31 October 2012

No more Thomas and Friends here!?!

It was a beautiful day on the Island of Sodor...

For the sake of separation, prompted by the complaints of my dear friend and fellow Orthodox Christian blogger, Juvenaly Joseph Michael Martinka, I will be moving all past, present, and future scathing reviews of the English Children's TV series and movie series, "Thomas and Friends" to a blog specifically for that located at http://steamiesvsdiesels.blogspot.com/. I hope you will visit it and enjoy the controversy that it will be sure to create.

Travel with me to the Island of Sodor, a land of racist steam engines who hate the far-superior diesel engines...

15 October 2012

Thomas the Tank Engine and His Racist Friends, "The Steam Team" Part Four: Misty Island Rescue

UPDATE: This post has been completely rewritten, expanded upon, and updated thoroughly HERE. I highly recommend you read that post instead of this one.

Another movie review, again with looking at the views of "Steamies" vs. Diesels. But why do I like the diesels? Maybe because I grew up in a railroad family where all the trains were diesels.

Trains like the Burlington Northern 6481 were on calendars, shirts, etc. that my father brought home from work.

I have respect for steam engines, and they are definitely the prototypical look people think of with trains, but diesels are important for commerce and an advance in technology that should be respected too.

Once again the review comes from the Sodor Island Fan Site and is tweaked to be from the view of the diesels.

You can find Part One at https://orthodoxscouter.blogspot.com/2012/09/thomas-tank-engine-and-his-racist.html

Part Two is at https://orthodoxscouter.blogspot.com/2012/09/thomas-tank-engine-and-his-racist_28.html

Part Three is at https://orthodoxscouter.blogspot.com/2012/10/thomas-tank-engine-and-his-racist.html

The Sodor Search & Rescue Center is under construction – ready to be the new home to Harold the Helicopter, Rocky the Crane and Captain the Lifeboat. The Fat Controller is especially proud of the new building and tells Thomas and the others that it will be made out of the finest wood of all – ‘Jobi Wood’, which is being brought in from Hiro’s home island. Thomas and Percy are mesmerized by the beauty of the wood as it waits to be unloaded at the Docks.

As Cranky is unloading the Jobi Wood at Brendam Docks, Hiro explains why the wood is so special – being so strong that no wind can blow it down, and being so rare that it only exists on one or two islands throughout the world. Therefore, it becomes an extra special honor to pull it to the Rescue Center at the end of the day for the most useful engine.

All of the engines want the honor of pulling the Jobi logs, even Diesel. But racist Thomas isn't convinced that Sir Topham Hatt would want Diesel to pull the Jobi logs – he’s far more convinced it will be a ‘Really Useful Steam Engine’ who will do the job. This upsets Diesel – he knows that he and the other Diesels are just as useful as the Steam Engines, and in an attempt to prove Thomas wrong, he decides to shunt the Jobi logs to the Rescue Center himself, thinking it will make Sir Topham Hatt proud of him...

Diesel is determined to show Thomas and the other engines that Diesels are just as good as steam engines... but none of them know anything of his plans. Thomas is shocked when he spots Diesel pushing the logs when he’s shunting in the Goods Yard. Diesel is going faster than a Steamie as he passes through. Thomas calls to Diesel to stop, but Diesel refuses and keeps on going. Thomas becomes concerned – something could happen to the Jobi logs if Diesel were to crash, and so Thomas decides to chase after Diesel and steal the logs.

This leads to a daring chase as Thomas tries to get Diesel to stop. But Diesel isn't interested in stopping for racist Thomas – whole will steal his really special Special, and goes even faster down the line to avoid Thomas catching up to him again. Thomas makes a vain attempt to overtake, but Diesel shoots through the junction just before the signal changes and Thomas has to stop. But with effort and determination, Thomas catches up to Diesel – who is still determined to get to the Search & Rescue Center with the Jobi logs on his own... and completely unaware of the danger that lies ahead of him because of Thomas' chasing him!

The route ahead is still unfinished, and Diesel is still going too fast when he realizes what could happen when he sees the giant gap between the two sides of the bridge over the sea. Despite his best efforts to pull them back, one by one, in very quick succession, the trucks of Jobi Wood fall from the bridge and into the waves and the sea below, leaving Diesel himself teetering on the edge of disaster and desperately trying to claw his way back to safety. Luckily, Thomas, after thinking what he should do, decides to save Diesel, and the two are quickly coupled together. Thomas gives a mighty effort, and hauls Diesel back from the abyss, saving him from certain doom. Diesel is grateful, but very embarrassed at what has happened.

Later, Sir Topham Hatt and the other engines congratulate Thomas for saving Diesel and making a good decision to act when he did. However, the Search & Rescue Center will be delayed until new Jobi Wood can be found to replace the logs that were lost due to Thomas chasing Diesel. But as a special reward for his heroism, Sir Topham Hatt tells Thomas he will be sent to the Search & Rescue Center on the Mainland the following day.

While the engines are waiting, Salty tells them the story of Misty Island. This is a strange and mysterious place that lies just off the coast of Brendam Bay, but is very rarely visible as it is always blanketed in mist. The island is home to some very strange engines, who huff and puff in very strange ways... but no-one has ever seen them. Salty then goes on to tell the engines of an engine who was lost on Misty Island, and used ‘smoke signals’ to alert help – being saved as the mist lifted over the island. Thomas and Percy agree that this would be a useful way of being found if they ever found themselves in trouble.

After Diesel says thank you again, and wishes Thomas "Bon Voyage", Thomas is approached by a Dock Manager who tells him he won’t be able to fit onto the ship. Spencer is already in the cargo-hold and taking up room. Thomas then spots a raft chained to the rear of the ship and asks to be placed there instead. Unsure, the Dock Manager tells Thomas that the chains holding the raft to the ship are rusty, but after Thomas insists, he reluctantly agrees and Cranky places Thomas onto the raft instead. Percy is equally unsure, but Thomas is confident there will be no trouble. Thomas is very proud of his decision.

But out at sea, the chain to the ship snaps and Thomas is set adrift. Whistling for help does no good, the ship just sails on, unaware that it has lost any of its cargo, whilst Thomas and his crew are left far behind and floating aimlessly through the water until morning breaks.

Thomas is woken with a jolt as he hits land and puffs onto a set of rails. Thomas knows it cannot be Sodor, and he has a strange feeling it is not the Mainland either... he’s convinced that he has landed on the strange and mysterious Misty Island. He puffs along to try and find a means of getting off the strange island, but as he does so, he hears strange noises and sees strange things happen, which begin to frighten him and make him all the more determined to leave.

As he shoots off up the line, he finds himself having to stop suddenly as he comes face to face with three of the strangest looking engines he has ever seen. The engines introduce themselves as Bash, Dash and Ferdinand – the Logging Locos of Misty Island. The strange noises and peculiar happenings that Thomas had experienced were simply the three engines trying to play games with him, but he hadn't played back. But Thomas wasn't interested in playing their games, and is fully intent upon returning to the Island of Sodor – without any further delay, leaving the Logging Locos on their own.

At first, Thomas feels very pleased with his decision, and feels confident in himself. But without the help of the Logging Locos, Thomas finds himself wandering aimlessly around Misty Island, with no means of getting home. Growing weary, he decides to stop and rest for the night.

It’s now that Sir Topham Hatt receives word that Thomas did not arrive on the Mainland as planned, and begins plans to mount a rescue operation to find him at once. He sends Harold out to sea with a bird’s eye view, and takes Captain out himself to search for Thomas.

When morning comes, Thomas realizes that he needs the help of the Logging Locos to get home, and chuffs off to find them. He follows the path of the river, and eventually, he finds himself at Bash, Dash and Ferdinand’s Logging Station, where the three engines are hard at work. None of them are too happy to see Thomas after the way he behaved the day before, and although they can see he is remorseful, they’re not keen to help him find his way back home to Sodor.

In a bid to win them over, Thomas hurries after them, and finds that the logs they’re loading are in fact the special Jobi logs that they need to build the Search and Rescue Center. Once he’s explained what it is, he gets the Logging Locos on side and they all begin working together to shunt the Jobi Logs, with Thomas encouraging them to work ‘more quickly’. Sadly for Thomas, the Logging Locos don’t take him seriously...

Meanwhile back on Sodor, Sir Topham Hatt has reached the conclusion that Thomas is not at sea, and so moves his search back to land, enlisting all of his engines to search the island for their friend, and sends Gordon to work with Whiff to help with the rescue effort.

The Logging Locos don’t like having to bustle about quite as much under Thomas’s new regime. They know they’ll run out of oil if they keep working so hard. Thomas is puzzled – he thinks only Diesels run on oil – but Bash and Dash explain that they run on oil and wood for fuel instead of coal (there is less chance of sparks which could set the wood alight this way), and they don’t have much oil left to keep going. But Thomas is adamant that they must keep going – and is convinced he is continuing to make the right decisions.

Next, the Logging Locos take Thomas to fetch logs from the other side of the river – where they have to cross the ‘Shake Shake Bridge’, which is very wobbly, rickety and very unsafe... Thomas is unsure whether or not he should, and orders the Logging Locos not to use it again. They, however, don’t care what Thomas thinks – they have the logs at the other side and he’s stuck on his own. Thomas resolves in the end to cross the bridge after being teased into it by Bash and Dash, and makes it to the other side safely, despite a shaky journey...

The next day, they show Thomas the Log Loader, ‘Ol’ Wheezy’. This is something else that gives Thomas cause for concern, given Ol’ Wheezy’s erratic behaviour, throwing the logs around instead of loading them properly. The Logging Locos think this is funny, but Thomas knows it’s not really useful, and orders them not to keep using Ol’ Wheezy after he throws Thomas’s flatbed of logs into the river and sends them flying all over the place, bashing Thomas’s boiler as they fly everywhere. Luckily for him, he backs away in time before Ol’ Wheezy sends him the same way as his flatbed!

Soon, Thomas finds an alternative – ‘Hee Haw’. Dash explains ‘Hee Haw’ is another Log Loader Machine, which the Logging Locos don’t use as it uses up too much oil. But Thomas is adamant they will use it, and they pour the last of the oil into ‘Hee Haw’ and set him to work loading the logs more efficiently than Ol’ Wheezy did before.

In no time at all, Thomas and the Logging Locos have the Jobi Logs loaded and ready to go back to Sodor – but they must find a way there first. Bash suggests waiting for a boat, but Dash comes up with the most surprising suggestion of all – using the Misty Island / Sodor Tunnel! Thomas is surprised to hear of it, but the Logging Locos explain they don’t use it because it’s dangerous. Back on Sodor, Whiff had explained to the Fat Controller previously that they used to dump rubbish down there before it was blocked off for safety reasons. But Thomas ignores the advice of the Logging Locos and urges them to follow him into the Tunnel in order for him to get the logs home.

But when they get into the tunnel, they find that it is blocked by the rubbish that Whiff has dumped down there long ago. And to make matters worse, the tunnel suffers a cave-in behind them, trapping the four engines completely. Thomas tries to encourage them to follow him in pushing through the rubble and rubbish, but the Logging Locos simply don’t have enough oil to make the effort. All three Logging Locos run out of oil and their lights go out... it’s at this point that Thomas realizes how wrong his decisions have been and how they have affected his three new friends.

It’s only when part of the tunnel roof collapses that it gives Bash and Dash an idea – Thomas has to move forward and blow smoke signals to alert help, just like in Salty’s story. Luckily for Thomas, Cranky, Percy and Salty are at Brendam Docks just as the mist over Misty Island lifts – and Thomas’s smoke signals become visible in the distance. Percy knows what this means right away and hurries off at once to tell Sir Topham Hatt and get help for his friend.

When everything is set, Sir Topham Hatt arranges for a two-tier rescue with Edward, Gordon, James and himself setting sail for Misty Island on the Steam Boat, and Percy and Whiff pushing their way through the tunnel to find Thomas. And despite Sir Topham Hatt's reservations about allowing their expedition, Whiff reassures him that his knowledge of the Misty Island Tunnel will see him and Percy through safely.

Soon, Percy and Whiff find their way through to Thomas and the Logging Locos. Whiff quickly takes charge of the situation, and with a mighty effort, he and Percy bash the wall of rubble down and haul Thomas and the Logging Locos back to the safety of Sodor, where they are greeted by Emily, Toby and Henry when they finally emerge from the Misty Island Tunnel.

But there’s a problem, Sir Topham Hatt, Gordon, James, and Edward are now lost on Misty Island – the mists have come down, the Steam Boat has come back and Harold cannot find them. But Thomas can. He hurries straight to the Docks to board the Steam Boat and bring his friends home again – whilst Percy and the other engines take care of the Logging Locos and send them to the Steamworks to be mended, tended and given new coats of paint.

Thomas arrives on Misty Island and after whistling a greeting to his friends, they hear him, and respond to his call. Thomas rushes off to find them in Echo Valley, and the Fat Controller is so pleased to see him that he throws his hat into the air and loses it in the mist and bushes. Thomas is concerned about Sir Topham Hatt's hat, but Sir Topham Hatt himself isn't – “I can always find another hat,” he tells Thomas proudly, “but I will never find another Thomas.”

With the fresh supply of Jobi Wood, work on the Search and Rescue Center can continue again. All engines from Sodor and Misty Island work hard together, pulling logs and preparing to make the final push for completion. The Logging Locos feel a deep sense of pride at finally being ‘Really Useful’ at last.

With everyone’s help and effort, the Fat Controller is able to open the Sodor Search and Rescue Center  and thanks all of his engines and their new friends from Misty Island for all their help in getting things ready. The Misty Island Tunnel is also restored for use, so that Bash, Dash and Ferdinand can come across to Sodor and deliver their Jobi Logs, and allow Sir Topham Hatt's engines to come across to Misty Island and help them at their Logging Station. The day had been a very special day made possible by very special engines...

Up above, Diesel 10 plots a way to get back at Thomas and Friends (including Sir Topham Hatt) for their racist attitude's to the Diesels, who live in a broken down slum, called the Dieselworks.

03 October 2012

Thomas the Tank Engine and His Racist Friends, "The Steam Team" Part Three: Steamies vs. Diesels

So from my previous blog posts [PART ONE] [PART TWO] you may have gotten the idea that I do not like Thomas and Friends. But actually I do. I have no problem criticizing something I like. I actually never liked Thomas the Tank Engine growing up or when my now almost 20 year old daughter was growing up either, but as a father, I get in to whatever my children are in to. You can ask my daughter, there was no father who ever knew so much about Sailor Moon and the Sailor Scouts or the Various Little House on the Prairie Series(Yes, there were many, going over multiple generations!). But even with that, she had different avorite characters than I, and the same is true with my son.

My son loves Thomas, Percy, Toby, and Diesel 10 the most. Me, I like Diesel, Hiro, Spencer, and Mavis the best. Maybe that is why I noticed the anti-diesel "racism" of the Steam Team. But besides that, I like the series because each character is very different and has flaws that they have to overcome to get the job done. Plus the catchy songs teach children valuable virtues, like patience. The Reverend Priest Wilbert Awdry should be proud of what came from his bedtime stories to his son, Christopher.

This series is concluded in Part Four. After that, this whole topic is spun out unto its own blog at STEAMIES VS. DIESELS, which you can find at http://steamiesvsdiesels.blogspot.com/.

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