My son just loves Thomas & Friends. He collects the trains and has watched a number of the original series. This was our first foray into the newer Thomas adventures, and I thought it was well done and kept much of the original flavor and ideals.
Animation (versus the original's use of real-life models) has both pluses and minuses. On the plus is the allowance for greater flexibility in camera shots, more animation of the figures themselves and a wider allowance for possible story lines. On the negative, there will always be something magical about real-world objects when done as well as the original series was.
As for this particular outing, it involves a mysterious island, colorful new characters and adventure as always. The narration is well done, as are the character voices (one major difference with the originals, which are all voiced by the same narrator). The scariest moment being a near "deadly" plunge off the train tracks to the cliffs below.
Nothing too frightening, good values (usefulness, obedience, friendship, etc) and charming visuals should appeal to younger children. It's also nice to have storytelling without frenetic action... a good choice for parents.
Thomas explores the island and soon finds it to be inhabited by the "Logging Locos", consisting of Ferdinand and two small twins, Bash and Dash, who were sent to the island after causing trouble on the mainland. As Thomas continues exploring the island, meanwhile, back on Sodor, Sir Topham Hatt receives a call telling him Thomas is missing, prompting him, Harold and Captain send out a search party to find him.
In closing, I return to the painting by Turner. In a very real sense, those persons stranded on the vessel which had run aground in the storm-tossed sea are like many young men—and older men as well—who await rescue by those of us who have the priesthood responsibility to man the lifeboats. Their hearts yearn for help. Mothers and fathers pray for their sons. Wives and children plead to heaven that Daddy and others may be reached.
The mission needed only one more thing: the final go-ahead from the president, authorizing the rescuers to execute. In one ready room, the radio crackled to life. Instead of delivering the expected verbal green light, though, the voice on the radio gave other news: