Thomas & Friends-Thomas and the Jet Engine (1998)

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Released 27-May-2003

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Family Menu Animation & Audio
Scene Selection Anim & Audio
Karaoke-Thomas We Love You; Don't Judge A Book By Its Cover
Karaoke-Rockin' On The Railway
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 1998
Running Time 50:50
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By David Mitton
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Michael Angelis
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $29.95 Music Mike O'Donnell
Junior Campbell


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.56:1
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio Unknown Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    I'm a bit too chronologically challenged to have grown up with Thomas The Tank Engine, but some of my younger siblings did - I recall reading to them the vast collection of books written by Reverend W. Awdry and occasionally watching the original series narrated by Ringo Starr, which was a great novelty at the time. The collection of episodes presented here are much more recent and have a different narrator - Michael Angelis - whose voice  has a remarkable likeness to Ringo, but lacks some of the subtle nuances that made Ringo such an enjoyable vocal presence.

    There are nine episodes on this disc, each running for just over five minutes. Most of the old familiar characters from the island of Sodor are here; Henry, Gordon, Percy and the Fat Controller - and some new faces are introduced, including Jack the Digger-loader and Elizabeth the Vintage Lorry. Each episode has a moral or theme that intends to teach children the value of friendship - sometimes in a not-so-subtle way, but entertaining all the same. These episodes are playable separately or all together in one fifty minute block.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    This is a generally good video transfer, with very few problems to be concerned about.

    The transfer is framed at 1.56:1 and is not 16x9 enhanced. It appears that the same video source as the VHS release has been used for this DVD transfer. I would not be surprised if the director's intended ratio is 1.78:1.

    The picture is pleasantly sharp and very easy on the eyes. Black levels appeared bold and true and there were no instances of low level noise.

    Colours were bright and managed to maintain the attention of my youngest gremlin for a surprisingly long time. There were no signs of bleeding or oversaturation.

    I didn't notice any signs of over-compression, which surprised me a little. Aliasing was quite well controlled considering the sharpness inherent in the transfer. Although there were a few minor examples present, they are hardly worth mentioning.

    English hard of hearing subtitles were activated by default on my player. After watching them for a few minutes, I had to turn them off manually. Both of the English subtitle tracks appeared to be true to the spoken word and were paced accurately with the action on screen.

    Given its short runtime, this disc is single layered.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
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Film Artefacts
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Audio

    I found the audio transfer unremarkable to say the least.

    There is only one audio track present on this disc; English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s).

    Both the narration and the character voices were very easy to understand at all times. None of the characters have moving lips, so sync wasn't an issue at all.

    Besides the very recognisable theme song to the series, the musical interludes were limited to segue pieces, aiding the flow of the story and signalling when the story was moving along.

    Although I did attempt to engage Pro Logic decoding, there were no examples of surround activity or subwoofer response. There was a little bit of panning evident in the stereo soundfield, but that's it.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Menu

    All menus are simply animated with characters from the series, including the scene selection menu. There is no 16x9 enhancement.

Sing Along Songs (9:56)

    These three daft songs are playable separately or via a play all function, including: Thomas We Love You, Don't Judge A Book By Its Cover and Rocking On The Railway - all of which reiterate the basic morals from Thomas' adventures. Kids can sing along by following the bouncing steam cloud above the lyrics (I presume it is a steam cloud - otherwise Thomas needs to change his diet). Parents beware: these songs were already driving me insane after two viewings.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    This compilation of episodes appears to be exclusive to Region 4. The Region 1 version of this series is narrated by Alec Baldwin, because we know Americans have such a hard time with foreign accents. There is a Region 1 DVD compilation of six episodes, including the Percy's Chocolate Crunch story, and it has the following extras:

    I would definitely rate our nine episode compilation over the Region 1, for the length of our program and the absence of an American voice-over on our version of the series.

Summary

    Although it's light on in the extras department, this is a disc that is sure to keep the little-uns occupied for the best part of an hour. The stories are brief and entertaining, the audio is passable and the video transfer is adequate. This is worth a purchase if your child is seriously into Thomas The Tank Engine.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Rob Giles (readen de bio, bork, bork, bork.)
Monday, September 22, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-525, using Component output
DisplayPanasonic TX76PW10A 76cm Widescreen 100Hz. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVR-2802 Dolby EX/DTS ES Discrete
SpeakersOrpheus Aurora lll Mains (bi-wired), Rears, Centre Rear. Orpheus Centaurus .5 Front Centre. Mirage 10 inch sub.

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...about time - AXE