Australian Council on Children and the Media

Thomas and friends: Tale of the brave

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Short takes

Parental guidance recommended under 6 due to some scary scenes.

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Thomas and friends: Tale of the brave
  • a review of Thomas and friends: Tale of the brave completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 22 July 2014.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 6 Parental guidance recommended due to scenes that might scare young children
Children aged 6 and over OK for this age group

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Thomas and friends: Tale of the brave
Classification: G
Consumer advice lines: None
Length 61 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Thomas and friends: Tale of the brave is a special feature-length instalment from the Thomas the Tank Engine animated series. The film follows Thomas (voice of Martin Sherman), the cheeky but good-hearted tank engine who is working at the Clay Pitts in the land of Sodor. After a storm suddenly arrives and the rain makes the cliffs unstable, a flash of lighting reveals what appears to be giant footprints.  However, a landslide prevents Thomas from exploring the situation further, and he is hurried to safety by his friends Ben and Bill just in time.

Thomas tells his colleague Percy who then becomes convinced that a monster is residing on the island. His fear grows until he is too scared to pull the Mail Train at night. A strange and foreign engine suddenly appears, and Percy begins to believe that the new engine, called Gator, is the monster. However, after much teasing from his friends and getting to know Gator, Percy discovers a wonderful friend and ally.

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Friendship; bravery and courage

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

None of concern

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

Young children may be scared by some scenes in this film, particularly if viewed on a large cinema screen rather than on a television at home

  • There is a landslide in Sodor that endangers both James and Percy – they are both saved, however.
  • Younger children may be concerned by the idea of a monster and, during the night-time scenes, there are moments where objects are made to look like the glowing eyes of potential monsters shining in the dark.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

Younger children in this age group may also be scared by the idea of a monster and scenes of glowing eyes in the dark.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Nothing of concern

Product placement

Thomas and friends toys and other associated merchandise

In a nutshell

Thomas and friends: Tale of the brave is a motivational and heart-warming animated film that depicts the importance of being brave and pushing your own personal boundaries. It demonstrates that being brave and having courage isn’t about not being afraid, but about being able to act despite being afraid. It highlights that it is sometimes necessary to do things you do not want to do, because in the end, those actions may make you a stronger person. Conversely, avoidance can lead to an issue becoming worse.

Under sixes may find some of the scenes a bit scary, while the film probably lacks interest for most children over 10.

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