Thursday, April 26, 2018

Thomas And The Magic Railroad [2000]
Thomas And The Magic Railroad [2000]
Icon Home Entertainment, DVD, 13 November, 2000
Director: Britt Allcroft
Actors: Alec Baldwin, Peter Fonda
Features: Full Screen, PAL
List Price: £13.99
Used Price: £7.82
Third Party Price: £10.74
Availability: Limited availability
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Customer Reviews

Sacrilege! Avoid at all costs
My 3-year-old loves Thomas, loves the DVDs and loves playing with the toys. I picked this up for him, despite the mixed reviews, and it's an absolute disaster! The character of Diesel 10 is morphed into an evil, destructive threat, out to kill other engines seemingly without any explanation. It's completely americanised good vs. evil rubbish, totally unsuited to Thomas&Friends or the 2-5 age group it's aimed at. My little boy seemed to accept the human characters and the different voices, but after 20 minutes he became visibly upset at Diesel 10 (one of his favourite toys!), and asked for it to be switched off. The only moment this movie brought our whole family together was when we all took it to the bin!

An Epic Disaster Movie
In 1945, the late Rev W Awdry started writing what turned out to be a series of 26 books of the Railway Series. This amounted to about 100 stories. Britt Allcroft bought the rights to the stories and she filmed them, very successfully, for television, narrated by Ringo Starr and then Michael Angelis.

Then a few things happened. Firstly, Britt's production company ran out of stories to film, so they had to make them up. The new stories, introducing new characters and locations, simply weren't up to scratch. But the children still loved them.

Then, perhaps eyeing the success of Teletubbies in the US, Briitt had the idea of a feature film, scripted and I believe directed by her.

This is the result.

If you are over the age of 3, this film may seem confusing and it should do. The plot has been warped by the fact that some serious editing had to be done, removing one of the characters completely. But the children still loved the film.

Unfortunately, the adults did not. The film crashed to poor reviews. Adults expected a better standard of production compared to the model railways that were the staple TV fare and the merging of real-life actors with the model engines in a bizarre fantasy storyline did not fit. But the children loved the film. But adults decide what to see at the theatre and they did not come to see it as a result.

Brit was forced out of her leading role at her production company as a result of this disaster movie. A disaster to watch. a disater to make and a disaster in the cinema. How sophisticated media types could get this so wrong is curious.

Your children may love this film. Watching it as an adult is an ordeal. As a person who takes delight in watching and reading the original stories this film is a travesty. Try to do something else while its on.

Wonderful
My two year old is a live wire. He runs around, knocks things over, causes chaos (as two year olds do) until I put this on.

From the opening sequence til end of the credits he will sit transfixed, totally absorbed in the film.

I admit, he didn't like it the first time he saw it - I don't think he could cope with "real people" being with Thomas, however after taking him out to the Days out With Thomas where he saw the "real" Thomas, that was it - he has been watching it constantly since.

I've already worn out 3 VHS tapes of this movie and have now sucummbed to the DVD.

To all the parents who say they don't like it, I don't believe you. Like me you will have watched it when the kids have gone to bed, cheered Thomas, willed Diesel 10 to fall at the end of the chase sequence and hoped the kids don't wake up before you finish watching it.

After all, the magic in all of us is there....isn't it?

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