeling he won't get into trouble over that?
- Oh yay, now Thomas is randomly singing. And bouncing.
- Lack of motive in the plot here. What exactly is Thomas going to gain from stealing James' train? Sure he gets to go explore the mainland, but I dunno how it ties in with showing he's the favourite

-Knew it. The fat man doesn't give a shit that Thomas stole James' train.
- "He's taken my cars Sir!" Well technically they were Henry's but I get what you mean James

-Woaaaah why's the animation suddenly gone bad?
-Thomas is weirdly over excited about seeing random factories and houses. I mean sure, I was excited with my new surroundings over the summer but I wasn't drunkenly crazily going "WOW LOOK AT THAT HOUSE, LOOK AT THAT TAXI."
- A standard guage narrow guage truck. I forgot about that in the trailer

I know something happened with Arc last year about going bankrupt and delayed production or something like that. But when I'm a consumer watching a released production (well I'm a guy watching it for free haha) I'm not gonna go, "Oh that's ok, they couldn't finish animating in time." The animation in this scene is bad. That's it

+ I'd question how Thomas didn't crash into anything during that badly animated junction scene but then again I dodged taxis and airport luggage carts multiple times without getting hit either so...
-I thought James wanted a branch line (thinking back to his lines in TAB). Why's he so pissed off about running Thomas' branch? It'd be better if he liked it at first but then slowly began to hate it. 

'Points of no Return' anyone? That's the proper way to reference the classic era in modern Thomas. 

+ I like Bereford's voice
- Is Thomas' face twisted?? I swear I saw him actually turn his face....
- This whole...scene. Shit pointless song, pointless crane character, and AS IF THE BOUNCING WASN'T BAD ENOUGH... o_o (the trucks swinging wildly about)
- Why is Bereford painted the same colour as Thomas? That alone convinced me he was gonna somehow know Thomas already
- Thomas this song is the first time this special you've said you were bored of Sodor. Shoulda said so earlier mate
-I keep forgetting I'm supposed to be watching a Thomas special. This is basically a generic Disney movie now

-That truck who keeps asking 'Are we there yet' is now annoying me. Shut up, you were never funny to begin with
+ I like how baffled Thomas is to see a smokebox door without a face
- Lexi only takes 15 seconds of speaking to make her the worst new character in Thomas history. Not even the logging locos pissed me off this quickly
+ If Theo's meant to be autistic then it's accurate. He reminds me of every single autistic kid I've ever known
+ "Are you being scrapped?" Kinda reminds me of when an autistic kid asked me if I was gay after I said to my friend "Your backflips are cool."

-Lexi is just unbearable. She isn't funny and honestly makes me wonder how she got lost. Lost? Well it's clearly a 'Cars' universe character that ended up in Thomas' universe by mistake
-Also I thought Cars 3's 'Cruz Remiraz' was annoying. I'm gonna apologize to her now
- This whole scene was just pointless! "Look here's the annual new characters. Go buy their toys. Ok moving on,"

- "That's not what my friend James says! etc etc" Thomas these guys don't have any idea what you're talking about
- Thomas probably forgets everything that happened in 'Lost Treasure', I thought he'd be a LITTLE hesitant around slightly suspicious characters suddenly taking interest in him
+ These antagonists. Nice voice acting
+Not as good as Sailor John, but still good. (Again, there's no motive, these guys fall flat later on)

-The bouncing is just getting more exaggerated in this :/
+ Hottest Place in town. 

Kinda reminds me of what happened in Toy Story 2. Main character is impressed by new surroundings but then is like, "Wait what no, I can't stay here," before being forced to anyways

- Ok I'll give the bouncing SOME slack. I can somewhat tolerate it in the songs, but in general scenes it's just off putting and distracting
-I hate to be the naysayer but James referencing 'Down the Mine' and 'Thomas comes to Breakfast' comes off as forced fanservice rather than natural dialogue to me
Again, please, if you hate me for saying that, don't whine about it on Twitter please :/

- Percy's still a wuss? Didn't we have an entire special about him becoming brave? Between him chickening out of a shunting race and being afraid to go to the mainland, 'Tale of the Brave' is just redundant. And that's one of JBS's main problems, there's no continuity.

+ I love Frankie and Hurricane's form of blackmail, that was pretty good.
-Only problem is there's no long term reason for it. We never get a reason for WHY they want/need to hold Thomas as a working prisoner. Is the Steelworks in danger of closure or something? No? There's no motive for why these bad guys are being bad guys. 

+ "I think he may be my favourite new engine" Dam, how long have they been doing this? I like that line, too bad it's the only bit of depth we get to their plans
+ TFC's genuine concern for Thomas
- Cars full of TWEEZERS in Vicarstown? Is that you Miller?
+That random porter getting TFC tea.
+ Arc was trying to pull off James' old cross face, and it works, subtle fanservice is better than blatent fanservice

+ I like Franke and Hurricane's 'good cop/bad cop' dynamic. Frankie's a devious bitch while Hurricane's a genuinely nice guy to Thomas.

- I don't mind the song but isn't it a bit extreme when Thomas has only been there one day? I dunno
+ I like when the song gets more upbeat and Thomas is more cross than sad now
-So wait, Thomas has a crew in this? So they can switch the points for him to run out of the Steelworks....but they can't, phone for help, or open the main gates? They're just his silent, ''points switching'' hands? What's the point in having them then? :/
+ I like though how the supposed escape route was really an unfinished abandoned track

- I honestly hate James' reason for going to find Thomas. I was hoping we'd get some callback to 'TAB' where James'd go, "Thomas has always done everything he can to help me, I can't call myself his friend if I don't do the same," Again, I thought it was normal to expect a bit of continuity and/or character development from these writers

+ Thomas's breaking out of the Steelworks. I just loved this scene
+ Favourite scene from the special
+ Heck i wish THIS with a longer chase scene was the climax of the movie
+ Another plus because this is the ONLY scene in the entire special where there is MOTIVE, and CONSEQUENCES. Motive: Thomas wanting to break out, he wants to go home. Consequences: if he didn't break out or got caught again, he'd be dragged back and trapped in the Steelworks forever. The stakes are high, you understand the motives, you feel yourself rooting for Thomas to suceed. (Compared to waaaayyy earlier when there's no motive for him stealing James' train just to be the favourite engine)

-As much as I like this scene, Thomas getting his driver to change the points killed the momentum. Seriously, his crew could easily have called for help or opened the gates earlier, and yet their only means of existence is to change points? Why have them at all then? Besides, literally just earlier, Thomas didn't need them to switch points when his line of  barrier breaking flatbeds went one way and he went the other way.
-Besides, if Thomas has a crew, therefore Hurricane and Frankie have crews too. No matter what, there was nothing stopping them from going down the same line as Thomas aside from their own choice not to
-I think a nice in between would have been a signalman changing the points. Might be complaining but as Unluckytug's said before, you can't have complete railway realism in a special like this (He said this regarding a scene in 'Lost Treasure')

-How did Hurricane not see Thomas? His lamp was still on
+ I'm suprised, I didn't think we'd actually see Bridlington goods yard. Or the Great Railway show diesels again for that matter
- Oh no, not Lexi and Theo again. They've actually been so pointless that I legit forgot about them completly until this scene
- "I probably should be scrapped." Dam, between this and "Break me, take me all apart" from last year, Thomas clearly seems to have a few suicidal thoughts in him...

-This whole 'We can't do anything' song. Ugh...
- I'd be ok if this was some wacky Cars spinoff (mainly because i wouldnt watch it lol) but I'm so, baffled/dismayed that such a zany sequence is in a Thomas special. Yes I'm not forgetting all the other weird stuff that's happened in Thomas, this is just taking it to a new level

-This scene again was just pointless. In short, Thomas asks for directions and they don't know. Again
-Bereford again
+ Dammit but his voice acting is really good
- Thomas's crew jumps clear yet Thomas can still move his wheels afterward. So why does he have a crew again?
- Sorta feels like Bereford should've been a season new character, not one pointlessly slapped into a special, especially since he adds f**k all to this

-How are James and the bad guys coming from that direction? Thomas was going in the opposite direction of them, not going towards them
-Also how the heck is Bereford holding Thomas up by his cab roof

+ Again, lol how many times have Frankie and Hurricane done this? Faked interest in naive engine, song, then forced labour haha
+ James's confrontation. "But I think you already know that...etc etc"
+ The only time James shows genuine concern for Thomas, where was that earlier

-I'm just gonna say this here: i hate how engines just go offscreen and then magically turn around and/or magically reappear in a different place. This happens so many times so I'm just gonna mention it once

-Back to the pointless, barely any character experimentals. Takes until the last ten minutes of the special for the story to do SOMETHING with them
-Speaking of minutes, for a special with an extra ten minutes compared to the others, it really does suck at making use of it
-Cartoony-ness of characters peering out over a bush

-Lexi keeps pissing me off, Theo is barely doing anything to be worthwhile and Merlin's just here because Hugh whathisname randomly wanted a special guest star. Experimentals in a nutshell for me

+ I like how Thomas immediatly loses trust in Merlin after he pretends to go invisible. If it were me I'd too be thinking "Yeah this guy will f**k this plan up if i let him do something."

-Lexi's the bounciest character in this whole special. Another reason why i don't like her
-How did Frankie and Hurricane not see Thomas before he snuck in?

-Theo has somehow turned around_ wait as I said this happens way too much
- I dunno who ruined the plan. Merlin for sneaking in, or Theo for blowing his cover.

Then again it could be an autistic trait, I'm not sure, don't hate me if i'm wrong

+Nice, the Steelworks chase scene is beginning
-Though the bad guys don't have any real reason to trap James. Again, why are they trying to trap him anyways? It's not like THEY'VE any consequences if James and Thomas escape (again, imagine how much better it would be if the steelworks was in danger of closure or something, therefore the baddies have a reason to kidnap engines, to basically retain their jobs)

-How did Hurricane shove three flatbeds on three different tracks at the same time?
-Awww what. Thomas and Theo accidently shove the trucks off the rails and THAT'S what activates the magnet to lift Thomas up? I was hoping it was gonna be Hurricane and/or Frankie intentionally trying to kill him

Two years ago we had Sir John Hurt attempt to throw a stick of dynamite at Thomas purely because he was chasing him. You can't say Hurricane&Frankie trying to kill Thomas is an unreasonable thought :L

+ I like this bit though, "James sucessfully escapes but oh no, now Thomas is in danger"
- So instead of the bad guys trying to drop Thomas into the molten slag, we get Theo ACCIDENTLY dropping him in. Lame :/
- And some random bucket saves him? I'm not mad at the fact that it saved him its just, that bucket comes out of nowhere. Who activated it? Who saved Thomas? 
-Now would have been a great time to have shown Thomas's crew inside a control box or something 
-Thomas makes it down to the ground without any damage
-He also spins his wheels frantically despite his crew having jumped out earlier
- Also why is he so, light? He gets hit by the random bucket and bounces to the ground like he has as much weight as a ping pong ball
-I question this again when Hurricane shoves Thomas forward, causing him to SLIDE along in a 360 degree spin
-Hurricane's wheels melting was a cool scene but it's a pretty lame climax ending 

-Frankie crying. Shut the f**k up Frankie, you never had a reason to want or need help anyways (See what i mean about the closure threat idea??)

-"There's too much work for the two of us." Doesn't look like it, you two seemed to manage pretty fine before. Heck each time while they had Thomas and James as their slaves they just sat around doing nothing.
-Wait was that their reason to enslave engines? Laziness? Lame
-Bad guys have no consequences for their wrongness and get exactly what they want. Imagine if Sailor John got to keep the treasure just for saying "I'm sorry."

-That's a pretty lame closure to the new characters. With 70 minutes I thought surely we'd get a scene of everyone saying goodbye before Thomas and James set off
-Random apology from James comes out of nowhere

-I liked TGR's ending song way better. Fight me :L
+It takes the whole special for Henry to get repaired. Nice

-Bouncing's annoying me. *sigh* so this is gonna be a thing in Thomas now right? :/
-Wonder how their pointless crews keep their balance in the cabs now
-Gordon goes from looking annoyed to instantly happy. Kinda like when i get my GF food when she's pissed off at me

+ "What did I miss?" Basically me when i got back home


So there's my overview of JBS. Ignoring the bouncing and overall Disney-esque feel to it, it's not terrible, but with bad pacing, lack of continuity and motive and near to pointless characters, it fails more than it succeeds for me. 

I've now watched it twice, and I don't think I'll ever go back to it again. Maybe I'll rewatch Thomas breaking out of the Steelworks again someday, but aside from that one scene, I dunno :/

I think an important part of a Thomas special is its replay value. Great Discovery, Blue Mountain Mystery, Lost Treasure and Adventure Begins, those are specials that I happily often go back to watch a few scenes from, maybe even the whole thing sometimes. 'Journey Beyond Sodor' isn't joining that category for me. 

What do you think of my thoughts anyways? If you disagree, please let's chat in the comments :)

Overall, I can see 'Journey Beyond Sodor' succeeded for some, and I'm happy for you guys, I don't want to ruin it for you. But its just not for me.
Add a Comment:
 
:iconthe-arc-minister:
The-ARC-Minister Featured By Owner Aug 31, 2017
I agree with you on almost every point. Great review of a mediocre special. 7/10
Reply
:iconinvisiblemario17:
invisiblemario17 Featured By Owner Aug 17, 2017
>inb4 someone complains on twitter about what you said anyway (and without directly mentioning you too)
______
In all seriousness, I disagree with a lot of the statements about the bouncing, newbies, and songs. (Mainly the bouncing/newbies being annoying and/or distracting, and the feelings about the songs)
However it mostly boils down to "muh onion lol." (Tho I *do* agree with Frankie being annoying at the ending xd.)
______
[On a sidenote: I, like a mad man, calculated the score based on the +/- system you had going (for the lulz,) and it's -56.]
Reply
:iconrichardblue1963:
Richardblue1963 Featured By Owner Aug 17, 2017
I liked JBS, its no where near TAB or SLOTLT's level but its not the worst thing.
All the new characters were great, although Beresford felt sort of pointless.
I feel like JBS was rewritten or something, because there are so many opportunity's yet they never use them.
But, lets hope Season 21 makes up for what JBS lacked. 
Reply
:iconthomasandstanley:
ThomasandStanley Featured By Owner Aug 17, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
"Red Rosie out of nowhere. Not a sin because I like it but....why is there no explanation for this sudden transformation?" - the writers have a bad habit of changing things and not explaining why. Henrietta's face is another notable example.

"
-I thought James wanted a branch line (thinking back to his lines in TAB). Why's he so pissed off about running Thomas' branch?" - better yet, doesn't James doesn't want to do important jobs? The fact he, and Thomas, complains about being there completely devalues the importance of them.

"
- "That's not what my friend James says! etc etc" Thomas these guys don't have any idea what you're talking about" - also, Thomas supposedly has animosity towards him. Is he only saying they're friends now he's got what he wanted?

"
-I hate to be the naysayer but James referencing 'Down the Mine' and 'Thomas comes to Breakfast' comes off as forced fanservice rather than natural dialogue to me" - yep. A lot of this special is incredibly confused. It wants to add continuity but only at really random moments. They want to be grounded and include engine crews, but bouncing and Beresford grabbing Thomas the way he did.

"- Cars full of TWEEZERS in Vicarstown? Is that you Miller?" - could possibly be a joke at her expense. Why they're still doing this after 5 years, I don't know.

"
-I liked TGR's ending song way better. " - same. It had a better feeling of closure and just had a better beat and lyrics to it.

I think my opinion has, overall, changed on the special reading this. While I still love Theo and Lexi doesn't annoy me that much... yeah, they don't add much until the last 10 minutes. James and Thomas' conflict seems to just... end after an apology and song, Who's Thomas, while a fairly fun song, is three minutes of padding (seriously, how did Thomas not think there were points leading to the track under Beresford?) and many aspects feel incredibly confused.

But I do love Theo, Frankie and Hurricane, the story definitely had spots of brilliance (especially at the steelworks and Bridlington goods yard) and the last line from Henry was rather funny.
Reply
:iconzephyr4501:
Zephyr4501 Featured By Owner Edited Aug 17, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I completely understand your thoughts, and I wholeheartedly respect them. :nod:

The only things I would slightly disagree on, are the inclusions of the Experimentals, and Frankie and Hurricane's reason to trap James. I suppose the inclusions of the Experimental Engines was put in to give Thomas a boost in confidence, considering that after he busts out of the Steelworks, he feels completely useless. Lexi, Theo, and Merlin, as far as I can see, are there to give two morals: 1) Whenever you have a lack of confidence, there's almost always gonna be someone who's got it worse than you. 2) To show that almost anywhere you go, you can make friends. Though... That could've been expanded on much more. 

And on the subject of Frankie and Hurricane wanting to trap James and Thomas, I think the reason is because even though they can manage it fairly well, they're just barely hanging on. I know it's not exactly realistic, but... At least in real life, the work on a steelworks railways is more than enough for more than two engines. Most steelworks have a fleet of at least 20, usually more, engines, but then again, I suppose it really depends on the size of the complex. It's understandable that Frankie and Hurricane would want a rest, or maybe a few extra sets of buffers, considering that it's really hot and tiring work, especially for just two engines. Considering that the steelworks in the movie is fairly small, you'd think they could manage with around 4 or 5 engines, which adding the Experimental Engines counts up to.

Though, that's just my opinion. :shrug: I completely understand why you wouldn't exactly like the film, and will always respect that. I suppose I was just able to ignore the not-so-enjoyable parts, like the bouncing for instance, and just enjoy the movie for what it is.
Reply
:icontesla51:
Tesla51 Featured By Owner Aug 17, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
Yeah, its pretty bad. I personally hope the bouncing is kept to the specials (or this special entirely) and the engines created for this special vanish from memory, like Billy and Hank. Ignoring all the pointless bouncing and the weird plot lines there were at least a few good scenes to enjoy while watching this film while everything else was badly made. Another film that had some potential but they screwed up. TGR was slightly better than this cause at least some of the songs weren't too bad and I can recall em with fondness, none of these songs got me at all.
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