Thomas & Friends: Day of the Diesels
Thomas & Friends: Day of the Diesels is a 2011 British feature-length special and film based on the TV series, Thomas & Friends, directed by Greg Tiernan, produced by Nicole Stinn and Ian McCue, and written by Sharon Miller.
On the Island of Sodor, when the diesels get tired of having to deal with the falling apart Dieselworks, they plan to take over the Steamworks in ransom of having the Dieselworks repaired, with the help of a reluctant Percy.
- The story plot is ridiculously stupid. It's about Diesel 10 attempting to take over the Steamworks so he can get the Fat Controller to repair the Dieselworks; in the end, he gets what he wants and everyone is happy. It gets even dumber when you think about the engines having drivers; why didn't Diesel 10's driver do anything to stop the Steamworks takeover?
- Percy is portrayed as too naive, as he appears too trusting of the diesels, even after Diesel 10 tells him they're going to take over the Steamworks. He even overreacts about Flynn sleeping in his berth, which lead to the stupid misunderstanding cliche.
- Just like in Misty Island Rescue, Thomas is unlikable in this movie and acts worse than Percy. He even ignores Percy for no discernible reason, even when he is doing nothing. Thomas goes so far to even give Belle a negative impression on all the diesels despite having diesel friends himself. Which is stupid, but yet considered thoughtless because we see friendly diesels in the same film, and extremely hypocritical because (again) Thomas has friends that are diesels.
- Unlike Misty Island Rescue, Thomas has learned nothing. He doesn't apologize to Percy for ignoring him without any reason given, and he doesn't even apologize for his discriminative statement about diesels either.
- The idea of Thomas and Percy falling out has been done several times before:
- In both the Classic era and the Railway Series, whether Thomas or Percy fall out at one another, they bicker and get back at one another whenever it comes to a ghost trick (Percy's Ghostly Trick), a woolly bear (Woolly Bear), the subject of paint and coal (Thomas, Percy, and the Coal), being called a drip (Drip Tank), the Ghost Engine (Scaredy Engines), and even the Chinese Dragon (Thomas, Percy, and the Dragon). But here, if you can even call Thomas and Percy falling out in the film, the said scene only relied on the "stupid misunderstanding" cliche.
- False advertising: Mavis and Salty were advertised in the front of the poster and DVD covers, yet they barely do anything in the movie besides appearing only a couple of times. They weren't even involved in the Steamworks takeover whatsoever.
- Although Belle has a great character personality, she has a character design that makes no sense at all. She has cannons that shoot water from her side tanks that is needed for her boiler so she can move.
- Percy overreacts to Thomas befriending Belle and Flynn, despite Thomas' rude personality in this film. Percy should know that he is not Thomas' only friend, and that just because Thomas has made a new friend doesn't mean he's no longer his friend anymore. The way he overreacts is a little bit out of character, as said before with Reason #2.
- Near the end, when Sir Topham Hatt arrives, Diesel 10 starts whimpering and being cowardly when he is confronted and scolded by him. It feels really out of character since Diesel 10 is known to be one of the most intimidating characters in the whole series, and has no reason to be afraid. It would be decent if he grabbed Sir Topham and threatened him since he has a claw.
- When the diesels take over the Steamworks, Diesel 10 is spinning on the turntable, and Paxton is lifted by one of the hoists. How are they operating the machinery to do those things? There doesn't seem to be any workers present, and if there are, why would they just work the turntable and hoists for the diesels?
- Some of the new characters are pointless. The biggest offender is Sidney, who is only seen in a single shot, laughing, with no spoken dialogue.
- Speaking of Sidney, he is seen early in the Dieselworks, propped up on jacks with his wheels missing! He can't move, so what happened to him when the Dieselworks catches fire?!
- As is typical for the show's CGI era, the engine crews are inconsistent, as Thomas, Percy and Belle clearly have drivers and firemen, who are shown to be helping fight the fire in the beginning of the film. However, Diesel 10 and several other diesels have grayed out windows to mask their drivers' presence (or lack thereof), and appear to fully control their movements.
- Apart from the firefight, the engine crews do nothing more than make the engines move! Percy's driver and fireman don't react to, much less question any of his actions, not even so much as lean their heads out the sides of the cab at the sight of the diesels wreaking havoc in the Steamworks.
- Excessive amounts of narration throughout the film that always ruins certain scenes with really amazing potential. An example is when the Steam Team begins confronting the Diesels at the Steamworks with eerie music in the background, instead of letting the emotion control the scene, narration had to be put in place when it's completely unnecessary.
- When Percy brings the diesels to the Steamworks, the narration says that he expected Diesel 10 to clap for him. Diesel 10 makes sense, since he has the claw, but how are the other engines meant to clap?
- None of the engines tell the Fat Controller about the Dieselworks. Mavis and Salty knew the Dieselworks was in a terrible state before it was rebuilt.
- Diesel 10's new voice actor does not fit his character nearly as much as Neil Crone did in Thomas and the Magic Railroad.
- The concept of the Dieselworks is kind of pointless since the Steamworks has been previously shown diesels being repaired there before in a previous special, Hero of the Rails.
- It doesn't make sense that the Dieselworks would be in such bad condition considering most of the diesel engines in it arrived after steam engines, and the diesels are considered to be modern.
- Percy is not featured on the cover anywhere, despite being the main character of the movie.
- Like Thomas and the Magic Railroad, the film was also hurt by test audiences; the original script apparently had a darker tone, but the movie was heavily toned down in the final cut, which is rather noticeable in some scenes that don't feel as dark as they should. Diesel 10 was also going to have a much more menacing voice, but was also cut, explaining Diesel 10's unfitting voice in this movie.
- Bad grammar. When Sir Topham Hatt chews out Diesel 10, he says that "none of his engines [sic] is being really useful". It's supposed to be "none of my engines ARE being really useful" because engines is plural.
- The animation is still great, especially for 2011.
- Some impressive shots here and there.
- The end credits song is really good.
- Diesel 10, despite his somewhat unfitting character change, is well written as it is logical for him not to be aggressive in attempt to gain Percy on his side. So his character change from being evil and aggressive like he was in Thomas and the Magic Railroad, to being calm and manipulative towards Percy makes sense, however, him acting that calm elsewhere does not.
- Percy starring as the main character was a great decision.
- The voice acting in both UK and US dubs are still good, and is a big step up from the past two films. In particular, Flynn having an American accent is a great choice for a character voice.
- Flynn, Den, Dart, Norman, Paxton and Sidney are interesting choices of new characters for the special.
- We got introduced to some new Diesels who would have good impact in later seasons.
- Nitrogen Studios began production on this special in March 2010.
- The special was shown on PBS Sprout on the August 24th and September 5th, 2011. It was also shown on Milkshake! during the 2011 Christmas series. It aired on PBS on April 7th, 2012, on Nick Jr. in the UK on 3rd November 2012 and on TV 2 in Norway Boxing Day 2013, December 28th, 2013, New Year's Day 2014, and Easter 2014.
- Starting with this special, different arrangements of Percy's theme by Robert Hartshorne are occasionally featured in the show.
- This was the only special to have Rupert Degas as part of the voice cast and the only special to have Ben Small as the voice of Stanley in the US narration.
- In the Hulu version of the special, an instrumental piece of the song, "Day of the Diesels", plays after the ending credits.
- It is revealed that Thomas' driver is named Bob.
- Teresa Gallagher and Ben Small join the US voice cast.
- The Japanese version of this special is preceded by a two minute clip from the end of "Misty Island Rescue".
- This is the only special to receive a UK Blu-ray release. The special also marked the first-ever Blu-ray release of a preschool show in the UK.
- From this special onwards, Salty has Derek's horn sound.
- Splatter, Dodge, and Dennis were originally intended to return in this special, however they were later cut and replaced by three new characters - Paxton, Norman and Sidney.
- This special was released the same year the final new book of the Railway Series was published.
- This special won top spot in Tesco's DVD family chart, despite negative reception from older fans.
- According to Sam Barlow, the film originally had some scenes which were deemed too scary for children and Diesel 10 would have been voiced by Rupert Degas.
- The following scenes from the Day of the Diesels trailer were not seen in the special:
- Belle squirting water from her water cannons whilst on the move. This scene was from the fifteenth series episode, Big Belle.
- Flynn going along the Fenland Track.
- Flynn meeting children at the School.
- Flynn fighting a fire at the Woods whilst the fireman shoos away some squirrels. This and the above scene were from the fifteenth series episode, "Fiery Flynn".
- On his way to rescue the Dieselworks with Belle and Percy, Flynn said: "Here I come, Thomas! Fiery Flynn to the rescue!"
- Sir Topham Hatt's line, "The diesels have caused confusion and delay!"
- Percy saying "Thomas is in danger!"