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An American version of the popular British children's program. Every episode, the kids (and sometimes the adults, too) at Shining Time Station learn some special lessons about life and ... See full summary »
Brian Edward O'Connor,
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 the nasty diesel engines. 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. Written by
Jon Reeves <email@example.com>
Okay, I understand that this is a kid's movie, and that it's intended to simply be fun. However, that's no excuse for the wreck of a screenplay provided by Britt Allcroft. Some day I may be compelled out of sheer obsession to document the many problems with this movie, but the most fundamental flaw is the continued use of the "Shining Time" additions to the Awdry stories. Didi Conn is the only thing shining in Shining Time, created for US TV audiences to stitch together the excellent model railroad Thomas stories. The only thing is, they didn't need to be stitched together, as they stand up just fine on their own in book and video. Worse, the Shining Time portions on TV are excruciating to watch...and now the whole premise is brought to a movie.
Now it seems there's some kind of magic railroad connecting a mythical British island railroad to Shining Time, clearly in the USA. In fact, it must be in Lancaster, PA, USA, because the Strasburg Railroad locomotive #475 makes a few appearances in the movie (in Strasburg and Harrisburg, PA) and I doubt it's ever been across the Atlantic.
Anyway, to make a long and painful story short, there's almost no motivation for any of the characters in this story to do anything at all. Somehow Mr. Conductor (not an Awdry creation) is running out of gold dust, which will somehow make his "universe" fall apart. There's no mention as to why supplies would dwindle to nothing when it's the only thing holding Sodor together - Mr. Conductor is pretty irresponsible if you ask me. He summons his idiot brother who is no help at all, and together they and the rest of the characters stumble on the answer and save the day in a completely underwhelming conclusion.
The gold dust emergency happens to coincide with the apparent return of a diesel engine intent on destroying steam engines. The whole evil-diesel and his predictable sidekick-duo are completely unnecessary and just scare the little kids (like my two-year-old). I assume that the marketing folks needed a few more new characters to work into the merchandising mix because there's no excuse for the plot damage caused by the diesel.
Your kids may enjoy the railroad scenes, but don't watch this movie unless you want your brains to leak out of your head and turn to mush. The models are great, but the acting and writing are ridiculous. Avoid at all costs!!!
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