While the film is bold and colourful with several catchy songs, Big World! Big Adventures tries to cram too many ideas in.
Taking Thomas on his biggest adventure yet, Big World! Big Adventures! is certainly ambitious but still contains many elements that children will love.
After meeting Ace the race car (Peter Andre), Thomas (John Hasler) soon finds himself exploring several continents, making new friends and learning more about the world and the value of a good friend.
There is certainly plenty of adventure and colour along the way, with Director David Stoten ensuring that the charm of Thomas and his friends isn’t lost, by breaking up the action with some very cute songs such as ‘Wake Up’ (which got some children up and dancing at the screening I was at) and ‘Free and Easy’ – that reflects the continent that Thomas is visiting.
However, despite this the length of the film (80 minutes) is a tad too long to maintain the interest of the younger viewer and can feel a little bit repetitive as Thomas continues on his journey – with the most exciting section taking place in China up in the mountains leading to a daring rescue. The film consistently switches between Thomas and the Fat Controller’s perspectives – offering no really variety to maintain the interest.
Another slight issue is how the film tries to be fun but educational. This is fine if you are taking your five year old along, but for those who are younger it can make it difficult for them to concentrate – particularly during the longer moments of conversation throughout. It needs a tad more action about it.
But there is still fun to be had thanks to some nice and newly created characters such as Nia (Yvonne Grundy), a tank engine from Kenya who helps Thomas to try and keep up with the mischievous Ace as he races from rally to rally.
The film also succeeds in being heartwarming and gentle entertainment, highlighting familiar topics as the importance of good friendship and accepting people of all different cultures – but never comes across as too preachy.
Overall, Thomas & Friends: Big World! Big Adventures! is enjoyable to watch but could use a bit of trimming to make it sharper and easier going for younger viewers and to put more emphasis on the music and fun elements of the film.
Thomas & Friends: Big World! Big Adventures! is out in cinemas across the UK from the 20th July.