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July 15, 2014 By Dan Jones Leave a Comment                         So apparently there’s a Thomas the Tank Engine movie coming out? Many of us have are aware of the little blue steam engine and his pals, puffing around the fictional Island of Sodor. Thomas The Tank Engine - Thomas And The Magic Railroad only costs ?3.51 from Amazon, and I think that's a pretty reasonable price for this. It looks rad, although I have heard almost nothing about it save for seeing a poster near one of our cinemas. The kids who grew up on Thomas and friends are adults now – looking for a more capable, all action, Thomas. This is pretty much all I’ve read about it, and kinda speaks volumes, although to be fair I gave up after the second film. It combines both live action and animation Thomas and his friends are really bought to life.The storyline is typical of many childrens films, good versus bad, and the good triumphing. We did have to wait until it came out on video and as soon as it was available to buy my husband bought it for him and just recently he has been watching as much as he can.
He owns all the ERTL die-cast engines, several of the videos, loads of the books and anything else he can lay his hands on (and my money!) with Thomas on it, so it was with much excitement that we took him to the cinema to see Thomas and the magic railroad. While that visually-stylish effort failed to make a huge dent at the box office, it did establish Acker as an animation talent to be reckoned with – and now, has paved the way for him to portray one of Mattel Entertainment’s most kid-friendly creations in a (odd though it may sound) more stylized fashion.Acker certainly seems like an odd candidate to helm a Thomas the Tank Engine movie – especially when you consider that his previous film was about homunculi made out of burlap bags and a post-apocalyptic world where soul-sucking machines dominate the ruined landscape. With a few hundred more explosions and a can of lens flare, these guys could have a real moneyspinner on their hands! It is a U rating so no issues leaving young ones to watch it by themselves.The film is based on the island of Sodor the trains home and Shining Time the humans home. Thomas and his friends live on the Island of Sodor, happily and working hard for the Fat Controller. After watching this film I can see now how a new generation of train spotters have been born.
Awdry and Christopher Awdry, the original TV series created by Britt Allcroft and David Mitton follows the tales of a group of anthropomorphised vehicles, predominately steam and diesel powered locomotives. It has a magic twist to it that enables the controller to move from one place to another using special magic sparkle dust. However the arrival of Diesel 10 and his side kicks Splatter and Dodge spell trouble for the usually peacefull Island of Sodor. The son is introduced into this world of Sodor, a place his father visited as a child but can’t remember. With the central character a small and cheeky tank engine named Thomas, the TV series continues to be made today since 1984, and is one of the longest running children's shows in the UK. The Fat Controller (or Sir Toptem Hatt) is away on holiday leaving the magical Mr Conductor to run the Island. Its rather a strange film as it starts off with Thomas and his friends on the Island of Sodor, where you see Thomas, Gordon, James etc. Conductor, who helps to run the train station in Shining Town (quite a miracle really as he's only about 4 inches tall!). There is a bonding experience.”With Acker calling the shots and WETA working on the production design, there’s no reason to doubt that this Thomas the Tank Engine movie won’t be a visually-pleasing interpretation of the character and his world. A move to make a more worldwide awareness of the show resulted in various feature-length episodes and a movie being made, the first of which was this one, Thomas and the Magic Railroad.
Follow the adventure and sing along to the songs, Or as my son does whistle along with the engines.As it says on the box This film can be enjoyed by anyone who's young at heart.
Mr Conductor travels between The Island of Sodor and Shining Time (the human world), begins to loose his sparkle, a form of magic dust that allows him to travel between worlds, and the race is on to find some more before Diesal 10 and his sidekicks take control. He regularly visits the Island of Sodor, the home of Thomas and his friends, to look after the engines whilst the Fat Controller is on holiday. After seemingly watching this film over and over and over thanks to my daughters fascination with Thomas, I have feel I need to share my views with you on this unique but disappointing children's film.--An Allcroft All-in-One!--In 1989, going mostly unnoticed by the Thomas and Friends faithful, Britt Allcroft and Rick Siggerkow created a mainstream children's television show for the American market.


Shining Time is a very strange place where everyone is very nice to each other and the trains all run on time ( not set in this country or day and age then!! This aired for 4 years until 1993 after a very successful run, it was called Shining Time Station. The show included episodes of Thomas the Tank Engine and friends, and starred not only the original narrator of Thomas (Ringo Starr), but also recognisable American actors.With a big adaptation of Thomas and friends, the decision was made to amalgamate the live action Shining Time world with the all animated Island of Sodor, the two lands magically crossing over within the storyline. The premise did sound promising, but seeing as Thomas had a huge following in the UK and Europe, this caused a little confusion and general dislike for having this kind of story. Conductor is able to travel to Sodor using his magic golden dust which is emitted from his whistle when he blows it. The major problem being that many people were unfamiliar with the characters and settings of Shining Time, and that was difficult for people to accept into the Thomas world.
Conductor has to travel to Sodor to keep an eye on Thomas and his friends for the Fat Controller or Sir Topham Hat as he likes to be called. Britt Allcroft did state that the original script did carry more classic Thomas animation sequences, but was cut against her wishes for the final release of the film, and for me, the film version of Thomas does suffer because of this.--Plot Summary--The story starts in Shining Time, were we are introduced to Mr Conductor, who has magical bonds via his supply of gold dust to the Island of Sodor. He is recruited by Sir Topham Hatt (The Fat Controller) to look after the railways while he is away. We also meet Lily, who is visiting her Grandfather, a quite old man who lives near Shining Time in a place called Muffle Mountain who also has secrets of his own to do with Sodor.
Whilst this is happening, an evil diesel engine called Diesel 10 returns to Sodor, vowing to destroy a mysterious magical lost steam engine which has disappeared, and terrorises the resident engines.What follows are the exploits of Thomas and his friends avoiding the Diesel 10 and his cohorts, Splatter and Dodge, and the legend of the Lost Engine and the Magic railroad that links Shining Time to Sodor. The tale is a little more complex than most of the classic Thomas plotlines of the TV shows, but is an easy one to follow, as the pace of the film is gentile enough to understand for children, but also had some fast paced sequences and a little, and maybe slightly scary, action scenes, normally involving the interaction between the live actors and the model engines.
Most of the background characters are rather pointless and empty, what the and even though some famous names are present, the overall portrayals can be wooden, uninteresting and hollow at many times during the film. Well Sir Topham Hat (the fat controller) does feature in the film but all you see is a portrait of him on the wall because he leaves Mr Conductor in charge who now and then gets a phone call from the fat controller who checks to see things are ok. On a positive, Emmy Winner Alec Baldwin (Knots Landing, Beetlejuice and many more) does give his best go at a convincing and amusing Mr Conductor.
It's a film that is definately aimed at quite young children and has little or nothing for the adult that has to watch it too! It's one character who does fit in well with the vision of the Thomas world and the only Shining Time persona that you and your children can gel with.
The other upshot is also Michael E Rodgers as C Junior, providing a little madcap fun and frolics to the proceedings in an engaging way.
Meanwhile on a train heading for Shining Time their is a little girl who is making a trip to stay with her Grandfather, while her mother has a baby. I could not have imagined him in a film like this but he makes the Mr Conductor a really likeable character. The Grandfather also has connections with the lost engine and the Island of Sodor but I won't spoil it for you by telling you what they are!
Her dialouge is delivered very weakly and wooden at times, and you really just can't warm to her performance. Conductor has to call on his surfing cousin, by shell phone (!!),to come to his aid and he brings with him the rest of the gold dust and the little girl to help out too!
Mr Conductor whose job has been been done by his family since time immemorial uses gold dust to travel to both worlds. In Thomas's world he is normal size but is Tom Thumb size in ours and he looks after the station in Shiney Time by watering the plants and keeping the place safe. It's quite clear from the outset of meeting his character that he just doesn't want to be doing this. The people who work there accept him as a normal pa rt of the staff. Maybe its suppose to be like that for the part, but with he rarely shows convincing emotion given the characters back story, and being a linchpin of the plot, this doesn't bode well.


The voice parts for the engines and the other vehicles of Sodor are well done, with maybe a tinge of over doing it on the part of Neil Crone as Diesel 10, his blase yank tone getting annoying at times and the voice of James is a little odd too.Alec Baldwin - Mr. A musical track dedicated to Shining Time is played throughout a sequence of camera shots as we meet Lily and then Mr Conductor. This immediately makes it unappealing for your children who are expecting to see Thomas and co in their familiar setting chuffing around happily. The Fat Controller himself is also absent apart from his unintelligible voice heard on the phone. Things only become more engaging when Mr Conductor breaks the forth wall, addressing the audience directly in a nice and friendly manner.When we do cut to the classic animation style of the Island of Sodor, you find yourself excited to be back in something you know well, and my daughters reaction to seeing Thomas and the rest is something that becomes a comfortable and absorbing piece to watch. The unfamiliarity with Shining Time makes a big issue here, and you may find that only after watching several times with the kids then it becomes enjoyable to watch.Due to the host of American actors on show here, the fact that Shining Time Station is an American premise and a big movie aspect for a world audience, this makes an automatic and unwelcome Americanisation of Thomas and his pals. This is difficult to accept, especially for children whom are well versed with classic British Thomas, and again provides yet more of a distraction from the films content.The story itself is not bad, but could have been told in a much better way, the characters of Lily and Stone being the primary let down.
You get a feeling of a slightly dis-jointed plot, and find it hard to care about the characters in a way that the UK TV show did so easily. Pushing a franchise to the big screen means special effects will have to play their part, and again we are left wanting a bit.
The effects, while are present, just don't give you a feel of a huge shift away from the all animation of the series, and if anything, make it feel a bit rushed and cheap.There are good points however about this film. As mentioned before, Alec Baldwin gives a good show as Mr Conductor, the C Junior character is fun and makes for good light entertainment with the engines.
The best part is the ending sequence of the film however, with the magical mystery explained and the final showdown with Diesel 10, making a nice exciting and thrilling ending for the children.
It's just a shame this wasn't the case throughout the entire film, and aside from a few nice parts, (C Junior talking to Sir Topham Hatt on the flower phone, Mr Conductor in Sir Topham's office and Diesel 10's quips with his clumsy hench-engines) the whole film seems rather limp. This must be why is didn't fair well with the critics, citing performances and effects has its major faults. However, many people will continue to watch the original show, removing this movie from the continuity.--Presentation and Production--A basic DVD release, there are no trailers at the start of the disc and it goes straight into the title menu.
The menu screen is just a re-designed version of the DVD's front cover, with big selection titles highlighted by colourful stars. A white outline is a clear cursor and navigation is as simple as it gets, with the usual scene selection choices. Their are really no extra features to speak of, with just the official trailer for the film and a web link.
This is a shame, as I would have thought a children's DVD should have an additional game or two to keep their attention.--Conclusion--Whilst not an entirely boring experience for your children, this big screen Thomas is disappointing on various levels. The live acting is lacklustre save for Baldwin and Rodgers, and effects could have been much more impressive. The story at times lags and stutters, but flows well when we are in Sodor and it's at these points we can enjoy the film.
It really shows that the Thomas format doesn't work well translated into real life, and is much more enjoyable set permanently in the animation medium, both for adults and children.So I'm not sure weather to recommend or not with this one. Entertaining in parts, some children may find the Shining Time parts tedious, dull and be unable to grab their imagination and attention, which is a surprise considering the success both shows have had in their respective countries. The Americanisation of Thomas is also something which just doesn't fit with the franchise, and all in all(croft) this film becomes something of a colourful blot on the sketchbook of Rev W.



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