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Western Animation / Journey Beyond Sodor

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Journey Beyond Sodor is the 2017 Thomas & Friends special.

Determined to prove his importance on Sodor, Thomas takes James' trucks and sets off on a big adventure to the Mainland. On the way he makes friends with the cheerful and helpful "Experimental Engines" but, after a wrong turn, finds himself lost in the steelworks. There, Thomas encounters two mysterious engines who instantly make him feel welcome but who aren’t what they first seem... After Thomas fails to return, James sets off to the mainland but runs into trouble himself and it is up to Thomas and the Experimental Engines to save the day.

Journey Beyond Sodor contains examples of:

  • Actually Quite Catchy: James constantly annoys Thomas by boasting through his "I Am Great!" Song that "Somebody Has To Be The Favourite". To only infuriate him further, despite the song's shamelessly egomaniacal context, its jaunty cheerful tone means pretty much no one else can resist merrily dancing along to it.
  • An Aesop: It doesn’t matter if either one of you is the best; what’s most important is your friendship and how much you care about each other.
  • Animation Bump: The animation has become much more fluid, featuring even better camera angles and more expressive faces on the engines. In addition, the engines tend to sway their frames around and appear to bounce to the beat during the musical numbers.
  • Animated Musical: Just like the previous movie.
  • Catchphrase: "Invisibility...on!" for Merlin.
  • Compressed Vice: James has, for seemingly no reason, started insisting that he is the Fat Controller's favorite engine. Thomas tells him he's wrong and this kicks off their rivalry that jumpstarts the plot.
  • Continuity Nod: This is the second time Henry crashes into a brake van.
  • Crowded-Cast Shot: "I Want To Go Home" includes a shot where Thomas thinks about most of his friends, including nearly every standard-gauge engine.
  • Disney Acid Sequence: A few of these occur during "We Can't Do Anything".
  • Distressed Dude: Thomas becomes this midway through the film, when Frankie and Hurricane force him to work for them at the Steelworks after helping him. After he escapes, James takes his place in the climax.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: While the series already has some subtle allegories to slavery, this film hits the nail on the head in a very dark way with the Steelworks engines, who sweet talk engines their way and then force them against their will to work for them.
  • Ear Worm: "Somebody Has To Be The Favourite" is a predictably self indulgent tune courtesy of James, but is so jaunty and cheerful that pretty much no one, passengers or workman can resist bouncing and dancing around to it, much to Thomas' chagrin.
    • It's such an ear worm, Bertie sings it while trundling along in the next movie!
  • Easily Forgiven: Thomas and James forgive each other for their problems. Frankie and Hurricane are also forgiven for trying to enslave both of them, with the Experimental engines even offering to help with their workload.
  • Exact Words: Hurricane and Frankie weren’t exaggerating when they said the Steelworks was “the hottest place in town” — matter of fact, it’s literally hot.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: Merlin can be barely seen through the bushes as Thomas is hiding.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: A non-lethal example - Hurricane pushes Thomas out of the way of molten metal, and gets stuck in it himself, causing his wheels to melt. Merlin pushes him out of the way before the molten steel can do any further damage to him.
  • Homesickness Hymn: "I Want To Go Home" has Thomas singing about how he misses his friends and home while being held captive at the Steelworks.
  • "I Am" Song: "We Can't Do Anything", sung by Lexi and Theo about why they're run-down and are unable to be useful.
  • Incoming Ham: James ruining Thomas' happy moment to start singing the song he was thinking of.
  • "It" Is Dehumanizing: Frankie refers to Thomas a "little tank engine". When Thomas eventually grows annoyed with it and points out he has a name, she responds by saying the same referral with extra emphasis.
  • It's All About Me: James sings a song about how he's the favorite and when he gets to take a goods train to the mainland.
  • "I Want" Song: Thomas sings "I Want To Go Home" as he suffers work at the Steelworks and wishes to leave.
  • Literal Metaphor: Hurricane and Frankie refer to the Steelworks as the “hottest place in town”, it turns out it’s literally hot.
  • Loophole Abuse: Beresford refuses to let Thomas pass unless he tells Beresford something he's never heard before. Thomas realizes that Beresford's never heard of Thomas himself, and uses that to get Beresford to let him go.
  • Match Cut: During “The Hottest Place in Town”, there’s a scene where the view changes from a diecast model of Thomas to the real deal in the exact same spot.
  • Musical World Hypotheses: Generally the Alternate Universe type, though the opening number appears to be Diegetic. "The Hottest Place In Town" seems to be Diegetic in James' presence.
    • This is actually lampshaded during "The Hottest Place In Town":
    Rails so smooth that you'll be gliding along, and before you know it, you'll be joining us in our song!
  • Patter Song: "Who's Thomas?", as Thomas is blocked by Beresford who demands to learn more about him.
  • Punctuated Pounding: During Thomas' Homesickness Hymn, he slams against the locked gates of the Steelworks in time with the music.
  • Reflective Eyes: When Hurricane introduced himself to Thomas and lets off sparks of fire from his rear end, the sparks reflect into Thomas' eyes for a moment.
  • Tempting Fate: In the beginning, Thomas enjoys the day so much he feels like bursting into song. Then James immediately enters and beats him to it.
  • That Reminds Me of a Song: Thomas says this at the beginning of the movie as he enjoys the beautiful day so much, only to be interrupted by James as he starts singing before him.
  • Triumphant Reprise: "The Most Important Thing is Being Friends" is a reprise of "Somebody Has To Be The Favorite", shown when Thomas and James rekindle their friendship and head back home.
  • Truck Driver's Gear Change:
    • "Somebody Has to Be the Favorite" shifts up one-and-a-half steps then one full step for each new verse.
    • The second part of "I Want To Go Home" modulates up a half step.
    • "The Most Important Thing Is Being Friends" modulates up a half step for the second chorus, then another half step for the final chorus.
  • Two Guys and a Girl: The Experimental Engines consist of Merlin (Male), Theo (Male), and Lexi (Female).
  • Villain Recruitment Song: "The Hottest Place in Town" is one of these, with Frankie and Hurricane making the Steelworks sound like a great place to work while also vaguely referring to its literal hot environment. It even includes the line "And before you know it, you'll be joining us in our song" before Thomas joins in towards the end. The song is less successful later in the film when the pair try to sing it to James, who cuts it short.
  • Visual Pun: Frankie and Hurricane sing "This is the place you can have some fun, where you can feel like a number one" as the camera zooms in on the #1 on Thomas' tanks. Later when Thomas says this, he is filling a #1 with slag.

Henry: What did I miss?


Video Example(s):


Frankie's Breakdown

Frankie breaks down after Hurricane is nearly damaged and admits her treachery.

How well does it match the trope?

3 (5 votes)

Example of:

Main / VillainousBSOD

Media sources: