Sodor's Legend of the Lost Treasure
Sodor's Legend of the Lost Treasure is a movie from the BTSW series, serving as the ninth feature-length special in the franchise.
Thomas is racing on his branch line with Bertie the bus. When Bertie gets stuck behind an excavator on the road, he complains about all of the machines working on the new branch line, which concerns Thomas' coaches Annie and Clarabel. Marion the steam shovel meets Oliver the Great Western engine and his brake van Toad at Arlesdale junction where she sees Mike, Bert, and Rex, the miniature engines for the first time. They are delivering ballast in preparation for the new branch line. The next morning, Thomas causes an accident at Knapford Junction. The Fat Controller sends Thomas to the construction yard to work on the new branch line, while the new engine, Ryan, is given Thomas' job of pulling Annie and Clarabel.
At the building site, part of the land subsides underneath the new track. When Thomas arrives, he does not pay attention to the danger signs and falls into a cavern housing a pirate ship. After being lifted out, the pirate ship is removed and put onto the display at Arlesburgh Harbour. After being repaired, Thomas meets Sailor John and his boat Skiff, which has been fitted with wheels that allow him to move on the rails. Sailor John explains that he is looking for treasure, but is hesitant to give Thomas any details.
As Marion is digging into the side of a cliff in preparation for the rerouted track, she finds a treasure chest full of gold and jewelry. The Fat Controller decides to donate it to a museum. Thomas meets up with Sailor John on his way back to Knapford, who reveals that the treasure Marion had found is the same one he had been looking for, and angrily demands it to be given to him. Thomas says that The Fat Controller has the treasure, and refuses to help Sailor John take it.
That night, Sailor John breaks into the Fat Controller's office and steals the treasure chest, using Skiff as his reluctant getaway. Thomas chases them down the line and sees that Sailor John has rigged Skiff to the pirate ship on wheels, speeding down a hill. The chase goes through Arlesdale Junction where the miniature engines slow down the ship by knocking their ballast trucks over the rails. A loose rope attached to the ship gets stuck on Ryan, derailing it and leaving Sailor John with only Skiff to take him away.
At Arlesburgh Harbour, Thomas tries to knock Skiff off of the rails, but to no avail. They all end up at the rail-boat launch ramp where Sailor John rows skiff out towards the sea, and Thomas ends up partially submerged underwater. With the help of a large wave, Skiff knocks Sailor John and the treasure off of him. The treasure sinks to the bottom of the harbor, and Sailor John is arrested by the police.
When the branch line is finished, the Fat Controller gives Thomas his old job back and lets him cut the ribbon to the new line.
Why It Rocks
- Out of every Thomas the Tank Engine special both before and after this one, this is the one that feels the most cinematic, as if it were originally going to be a theatrically released movie.
- Beautiful animation that is the pinnacle of Arc Production's work on the series. Special mention goes to the water animation, which is so gorgeous and realistic that it can be comparable to Disney's Moana.
- Great voice acting. While the regular cast members are good as usual, special mention goes to the surprising all-star cast, including Jamie Campbell Bower, the late John Hurt, and even Academy Award winning actors like Eddie Redmayne and Olivia Colman.
- Amazing new characters:
- Ryan is a genuinely nice engine, despite the fact that Thomas resents him at first.
- Skiff is a cheerful little guy who also has a tragic side due to him being abused by Sailor John.
- Sailor John is by far the most menacing villain to come out of the franchise, as he is abusive, frightening, greedy, and is not above murdering Thomas.
- Wonderfully composed soundtrack. While the instrumental score is great, the vocal songs deserve praise as well, such as "Never Overlook A Little Engine" and "We Make A Team Together". Even better? They got an actual orchestra to compose the score.
- The movie brings back many characters to full CGI: Donald and Douglas, Daisy, Alfie, Oliver the Excavator, Max and Monty, and even Mike, Bert and Rex the Arlesdale Engines, who, prior to the movie, had only been seen in The Railway Series.
- The film's tone can actually be a little dark at times, especially in the climax where it seems like Sailor John would go as far as to threaten to kill Thomas and Skiff.
- Lends out a great moral that friends are more important than material possessions and not to trust strangers or toxic people.
- The plot line where Marion mixes up the two Olivers (the steam engine and the excavator) is hilarious.
- This, along with The Adventure Begins, is another great way to celebrate 70 years of the franchise in the year of 2015.
- Well-choreographed action scenes.
- Establishes a lot of lore about Sodor.
- Manages to be have some pretty intense moments while not being particularly disturbing.
- Sir Topham Hatt acts kind of unlikable in this movie acts way too harshly on Thomas, though he at least apologized to him and thanked him for getting Sailor John arrested at the end after Sailor John tried to steal the treasure.
- Henry's subplot goes nowhere, except for mainly the funny parts where he thinks Skiff is a sailboat.
- When the special aired on Nick Jr in the US, It was split into three parts and was dumbed down and downgraded. For example, some of the intense parts were censored or cut down due to time constraints.
It was acclaimed by critics and fans for its storytelling, faithfulness to the lore of the franchise, animation, music, and characters. It is often considered to be the best feature-length special that TTTE has ever produced.
- It was originally going to be titled The Great Treasure Hunt, and then Legend of the Lost Treasure.
- A rendition of the original opening theme was considered for the special. However, this idea ultimately did not materialize in the final film.
- The opening pays homage to the original television series-opening, with Thomas passing a windmill, going under a bridge and eventually pulling into Ffarquhar station.
- Ryan was originally going to be a more cocky character, before turning into the nice guy we all know today.
- Strangely enough, this was the last feature-length Thomas & Friends special in which Thomas does not leave Sodor.