Thomas and the Magic Railroad
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All aboard for fun-fueled adventure in Thomas the Tank Engine's first film ever, starring Peter Fonda, Mara Wilson and Alec Baldwin. For as long as anyone can remember, the Island of Sodar has been the realm of enchantment, innocence, and talking trains. The steam engines suddenly find themselves heading for a heap of trouble at the claw of the evil Diesel #10. This one's a totally terrible trainwith devious plans to dominate the other engines by finding and crushing their dwindling supply of magical gold dust. Lily (Mara Wilson) has a hunch that her grandfather (Peter Fonda) holds the key to rescuing the little trains in his workshop on Muffle Mountain. She meets up with Mr. Conductor (Alec Baldwin) and, along with a caboose of colorful characters, they return the sparkle to their island!
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Because my boys, 7, 5, and 2 yrs old, love it. And don't just love it, but are mesmerized. The live action-collaboration with the old model railroad sets is adorable. The 7 yr old, who had long ago left behind Thomas for Ninjago and the Clone Wars, sat down with his middlest and littlest brother and hugged them as they watched. Then he said under his breath "I Always Knew Thomas was real....." The 5 and 2 have never doubted.
This live-action Thomas movie lets them Believe in the magic in a delightful way. And the tenth or so time I let them watch, I sat down with them and watched too. It isn't half bad, and it is even funny. Every time it seems too harrowing, it backs off just a bit and is safe again for preschoolers. They will love it.
This is a feature-length Thomas film that doesn't conform to any of the normal conventions of any versions of the TV show the way other feature Thomas Films do (Like the Great Discovery). The animated part of the film focuses around Thomas, Lady and Diesel 10 and only shows other trains slightly. The live-action portion of the film features Alec Baldwin and Peter Fonda in strange roles. The narrative of this story is all over the place and can't hone in on a style of art direction. The tone is first whimsical, then nostalgic, then melancholy then rowdy. All over the place.