Thomas and the Magic Railroad (2000)

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Released 10-Mar-2004

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Childrens Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 2000
Running Time 82:35
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Britt Allcroft
Studio
Distributor
ABC Films
Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Alec Baldwin
Cody McMains
Russell Means
Peter Fonda
Jared Wall
Laura Bower
Didi Conn
Mara Wilson
Lori Hallier
Michael E. Rodgers
Edward Glen
Neil Crone
Colm Feore
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $19.95 Music Hummie Mann


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Pan & Scan English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

    As someone who enjoys watching movies of many different types, I always try to find something in a film which entertains, amuses or interests me. Usually this is possible, but Thomas and the Magic Railroad is quite possibly the worst movie I have ever seen. I knew this had not received very good press when I chose it to review, however, I thought that it couldn't be that bad especially considering that it was based upon one of the best-loved children's series of all time. How wrong I was!

    It is hard to know where to begin to describe this film. Basically, what we have here is the complete butchery of a children's classic. The train engines who are the stars of the children's series are relegated to bit players supporting a complex and confusing story about Mr Conductor (Alec Baldwin on the happy pills), who seems to be the Fat Controller character with extra political correctness added. He is losing his sparkle which allows him to travel between the real world and the island of Sodor. This seems to be related to the return of a nasty diesel engine, Diesel 10, who is trying to destroy the steam engines. A variety of other characters are involved including a girl called Lily (Mara Wilson) and her grandfather (Peter Fonda, phoning in one facial expression and no emotion whatsoever). I could attempt to explain the rest of the plot but even if I do your children will not understand it. Even if by some miracle your children do understand the plot, they will either be bored or terrified of Diesel 10 like my young son was.

    The best pieces are when Thomas and the other train engines are onscreen but these are few and far between because incredible amounts of exposition are required to try to explain the inexplicable plot. I should mention that the only piece of intended humour in the whole film, a joke where a cell-phone was shaped like a shell and referred to as a 'shell-phone', was not funny.

    I think the only answer is for all people involved in this production to be rounded up and told to never make movies again, especially not ones for children.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video transfer of this title is quite good, if you are still interested. 

    The movie is presented in 1.33:1 pan and scan.

    The picture was clear and clear throughout with only some minor artefacts. Shadow detail was not great with some of the night scenes being quite dark and scary. There was no low level noise.

    The colour is good all round, with many bright colours being used as you would expect from a children's film. No chroma noise was present. There was one section of colour bleeding about 60:00 where Thomas appeared to have a halo of blue around him while travelling through a dark tunnel of green.

    Some minor artefacts were present mostly consisting of small specks of black. These were not distracting (unfortunately). Also, there was some pixelization during the credits at 78:37.    

    There are no subtitles on this disc.
    

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The audio quality is also very good.

    This DVD contains only one audio option, an English Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack encoded at 224 Kb/s. It was not surround encoded.    

    Dialogue was clear and easy to understand and there were no problems with audio sync.    

    The score by Hummie Mann and other music used in the soundtrack was quite good if somewhat cutesy.    

    When played using ProLogicII, some minor sounds were heard in the surround speakers especially during louder scenes.    

    The subwoofer was used sparingly.

    

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    There are no extras on this disc. The menu had music and some motion and allowed for chapters to be selected individually or the entire program to be played.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;

    The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;

    The Region 1 disc appears to be superior based upon these extras. It seems to carry the same pan and scan transfer.

Summary

    This is a very ordinary children's film which takes a children's classic and destroys it.

    The video quality is good.

    The audio quality is good.

    There are no extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Friday, May 07, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDToshiba 1200, using Component output
DisplaySony FD Trinitron Wega KV-AR34M36 80cm. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL)/480i (NTSC).
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD Player, Dolby Digital and DTS.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersBose 201 Direct Reflecting (Front), Phillips SB680V (Surround), Phillips MX731 (Center), Yamaha YST SW90 (Sub)

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