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 arent 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:
- An Aesop: It doesnt matter if either one of you is the best; whats 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.
- Bookends: The movie starts and ends on Sodor.
- 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.
- Crowded Cast Shot: One of these is seen in "I Want To Go Home".
- Disney Acid Sequence: A few of these occur during "We Can't Do Anything".
- Exact Words: Hurricane and Frankie werent exaggerating when they said the Steelworks was the hottest place in town matter of fact, its 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.
- "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.
- "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 its 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, theres 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.
Rails so smooth that you'll be gliding along, and before you know it, you'll be joining us in our song!
- This is actually lampshaded during "The Hottest Place In Town":
- Refrain from Assuming: "We Can't Do Anything" is sometimes referred to as "What Can't We Do".
- 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.
- 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.