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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My son's first movie experience and he loved it!
We were unsure about taking our almost 3-year-old to see this movie after hearing some negative comments about it, but he really wanted to see it so we took him. This was his first theater experience and he sat wonderfully through the whole movie. He absolutely loved it and has been asking me ever since when he can see it again. We have been eagerly awaiting the...
Published on October 27, 2000

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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The trains were cute but this movie's awful
For some reason I can't fathom my daughters love this movie, but sitting through it is painful. The little boy in the movie should consider another career, and Peter Fonda is more wooden than the trains (although if you're in the right mood his performance is almost funny, but mostly it's just painful). Alex Baldwin tried, but the script and the direction kept this...
Published on February 2, 2005 by C. Asher


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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The trains were cute but this movie's awful, February 2, 2005
By 
C. Asher (Charlotte, NC USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
For some reason I can't fathom my daughters love this movie, but sitting through it is painful. The little boy in the movie should consider another career, and Peter Fonda is more wooden than the trains (although if you're in the right mood his performance is almost funny, but mostly it's just painful). Alex Baldwin tried, but the script and the direction kept this movie from being anything more than dismal. The Thomas series is much more entertaining and well-written. Do yourself a favor and don't spend money on this dog.
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61 of 74 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Terrible movie, April 5, 2005
A Kid's Review
This movie was by far the worst Thomas production ever made. I was horrified when I discovered that Britt Allcroft wrote it; now we know why she always had a co-writer when she was writing episodes for the TV series, and why she was kicked out of Gullane Entertainment afterwards.

The script is so poorly written that I feel sorry for the trees used to make the paper that it was written on. The Island of Sodor, in the TV series an island off the coast of England that was more or less normal, has been turned into a magical ghost town populated by talking trains and literate animals. Why Britt Allcroft chose to make such a rapid departure from the TV series I will never know. She also filled the script with complicated plot devices that few children will be able to understand (you'd need to be Einstein or Stephen Hawking to figure out the answer to the riddle on the windmill wall), and threw her healthy knowledge of the Thomas characters out of the window (Thomas is portrayed as a goody-goody, Bertie as being annoyingly hyperactive, Henry as being a whiny pain in the neck, and James as being so short of brain cells that he doesn't know what the word "shoo" means).

Usually, bad scripts bring in bad acting, and this movie was no exception. Alec Baldwin's character was so annoying (I'm sure I'm not the only person who wishes Diesel 10 had dropped him off the viaduct), and took the limelight that should have been given to Thomas and the other engines. Peter Fonda's character was the most miserable, depressing character in the history of children's movies. Mara Wilson's character was better, but still seemed like a teenage girl younger than her years. And what was the point of having big name actors anyway? It's not as if little children are going to recognise them.

I also find the film to be overly violent. Diesel 10 is so nasty that it's no wonder little children started crying and asking to leave the theater when he made his first appearance. We're never told why he's evil either, he just comes off as a character who wants to destroy steam engines for no reason whatsoever. In the original series, if a character was evil it was usually for a good reason. In a similar fashion, while characters in the TV series might be evil, they never went further than playing tricks on the other engines and trying to get them sent away. Here, Diesel 10 tries to kill Mr Conductor and Junior in scenes that make me amazed the film got a G rating.

Then there's the fact that the steam engines get what can only be described as outstanding cameos. When I went to see this at the theater, I noticed a lot of little children fidgeting and looking bored during the scenes with the human characters. Really I'm not at all surprised that they were; they came to the theater to see their favorite blue engine and his friends, not a Lilliputian railroad conductor who had lost his gold dust.

Last but not least, what can little children learn from this movie? The TV series episodes all have morals in them, like "don't tell lies" and "don't get too full of yourself." Other than a brief line at the end about helping each other, this movie has no moral value in it whatsoever (unless you count teaching children to be senselessly violent a moral).

In September of this year a second Thomas movie is coming out, albeit shorter than this one and being released direct to video, called "Calling All Engines." Cross your fingers and hope it's better than this turkey.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Where's Thomas In His First Movie?, April 22, 2005
By 
I was so excited to get this movie for my brother who loves Thomas and knows everything a three year old can know about trains. I only wish I had read a couple of reviews first. I almost did not buy it just because Alec Baldwin was in it and after seeing this movie, I'll never waste another dime on anything he is in.

So why is this movie so bad? Let's start with the story. It has more to do with Mr. Conductor (a stupid name) than it has to do with Thomas and his friends. The dialogue is horrible. When it does show an engine from the Island of Sodor, it bears no resemblence to the engines in the beloved books. For instance, James comes across as an idiot. Thomas is nearly absent for most of the movie. The voices of the engines sound like little kids, which is silly. On the other hand the character played by Mara Wilson should have been played by a little kid. She is very unconvincing in this role and the boy, Patch is even worse. Some characters seem to be there for no reason at all, like Mr. Conductor's cousin. But that is the way the entire movie goes, things just happen for no reason, leaving the viewer with a bunch of annoying questions: Why is Diesel 10 so angry and mean? Why does Mr. conductor go from the "real" world to the Island of Sodor? Why would Sir Topham Hatt trust this simpleton to run his railroad? Why was Peter Fonda's character able to get to Sodor in the first place? Why was this movie ever made? Why did nobody check in with the original stories to see if any of this made sense? Why was Britt Allcroft allowed to do this kind of damage to Thomas the Tank Engine? Why am I so angry about this? Did they show this movie to a test audience? If so how did it ever make it to theaters?

In short, this is THE WORST movie I have ever seen from the screenplay to the acting to the editing. It has not one redeeming quality.
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30 of 37 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars 3 year old loves it. Adults disappointed and confused., November 25, 2000
By A Customer
Our 3yr old boy loves Thomas. We have all the videos and trains, etc. He wants to watch this thing every day. He repeats lines from the movie and acts them out all day. It was great for him. We took him to the movies to see it together. He loved that, too. For him, we would do it all again in a minute.
As parents, we could have done without the "mean-ness" of Diesel #10 and the fact that he wants to "dominate and destroy". He also uses the word "stupid" several times. Not nice.
As adult movie critics, we saw laughably poor acting (with the exception of "Mr. Conductor" and "Junior". (Notice that even some of the 5-star reviewers agree.) Britt Alcroft directed and wrote it, and it is obvious that she should have asked for help from someone who knew what they were doing. If you pay attention, expect to be confused. We expected more because we actually enjoy watching all of the other videos, and they are really well done.
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35 of 44 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Dull for a Thomas-loving toddler, July 29, 2003
By 
Allison (Tucson, AZ United States) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I purchased this DVD through Amazon.com in preparation for a trip I recently took with my 2 1/2 year old. He loves Thomas and I thought he'd like this video. I had read that purist Thomas fans didn't care for it, but since we don't have any of the regular videos, I figured it would be okay. What I didn't realize is that there are relatively few scenes of the trains in this video, and my son found the extended dialog between the "real" people to be completely uninteresting. He would actually walk away from the TV, he was so bored.
As an adult, I found the plot to be overly complicated with too many sub elements. The boy and girl characters appear to have been shoe-horned in for a little human interest, but are tedious to watch. Alec Baldwin provides a perfomance that is so bad, I couldn't look at the screen. Peter Fonda didn't do so well either.
This video may entertain an older child, but I highly suggest renting it or checkign it out from the library before purchasing it.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The worst thing that's ever happened to Thomas, November 11, 2004
A Kid's Review
When I first heard that there was going to be a Thomas movie released, I was excited. It was about time Thomas made the jump to the silver screen, and I thought it would be brilliant. But when I actually saw it, I was shocked at how awful it was. Here are the reasons why...

1. Sodor is portrayed as a magical universe. You can't get to it without gold dust or by travelling on the Magic Railroad. There are only about two or three people living there, and they're all pint-sized (at least that's what Mr Conductor says). And the engines can all drive themselves. In the original series, Sodor was connected to the main line, there were plenty of people living there and they were all normal-sized, and the engines had drivers and fireman to control them.

2. There are a lot of continuity errors with the original series. Aside from the ones I've mentioned above about Sodor being a magical universe, the engines' whistling and puffing sounds are wrong, and Henry is portrayed as being unwell when his stay at Crewe in the earlier episodes supposedly rectified that.

3. There's too much emphasis on the human characters. The movie focuses more on Mr Conductor than it does on Thomas. It's supposed to be about Thomas the Tank Engine, not a silly railway conductor who's losing his sparkle! And I really dislike Burnett Stone; all he does is sit around feeling sorry for himself.

4. Poor acting. Alec Baldwin is easily the worst narrator for the Thomas series, and in this movie he's just as bad. And Peter Fonda is just terrible. Mara Wilson was alright though, but the rest of the acting? No. Just no.

5. Silly dialogue. "Sandle fly! Boo fly! Shoo fly! That's it!" What the hell is that? "Thank throttles you're safe!" Very irritating. "And helping each other brings to life the magic in all of us." What on earth is she going on about? Whoever wrote the script for this has a lot to answer to.

6. There are very few characters from the original series. Edward, the first engine ever created, has been completely ignored in this movie. So have other classic characters like Duck, Donald and Douglas. Same goes for the Shining Time Station side of the movie...where are characters like Schemer and JB King?

7. Americanisation. The Fat Controller is referred to as "Sir Topham Hatt," like he is in the American version. American words are used all over the movie. Half the actors are American. Even some of the engines sound American. Thomas is a British show, and having a Thomas movie that's American is just stupid.

8. The non-human characters' voices. Percy and James are both voiced by women. Percy I can understand, as he's supposed to be the engine equivilant of a small child and a female voice would make him sound cuter. But why was James voiced by a women? As for the other characters...Harold doesn't sound nearly as good as he does in the television series. Gordon isn't deep enough. Lady doesn't sound young enough. And Henry and Bertie are just awful. It's almost a blessing that Donald and Douglas weren't in the movie, because they probably wouldn't have Scottish accents like they should have!

The only redeeming features of this DVD are the new characters. Diesel 10 is a really good villain, and Dodge and Splatter provide plenty of comic relief as the "dim-witted sidekicks." Lady is pretty good as well.

But apart from the new characters, this movie is terrible. Even my brother dislikes it, and he's one of the biggest Thomas fans in the world, so that must be saying something. Stick to the far better television series, and avoid this movie like the plague.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Good God, What Happened Here?, January 29, 2001
By 
Douglas Lytle (Prague, Czech Republic) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
As the saying goes, if it ain't broke...why anyone felt the need to mix and match live action with the Sodor characters is anyone's guess, but the way it was handled here makes me wonder if the film was put together by five different people who mailed in their ideas which were then assembled by a committee. My daughter, who worships the short videos, was soon fiddling with a case of milk instead of watching the story, while I was nearly reduced to making a flow chart to try and figure out what the heck was happening and why. And I'm not really ready to accept Peter Fonda as "grandpa" - especially this Fonda who spent most of the time looking like he had Post-Traumatic-Stress disorder or was having trouble remembering his lines or perhaps where he had put the keys to the car. Alex Baldwin seemed to connect better to the story simply because he's narrated them before. But the rest is an unholy mess. Plus, Mr. Diesel seemed unnecessarily cruel and almost spiteful with a hyena-like laugh. Such typically cruel meanness is a normal facet of badly made American cartoons but it was never a part of the original U.K. series. Ugh all the way around.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Some good, some bad, but my kids love it., August 7, 2005
It seems that many of the reviews here are out-of-context, because the reviewers may not be familiar with the "Shining Time Station" series. Shining Time Station is the program which introduced Thomas and his friends to many folks. But after STS left PBS for Nickelodian, PBS was left with just Thomas.

In Shining Time Station, the role of Mr Conductor is fairly important. He is constantly interacting with folks like Stacey Jones (who is in this movie for a few scenes), Billy Two-Feathers (also in the movie and drives the 'real' train), and the infamous Schemer (notably absent). He is also the central figure for telling the children who hang around the station about Thomas and the Land of Sodor. Depending on season, Mr C was played by either Ringo Starr or George Carlin. It is supposed to be a somewhat responsible - yet somewhat wacky - role, as is everything about Shining Time Station. Alec Balwin clearly studied this role closely based on his predecessors, and I thought did an outstanding job.

OTOH, words can not describe how dreadful Peter Fondas performance was. He seemed to be completely lost in every scene he was in. He seemed to have no concept of Shining Time Station at all. It dragged down the entire movie.

As has been noted in other reviews, small kids won't be able to figure out the plot. By the time kids start figuring it out (say, age 9) they are starting to get too old for some of the movie.

The musical interludes are wonderful. Check out some of the samples from the Amazon page for the Sound Tracks CD. (And yes, Locomotion did appear in the movie - during the credits.)

To a rail buff, such as myself, there were some wonderful shots of the steam train taking Lily (Mara Wilson) to Shining Time Station. FWIW, engine #475 - prominently photographed in the movie - belongs to the Strasburg Railroad in Strasburg, Pa. If you have a good sound system, #475s 'CHUG' and whistle send chills up ones spine.

There were a few railroading problems too. Like how did the coal car that got lost through the buffer end up on a different set of tracks than Thomas was on? Or how did Thomas get turned around after he fell off the cliff? How did Patch manage to bring hundreds of lbs of coal back - on his horse - to fire up Lady? Or during the chase scene with Lady, how did Diesel suddenly switch from the left tracks to the right tracks? Kids won't notice any of that of course.

So in summary, if your kids have seen the Shining Time Station series, it will make some sense to them and why the characters are as they are. If they know about Thomas but have not seen STS, the Mr Conductor (and Stacey Jones and Billy Two-Feathers) characters will be new and a bit, er, different. If they've never seen either one, the movie probably will have a hard time standing on its own - at least for the first couple of viewings.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My son's first movie experience and he loved it!, October 27, 2000
By A Customer
We were unsure about taking our almost 3-year-old to see this movie after hearing some negative comments about it, but he really wanted to see it so we took him. This was his first theater experience and he sat wonderfully through the whole movie. He absolutely loved it and has been asking me ever since when he can see it again. We have been eagerly awaiting the release of this movie on video. He was able to follow the plot and has been reenacting moments from the movie with his die-cast Thomas, Diesel 10, Lady, etc. ever since. It is a great movie for children, especially Thomas fans. My daughters who are 8 and 6 also enjoyed the movie. It will undoubtably be viewed over and over and over it our house.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent adventure for young Thomas fans, November 19, 2001
By A Customer
My 3 1/2 year old son has been very excited to see this movie since he began getting into Thomas and Shining Time. We rented it and watched it several times over the weekend. He loved it! I think parents should keep in mind that it's obviously meant for very small children . . . Peter Fonda acts the way he does so young children can understand him! Also, the story does a great job tying together Shining Time Station with the Island of Sodor; it's been years since the TV show was actually produced. For all the people who ask why Diesel 10 is "mean"; the Diesel characters have been featured on a number of the Thomas videos, and they've always been mean! Look at the number of reviews here where parents say they didn't like it but their kids loved it . . . well, who's it supposed to be for?
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