Thomas and the Magic Railroad is an 2000 British-American-Canadian adventure fantasy film based on the British TV series Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends, The Railway Series by the Rev. W. Awdry, and the American TV series Shining Time Station. This was the first Thomas the Tank Engine feature-length movie. When the film was released, it received generally unfavorable reviews from critics and fans alike. The movie's budget was $19 Million and grossed $19.7 Million, making it somewhat successful.
Mr. Conductor's supply of magic gold dust, which allows him to travel between Shining Time and Thomas's island, is critically low. Unfortunately, he doesn't know how to get more. Meanwhile, Thomas is fending off attacks by Diesel 10. Getting more gold dust will require help from Mr. C's slacker cousin, his new friend Lilly, and her morose grandfather, plus the secret engine he's hidden all these years and couldn't get running.
Why It Sucks
- The mouths on the engines don't move. While this actually follows the show (until the Season 12 premiere and Hero of the Rails where the show then switched to CGI, allowing the engines' faces to move) and isn't really that bad, the Nostalgia Critic said this was just creepy.
- The front of the poster (as you can clearly see) is misleading: As you can see is shows that Thomas is pulling a mail train in a twilight-y sun set-like area on a mountain, but that scene doesn't exist in the actual movie.
- Alec Baldwin severely overacts.
- Peter Fonda acts completely depressed in almost every scene he's in. This was Roger Ebert's 2nd biggest problem with the movie, his 1st was the mouths not moving.
- Mara Wilson painfully underacts, with her mouth appearing to never be closed and it was her final performance before retiring from acting to become a writer.
- Somewhat misleading title: while Thomas the Tank Engine does appear in the movie and gets a fair amount of screen time, the movie mainly focuses on the human characters more than him and his friends, This Movie Should Be called "The Magic Railroad".
- Since this film crosses over Thomas the Tank Engine and Shining Time Station, some UK viewers might not even know what Shining Time Station is due to it not being explained well and the fact the show never aired in the UK.
- Britt Allcroft listened way too much to the test audiences, so a lot of things were changed in the film, and to this day, Thomas fans want a director's cut version of the movie.
- Didi Conn does fine reprising her Stacey Jones role from the Shining Time Station series, but she only appears in a few minutes. But there's one minor problem, in the dream sequence where she's in a deserted Shining Time, Didi sounds like she's reading off a cue card dangling from the camera.
- Bad editing and plot. Some of the scenes have been cut and edited where that it make all the critics and moviegoers confused (check in the Trivia section below).
- Clumsy dialogue. For instance, Burnett says "Well my lady. The lights are all green for you now. Green for glory".
- Terrible acting Edits, which some of the characters are been dubbed and even cut like when Burnett Stone is being chased by Diesel 10 where he said "No you won't, Because the magic you refused to believe in will get the better of you!", but Diesel 10 does believe in magic and it was P.T. Boomer who Burnett was talking about, creating a major plot hole.
- It deviates from the classic show. Magic was never shown in the show, it was meant to be realistic aside from the talking trains.
- Edward, one of the main characters of the show that this movie is based on, is absent in this film.
Redeeming Qualities that make this film passable
- This movie debuts the first appearance of Diesel 10, Splatter, Dodge and a first female train, Lady (So far, this is Splatter and Dodge's only appearance).
- While a bit dark to be in a kids movie, the villains are really good.
- The acting is kind of decent.
- Burnett Stone has a very touching back story that gives out a pretty good reason for why is he down for most of the movie.
- While a bit out of place, the front of the Poster does look pretty cool, and does give out a very magic-y feel and effect.
- There are some really catchy songs, such as "Shining Time".
- Beautiful soundtrack.
- There are some pretty good funny moments here and there, such as:
- The scene where Harold the Helicopter accidentally blows sneezing powder on Thomas, Splatter and Dodge.
- The scene where Mr. Conductor talks to a toy ball and a baseball bat.
- On that topic, the voice acting is really good.
- Mr. Conductor's cousin, Junior, is pretty funny.
- It's good seeing Thomas on the big screen.
- The Director's-Cut version is far superior.
After the film was released in cinemas, there were many scenes that were removed from the film for various reasons:
- The original antagonist was Pete Tiberius Boomer (also known as P.T. Boomer), played by late Canadian actor Doug Lennox. Boomer was heavily featured in the trailers, but he was removed from the theatrical release and Diesel 10 was made the main antagonist. This was a call purely based on young test audiences getting scared by Boomer, so all of his scenes were cut and even re-dubbed without mentioning him.
- P.T. Boomer has become so popular with the fans that after footage was found of the original chase scene on YouTube, that fans have made a ton of fanart of him, even paying tribute to Lennox when he passed away on Nov 28, 2015.
- Some voice actors of the engines that were featured in the trailers never appeared in the film and were replaced, like John Bellis (an fireman and part-time taxi driver) as Thomas, due to the test audiences thinking that he sounded too old, and Keith Scott as Diesel 10 (who is also best known of the Narrator from Disney's George of the Jungle and The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle). Like Boomer, he was deemed too frightening for young children, then it was changed to another actor with a Russian accent. The audiences was worried that it sounded too offensive, so then they replaced him with another voice actor who had a New Jersey accent.
- There are some characters are never appeared in the film, such as Edward the Blue Engine, where he was one of Thomas's friends, Cranky the Crane, who dropped an oil drum on Diesel 10, and George the Steamroller, who was Diesel 10's henchman to ram the buffers.
- The original footage of the movie became so popular with the Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends fans, that they want to see the director's cut version of the movie. If you want to find out about the history of the film, you can check and join on the Lost Media Wiki, Sordor Island, Restore The Magic's Facebook, and the official Thomas and the Magic Railroad wiki.