Thomas & Friends: Day of the Diesels
"After that chilling and cool as hell teaser at the end of the last movie, does this one live up to the excitement and hype it was building up? Nope. This movie is just as bad as the last one."— James A. Williams
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.
New engine, Belle extinguishes a fire, but runs out of water. Thomas and Percy take her to the Steamworks where Sir Topham Hatt congratulates her and says they need another fire engine. Belle suggests a road/rail hybrid fire engine she knows named Flynn and arrangements are made to bring him over from the mainland. Thomas starts to spend more time with Belle. Percy gets jealous and he follows Devious Diesel to the run-down Sodor Dieselworks. There he meets Diesel 10, who plans to take over the Steamworks. Diesel 10 informs Percy that Sir Topham Hatt does not care about the state of the Dieselworks and Percy says he will ask Thomas.
Flynn arrives on the island. Percy finds Thomas and tries to tell him about the Dieselworks, but Thomas disregards this and says the Fat Controller asked him to show Flynn around. Percy goes to the Dieselworks the next day and finds out that they lack a working crane. Percy tells the Steamworks crane Kevin about his dilemma. Percy takes Kevin to the Dieselworks and, Diesel 10 is happy to have a new crane.
Diesel 10 tells Percy to bring Thomas to the Dieselworks. Percy goes to Knapford the next day. Thomas tells Percy to inform Victor, the engine in charge of the Steamworks, about moving Kevin. Victor leaves to inform Sir Topham Hatt. Percy returns to the Dieselworks followed by Thomas. Diesel 10 puts Thomas in the back shed and the diesels go to the Steamworks so they can take it over. Percy is horrified to learn that Diesel 10 has been using him the whole time. The diesels cause havoc inside the Steamworks. Percy goes back to the Dieselworks and finds a fire in the main shed; he races to the Rescue Centre for Belle and Flynn. They return to the Dieselworks where Thomas and Kevin are being held hostage.
Percy frees Thomas and Kevin, and Belle and Flynn successfully put out the fire. Thomas, Percy, and Kevin rally the other engines to take back the Steamworks. The steam engines promise Diesel 10 that they will help him fix the Dieselworks. Sir Topham Hatt arrives, and orders Diesel 10 to fix the damage. Percy, Thomas, and Kevin tell Sir Topham Hatt about the Dieselworks, and he says he had already been planning to fix it. The Dieselworks is fixed, and Sir Topham Hatt reopens it.
Why This Movie Caused Confusion And Delay
- The 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?
- In addition, the concept of the Dieselworks is kind of pointless since the Steamworks has been previously shown diesels being repaired there before in Hero of the Rails.
- Plot holes:
- It doesn't make sense why the Dieselworks would be in such bad condition considering most of the diesel engines inside it arrived after steam engines, and the diesels are considered to be more modern than steam engines.
- 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?
- How come none of the engines tell Sir Topham Hatt about the Dieselworks? Mavis and Salty knew the Dieselworks was in a terrible state before it was rebuilt.
- This film started Percy's flanderization that went on into Seasons 15-16 as he is portrayed a little bit too naive and gullible, since appears to be too trusting of the diesels. He even overreacts about Flynn sleeping in his berth, which lead to the stupid misunderstanding cliché. Though the trusting of the diesels part is excusable because Diesel and Diesel 10 were the ones getting on Percy's good nature. He even helps Diesel 10 take over the Steamworks, and it’s not as if he didn’t know about it, Diesel 10 literally tells him about the plan and he still goes along with it because he’ll be “their hero”.
- Just like in Misty Island Rescue, Thomas is completely 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 as to 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 it's also extremely hypocritical of Thomas because (again) Thomas has friends that are diesels.
- Just like Misty Island Rescue, Thomas says something that makes him sound like a racist jerk to paint all the diesels in a bad light, only for the diesels to do something stupid or bad and prove Thomas' hurtful and insensitive comments on diesels completely right again.
- But unlike in Misty Island Rescue, Thomas learns absolutely nothing as 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 from Edward's Halloween stories (Scaredy Engines), and a 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 that was done several times in other movies outside of Thomas.
- 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.
- 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 on 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.
- Some scenes are very stupid and illogical:
- Percy overreacts to Thomas befriending Belle and Flynn, despite Thomas' rude and jerky 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.
- When Percy brings the diesels to the Steamworks, the narration says that he expected Diesel 10 to clap for him. It makes sense with Diesel 10, since he has the claw, but how are the other engines meant to clap?
- Speaking of the so-called "takeover", the way Diesel 10 and his fellow diesels take over the Steamworks is a waste of time because you'd think that were going to tear it apart and burn it to the ground. No, that wasn't the case. The reason they came to invade the Steamworks so they can use Percy to join alongside was to magically operate the machinery and screw around inside. That is what makes a really anti-climactic moment.
- Near the end, when Sir Topham Hatt arrives, Diesel 10 starts whimpering and being cowardly when he is confronted 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 better if he grabbed Sir Topham Hatt and threatened him since he has a claw.
- Diesel 10's new voice actor does not fit his character nearly as much as Neil Crone did in Thomas and the Magic Railroad who did a brilliant job.
- Percy is not featured on the cover anywhere, despite being the main character of the movie.
- This movie sends out a hurtful and really horrible message to its audience: "all others unlike us are all bad always and every one of us is good no matter what", proving this whole movie itself has got some really extremist and mean-spirited undertones that never even fit into the Thomas the Tank Engine universe to begin with.
- 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.
- Grammar error: 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.
- Unlike "Calling All Engines!", which had the element of putting aside your differences, everyone starts working together and puts all their differences aside, steam or diesel, at the very last two to three minutes because the Fat Controller told them off and told them to, even when he announced there would be a new Dieselworks.
- Judging by its flaws, it is an improvement over its predecessor.
- The animation is still great, especially for 2011.
- There are also 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 and his evil trait is not shown either sadly.
- Percy starring as the main character was an interesting 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.
- Despite the excessive narration Michael Angelis and Michael Brandon continue to do a very good job as narrators.
- 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.
- It does have an interesting concept, but was poorly executed.
- 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.
- This special marks the first of a few things:
- The first special narrated by Michiel de Jong in the Netherlands.
- The first special not to have Togo Igawa as part of the voice cast.
- Stanley's first speaking role since the his twelfth series episode, Thomas Puts the Brakes On, his first speaking role in a special since his debut in The Great Discovery and his first speaking role in a fully CGI-animated special or episode.
- The first special not to have Thomas as the main protagonist.
- The first time a driver has a speaking role since the tenth series episode, It's Good to be Gordon.
- The first appearance of Wellsworth since the eleventh series episode, Percy and the Left Luggage and its first appearance in CGI.
- The first special with Ian McCue as Producer.
- The first special to be teased in previously, in this case being Misty Island Rescue.
- The first special not to be released on DVD in South Korea.
- The first special not shown at South Korean theatres since Thomas and the Magic Railroad.
- The first appearance of Norramby Fishing Village since the eleventh series.
- The first-ever Blu-ray release of a Preschool show in the UK and Ireland.
- This special also marks the last of several things:
- The last special to have Sam Barlow involved in production.
- The last special to have Victor be voiced by Matt Wilkinson in the UK narration, as David Bedella takes over the role starting from Blue Mountain Mystery and the seventeenth series onwards.
- The last special narrated by Blanche Ravalec in France and French speaking Canada.
- Salty's last speaking role in a special until Tale of the Brave.
- Gordon's last speaking role in a special in the Nitrogen era.
- Diesel 10's last appearance in a special.
- This special marks the only of a few things
- The only special to have Rupert Degas as part of the voice cast.
- The only time Kerry Shale voices Stanley in the US narration.
- The only appearance of Sidney in the Nitrogen era.
- The only special to receive a UK and Irish Blu-ray release.
- According to Ian McCue, Splatter, Dodge, and Dennis were originally intended to return in this special. However, they were later cut and replaced by Paxton, Sidney and Norman. As these three share the same respective basis as the former three engines, therefore technically making them all related. Had these changes been retained, this could have marked Dennis, Splatter and Dodge first appearances in full CGI, and this would have also marked the return of Splatter and Dodge since Thomas and the Magic Railroad. This would have also been their first appearances in the main series outside of said special and Dennis' since The Great Discovery, as well as his first speaking role since the ninth series episode, Thomas' Day Off.
- This special reuses some elements from the twelfth series episode, Best Friends as it involves Thomas *and Percy having a fallout.
- This is the third special not dubbed in Hebrew and the fourth not dubbed in Italian.
- This and Thomas and the Magic Railroad are the only specials not to have a trailer in South Korea.
- When the diesels take over the Steamworks, a rendition of the music piece 'In the Hall of the Mountain King' can be heard.
- This special was planned to be shown at South Korean theaters in 2012, hinted by the VOD's release labeling "Let's see it first before we see it in theaters." However, this plan did not go forward.
- At one point in this special, the brake sound effect is reused from the model series.
- 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!"