uk cinemas listings

UK Cinemas

Cinema listings with film information and movie reviews

Entertainments Search:

Thomas And The Magic Railroad

The little tank engine that could hooks up with Hollywood for his newest adventure.


Based on the children's books that spawned an internationally successful television series, the film takes big-screen audiences to the magical island of Sodor. Thomas and his engine friends are working under the jolly Mr. Conductor (a superhappy Alec Baldwin), who uses magic dust to travel to the human world. But he's losing his sparkle (literally), and the secret lies somewhere with a magic railroad and lost engine (it gets a little thin from there). A vacationing 12-year-old (Mara Wilson) visiting her grandfather (Peter Fonda) factors into the story. The point of the story is that little engines could do big things, but that point is mostly drawn by repeated declarations.


Who knew Baldwin was this chipper? Although a little jarring at first, Baldwin -- to his credit -- throws his entire self into Mr. Conductor, not once hinting that he's just doing the film as a favor. Fonda is on the other end of the spectrum, playing a melancholy grandfather as gracefully and subtlely as Baldwin is flashy. Wilson isn't given a whole lot to do but tag along and appear in awe, but the laughs come from Michael E. Rodgers, who plays Baldwin's beach loving Scottish cousin, adding some much-needed slapstick.


''Thomas'' director Britt Allcroft gives the film a bright, colorful texture, mixing live action and animation. But when trains don't move their lips as they talk (their mouths seem to freeze in various expressions throughout the film, while the eyes roll), the movie feels dated.

Bottom Line

The magic dust seems to work on kids, but adults will likely hitch a ride back.


Starring Alec Baldwin, Peter Fonda, Mara Wilson, Didi Conn and Russell Means.

Directed by Britt Allcroft. Produced by Britt Alcroft and Phil Fehrte. Screenplay adapted by Britt Allcroft. Released by Destination Films.