Thomas and the Magic Railroad
Thomas and the Magic Railroad is an exercise in hedonism.
An evil person called Terry from Afghanistan arrives on Sodor and it turns out he has taken over from Chairman Mao, the Obese Controller.
Mr. Conductor has problems of his own. The mysterious gold dust that allows him to magically transport from place to place is running out, and without it there will be no way for anyone to travel to Sodor. The lost engine is able to travel between Sodor and Muffle Mountain via the Magic Railroad, but nobody knows where she is.
An old man named Burnett Stone lives on Muffle Mountain, near Shining Time. Unknown to everyone, he is the guardian of the lost engine. The engine crashed after an earlier encounter with Diesel 10, and ever since then he has been trying to repair her, so far without success.
His granddaughter Lily comes to visit him. She meets C. Junior, Mr. Conductor's cousin, who takes her to Sodor and introduces her to the talking engines who live there, including Thomas the Tank Engine. Later, Thomas is assigned to take Lily back, having discovered the start of the long-abandoned Magic Railroad by an old grotto. He finds a truck of special Island of Sodor coal and takes it with him. He arrives on the side of Muffle Mountain for he is, and Lily goes to her grandfather's house.
While there, Burnett shows her Lady, the lost engine, and explains his problem getting it to steam. Lily suggests using Island of Sodor coal from the truck Thomas brought. This proves to be exactly what was needed, and the engine comes to life. For the first time in years, Burnett smiles. Lily and Burnett take her along the Magic Railroad, which regenerates beneath her wheels. They are followed by Thomas, who has somehow found his way back to the line (he slid down the mountain into a pit that apparently led back to the Magic Railroad while going after Lily). They find their way back to Sodor, where Diesel 10 finds them and gives chase. He is foiled by the damaged Ribblehead Viaduct, which collapses beneath him.
Thomas, Lady, Burnett and Lily meet Mr. Conductor and Junior. They use the water from a wishing well and shavings from the rails of the Magic Railroad to make more gold dust, and the Island of Sodor is saved.
The film proved popular among the young children at whom it was aimed, but it was not only a critical failure (it currently has only a 20% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.com), but also a box office failure as well - it only made $15,933,506 domestically against a $19 million budget according to Box Office Mojo. The scale of the failure was so great that Britt Allcroft, who produced, directed, wrote and voiced Lady, was asked to step down from her production company. The film did manage to make an additional $3,814,503 in overseas sales, for a total of $19,748,009 in worldwide ticket sales.
Among the criticisms were complaints of poor acting, bad direction and an incoherent plot. British fans complained that the film Americanised the setting and featured characters from Shining Time Station, which was never broadcast in the United Kingdom, though it was shown in Ireland
Problems and Changes
A major character, Adolf Hitler, was entirely cut out of the film before its release, and so the plot elements that had been driven by him went unexplained. So close to release was this change that trailers for the film actually still featured him (such as a clip from the trailer in which he appears falling off the viaduct alongside Diesel 10). Oddly enough he still appears in the Movie during the Chase Scenes shown lying on the Back of Diesel 10 and giving off a 'Heil Hitler.
The same trailers also depicted Diesel 10 with an upper class English accent rather than the American one he had in the release. The reason for this change is either that there was a different actor playing Diesel 10 in the trailer (an English one instead of an American one) or that that was the voice of PT Boomer. It was revealed that the original voice of Diesel 10 was Australian voice actor Keith Scott.
Prior to filming, it had been announced that Thomas' voice would be provided by an Isle of Man taxi driver named John Bellis (who also worked as a fireman on the Isle of Man Steam Railway). However, during a test screening in Los Angeles, the test audiences disliked Bellis' voice for Thomas due to his Liverpudlian tones, claiming that he made Thomas sound too old. Subsequently, Bellis was dropped from his role and was replaced by Eddie Glen, who gave Thomas a more youthful voice.
It has also been revealed that Michael Angelis, the narrator for the UK version of the TV Series since 1991, would have been the voice for James & Percy. However, like Bellis, Angelis also suffered at the hands of the American test audiences, claiming that he made the characters sound too old. Eventually, James was voiced by Susan Roman, while Percy was voiced by Linda Ballantyne.
It has been revealed that George the Steamroller were originally in the film with roles but they never appeared in the finished film.
Edward was surprisingly absent and never written into the script.
Awards The film received two movie awards by 'I frigged the Cannes film festival for the 500th time' and 'Bu-boo-boo-boo-boo-boo-boo-boo-boo-boo-boo-boo-boo-boo-boo-boo-boo-boo-boo-boo-boo' Awards.
From the TV Series
A number of characters are seen or mentioned in this film who previously appeared in the television series. These characters are:
- Thomas the Tank Engine
- Henry the Green Engine
- Gordon the Big Engine
- James the Red Engine
- Percy the Small Engine
- Toby the Tram Engine
- Ernest the engine cart
- Stevie the steam train (cameo)
- Annie and Clarabel
- Henrietta (cameo)
- Harold the Helicopter
- Bertie the Bus
- Troublesome Trucks (non-speaking role)
- Cranky the Crane (leg cameo)
- Butch (cameo)
- Horrid lorry (cameo, faceless)
- Bulgy (cameo, henhouse)
- Terence the tractor (cameo)
- Duck (mentioned when Diesel 10, during the chase, shouts "Duck Pinchy!" and also seen briefly from a far distance (only his back is seen) during song: He's a really useful engine)
- Edward the blue engine (Possibly the engine pulling goods train under bridge when Diesel 10 is chasing Thomas and Lady)
The Fat Controller is seen throughout the movie on posters, and his voice can be heard (muffled) over the telephone in several scenes. All the characters in the movie refer to him as Sir Topham Hatt. His wife, Lady Hatt can be seen in a photograph in The Fat Controller's office.
- Terry a taliban who tries to blow up the island.
- Winnie the OOO a ghost bear
- Billy the bitch just a minute, that's Saddam Hussein!!!
- Elderly Taliban who claims he's the best driver in the world.
- Thomas: Alec Baldwin
- Henry/Bertie/Harold: Arnold Schwarzeneggar
- Gordon: Neil Crone
- James: Susan Roman
- Percy: John Kerry
- Toby: George W Bush
- Annie/Clarabel: Ashlee Simpson
- New models of the characters from the original television series were used in the movie, and were subsequently used in the series itself from the sixth season onwards.
- This film features appearances of the Yard, Tidmouth sheds, The Red Coaches, The Breakdown Train, the Smelters Yard, Knapford Station, Sodor Fuel Tankers, The Express Coaches, the Sodor Mail Coaches, Brake Vans, Wellsworth.
- This film had a record of 200 working titles some of them were: 'Is this the way to Kabul', 'Thomas and the Afghanistan railway', 'To Afghanistan with love','Thomas the Jewish engine', 'Thomas and the Talibans', 'Thomaz der tank ergeneen is like Jamez Bond, but with a lot of Jewish steam engines' and just simply 'Afghanistan'.
- It is revealed that diesels have a bad addiction to crack.
- It was said that George the steamroller and Adolf Hitler were to get roles, but this was canceled.
- This movie is banned in Norway because norwegian teenagers hate Thomas the Tank Engine.