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Thomas and the Magic Railroad

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Thomas and the Magic Railroad
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Thomas and the magic railroad poster.jpeg

Sometimes, test audiences aren't really useful, as they can cause confusion and delay.
Genre: Adventure
Fantasy
Directed By: Britt Allcroft
Produced By: Britt Allcroft
Phil Fehrle
Written By: Britt Allcroft
Starring: Peter Fonda
Mara Wilson
Alec Baldwin
Eddie Glen
Britt Allcroft
Didi Conn
Russell Means
Cody McMains
Michael E. Rodgers
Neil Crone
Kevin Frank
Photography: Color
Cinematography: Paul Ryan
Distributed By: Destination Films (United States)
Icon Film Distribution (United Kingdom)
Release Date: July 14, 2000 (United Kingdom)
July 26, 2000 (United States)
Runtime: 85 minutes
Country: United States
United Kingdom
Canada
Language: English
Budget: $19 million
Box Office: $19.7 million


Thomas and the Magic Railroad is a 2000 British-American adventure fantasy film based on the British TV series Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends, The Railway Series by Reverend Wilbert Awdry, and the American TV series Shining Time Station. This was the first Thomas the Tank Engine feature-length movie. When the film was released, it was panned by critics and fans alike due to the acting, special effects, absence of Thomas, the underdevelopment of the human cast, the movie's plot, and lack of fidelity to the source material. The movie's budget was $19 million and grossed $19.7 million, making it a box-office bomb.

Plot

Thomas the Tank Engine and his friends are being threatened by diesel engines like the surly Diesel 10 and his sidekicks Splatter and Dodge. Even the magical Mr. Conductor, who has always traveled between the train world and the human world of Shining Time Station, is losing his powers and sparkle. In the middle of this crisis, Lily meets up with Mr. Conductor on the way to visit her lonely grandfather Burnett Stone. Brave Thomas reminds them all that "even little engines can do big things."

Bad Qualities

  1. False advertising for 2 reasons:
    • The biggest problem with this movie and why it got hugely brought down is that the title is incredibly misleading. While Thomas is the title character in this movie and does contribute to the plot, he gets very little screen-time with only 11 minutes (and also his Friends), and only 12% of the film focuses on him. In fact, the movie could be written without him and literally nothing would change after all, as the movie focuses more on the human characters, both original and from Shining Time Station, rather than Thomas and his friends, this is because the test audiences thought that the audience didn't want screen time for the main characters anymore and focus more on something else. Here's a video dissecting how little screen-time he gets compared to literally 85 minutes in the movie. He only serves as a plot device, not a character.
    • One of the trailers shows P.T. Boomer included in the scene where Diesel 10 falls off the viaduct as it's collapsing, but he never appears anywhere in the movie due to him being cut from the final product after the trailer premiered everywhere (see further down.).
      • There's also a problem with Thomas, he himself also doesn't get enough character development, resulting in him coming off as underdeveloped and difficult to relate to, unlike the show.
  2. Mediocre writing, even for the characters, that tries to be a step up to the show but fails.
  3. The premise for this movie is very poorly-written, highly confusing, extremely bland, boring, clichéd and generic that kids, teens and even adults wouldn't understand what's going on throughout the movie, that Thomas and his friends are getting attacked by diesels and Mr. Conductor is losing magic, that it feels more like a feature half-hour episode, just expanded for the most part (except real-life humans were part of it), rather than being a real premise for a theatrical film adaptation based off a television show.
  4. Speaking of Thomas's friends, Edward, one of Thomas's closest friends, is absent in this movie. This infuriated fans because he was the first engine to be introduced in The Railway Series. His absence was due to his model not being finished on time.
  5. Poorly executed, obnoxious, underdeveloped and uninteresting characters (particularly the human cast). Mr. Conductor (Alec Baldwin) and Junior (Michael E. Rodgers) are decent characters though, but the rest of the live-action cast aren't that great.
  6. The movie can't decide if the main character is Thomas, Mr. Conductor, Lily or Burnett Stone.
  7. While the acting is alright, it still has its share of issues:
    • Peter Fonda sounds and looks really depressed and unenthusiastic in almost every scene he's in throughout the movie.
    • Lily (Mara Wilson's character) is a generic, one-dimensional, weakly-executed, clichéd, uninteresting, bland, and boring character who not only takes away the spotlight for Thomas the Tank Engine, but she also painfully under acts, with her mouth appearing to never be closed. In fact, this was her final film role before she stepped away from acting to focus on her writing career (though she has since returned for minor roles in television and web shows).
    • Didi Conn does a fine job reprising her role as Stacey Jones from Shining Time Station, though she only appears for a few minutes. However, in the dream sequence where she's in a deserted Shining Time, Didi sounds like she's reading off a cue card dangling from the camera.
    • Eddie Glen, while he does a decent job voicing Thomas, can sound annoying and out of place at times.
    • James' voice given by Susan Roman just sound ghastly and awful as well, we're not lying, hear it for yourself and you'll be disgusted, it sounds way too feminine and unfitting for him to be a male character. In fact, her voice makes James sound so feminine, it makes Veronica Taylor and Sarah Natochenny (who voiced Ash Ketchum in Pokémon), Nancy Cartwright (who voices Bart in The Simpsons), and Debi Derryberry (who voices Jimmy Neutron and Draculaura from Monster High) look bad in comparison. He was originally going to be voiced by Michael Angelis (the UK narrator for the series at the time), but test audiences said he sounded "too old", as mentioned below.
  8. Executive Meddling: The movie was heavily altered due to lots of negative feedback from test audiences, with many of these alterations negatively impacting the movie's quality.
    • The removal of P.T. Boomer, the film's original main antagonist. He was cut due to test audiences finding him too scary for younger viewers, but parts of his character were handed over to Diesel 10.
    • Removal of George the Steamroller, who was originally cast as one of Diesel 10's henchmen. Most of his scenes would've featured him destroying buffers and he would've tried to destroy the ones connected to the magic railroad. At the end of the movie, he would have redeemed himself by blocking Splatter and Dodge's way with a boulder.
    • Incorrect voice actor changes for Thomas and his friends (except for Lady, who is voiced by Britt Allcroft). All of them are voiced by Canadians with quick-and-dirty British accents, which feels like a serious miscast for them because Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends is a British children's television series. While many of the final film's voice actors are suitable enough for their characters and are mostly decent, James did not get lucky on this end. He and Percy were originally going to be voiced by the show's narrator for the UK dub of Seasons 3-16, the late Michael Angelis, but got replaced by Susan Roman and Linda Ballantyne, respectively, because of complaints about Angelis' voice sounding too old for the characters. Percy's final voice by Linda Ballantyne is decent and makes some sense since he's the youngest of the Steam Team, but James' final voice by Roman ended up sounding way too feminine for him.
    • Diesel 10's original voice actor, Keith Scott, ended up getting replaced by Neil Crone because of test audiences considering his voice was too scary for the younger viewers.
    • Despite Neil Crone getting the role, he tried giving Diesel 10 a gruff Russian accent (just like Boris and Natasha in The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle and Friends) at first, but the test audiences thought he would sound offensive, so he instead gave Diesel 10 more of a New Jersey accent, which at least sounds better for Diesel 10, and it came out brilliant in the end.
    • Plot holes and unexplained details resulting from scenes being cut that were "too confusing for both critics and audiences" (see the "Trivia" section). Some of them included the reason why Diesel 10 came to Sodor, why Tidmouth Sheds looks like it's under repair and Burnett Stone (played by Peter Fonda) telling P.T. Boomer during the climactic chase scene "No you won't because the magic you refused to believe in will get the better of you!" He says this to Diesel 10 in the final version, which creates a massive plot hole since Diesel 10 does believe in magic and not Boomer since he only believes in money).
  9. The film is meant to be a crossover of Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends and Shining Time Station, but the fact that Shining Time Station is not explained well and said show never aired in the UK is confusing for UK viewers. The show never aired on ITV, or even the BBC for that matter (a 1995 documentary of The Railway Series aside).
    • Not only that, but even US, Canadian, Mexican, and New Zealand viewers who are familiar with the show would find that it isn't very well-represented in the movie. The film only has three of the major Shining Time Station characters, these being Stacey Jones, Mr. Conductor, and Billy Twofeathers, of which only Stacey's actress (Didi Conn) reprises her role from the series, with Alec Baldwin succeeding George Carlin as Mr. Conductor (himself succeeding Ringo Starr in the role) and the late Russell Means replacing Tom Jackson as Billy Twofeathers. Otherwise, there are very few elements from Shining Time Station, so the movie could just as easily be considered Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends featured in a generic train station in a town story.
  10. Shining Time is a combination of areas filmed in the United States, Canada, and the Isle of Man, which don't combine each other very well.
  11. The titular station interior is a new set made for the film, and naturally, is a bit different from that of the show, which is understandable for a theatrical film, but the new interior, particularly the mural on the trackside wall, looks like a cheap imitation of the one seen in the show and lacks the character of the latter.
  12. Mediocre to subpar and lazy editing. For example, P.T Boomer, the original villain, can still be seen in some shots on top of Diesel 10 in figurine form.
  13. The Island of Sodor is portrayed by model dioramas, with model vehicles and scenery, just as it is (or was) in Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends, which looks painfully fake when the live-action characters are present on the island.
    • On that topic, the movie's art direction received mixed to negative reactions from fans since the realistic people and settings clash with Thomas and the company's more cartoony aesthetics and it's very inconsistent.
  14. The engines on Sodor do not have drivers or firemen, who are needed to run the engines in the television series (there was even an episode where Thomas thought he could do his job without a driver and ended up crashing into a house!). In fact, Sodor appears to be completely devoid of any humans.
    • Lady, a magical engine, requires a driver (Burnett Stone) in order to move.
    • Bertie the Bus has a driver inside him, but it is a model figure, which is really weird considering all the human characters that come to the island from Shining Time remain as live actors.
  15. While the He's a Really Useful Engine musical number by Hummie Mann is nice, it's set to a very pointless montage of Thomas and his friends doing stuff, made weird by the lack of humans (including The Fat Controller/Sir Topham Hatt) as described above.
    • Also, despite being a song about Thomas, it's really misleading because more than half the clips are of his friends rather than him shown in this clip.
  16. There are several flaws on Sodor, such as several trains without brake-vans, Thomas seemingly doing whatever he wants rather than working on his branch-line, and Henry needing Welsh coal (this issue had long been rectified in the series). Series fans have often criticized HiT Entertainment, which acquired the franchise two years after the movie was made, for these issues.
  17. There's a particularly confusing detail in the scene where Lily travels in a train, which involves a man using a laptop despite the fact that the Thomas & Friends TV series takes place during the mid 20th-century.
  18. The story is about Mr. Conductor going to Sodor to watch after Thomas and the railway while The Fat Controller/Sir Topham Hatt is on vacation. This is unrealistic, as the railway would have a large staff (which, as mentioned in #15, is nowhere to be seen) performing various tasks throughout, so The Fat Controller/Sir Topham Hatt would have plenty of people looking after things in his absence.
    • Of course, The Fat Controller/Sir Topham is only seen in portraits throughout the film!
  19. The dialogue can range from being rather laughable, cheesy, corny, kiddish, cliché, atrocious to downright clumsy, such as "Well, my lady, the lights are all green for you now! Green for glory!", especially with the engines.
  20. The film heavily deviates from both shows. Magic is never shown in Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends and Shining Time Station, as said shows are meant to be realistic, with a few exceptions.
  21. Some important characters from both Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends and Shining Time Station are absent.
    • Edward, one of Thomas's closest friends, is absent in this movie. This infuriated fans because he was the first engine to be introduced in The Railway Series. His absence was due to his model not being finished on time.
    • Other characters from Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends such as Duck and Oliver are also absent.
    • Most of the Shining Time Station characters are absent, as described above, not the least of which being Horace Schemer, the show's breakout character. This is somewhat understandable since his actor, Brian O'Connor, retired from acting in the mid-1990s.
  22. The green-screen and blue-screen effects are extremely awful and clearly visible on many occasions.
  23. Poor cinematography from Paul Ryan.
  24. The pacing is, even for early 2000s standards, way too slow for the most part, which is very odd for a movie adaptation based off a television series.
  25. Because Thomas and his friends get very little screen-time in the film and the fact that Shining Time Station takes up the majority of it, there's absolutely no point to them at all other than being used for a lot of unnecessary filler (except Thomas and Diesel 10).
    • This also applies to Splatter and Dodge, who seem to do absolutely nothing to the plot, other than being used for filler, rather than being Diesel 10's "henchman".
    • Although Shining Time Station takes up most of the screen-time, there are very few familiar elements from that show, as described in BQ#10. The movie actually has more familiar characters and elements from Thomas & Friends.
  26. Having been a high-budget theatrical film, one would expect it to be filmed with a higher quality camera than the show. Nope, the same 35mm film camera used for the show is still used.
  27. Diesel 10's evil plan to kill the Mr. Conductor was considered rather dark for a G-rated movie and at the same time his death threats of killing Lady, Burnett Stone along with Thomas and the engines is very uncreative but in reality against the law to give somebody a bunch of death threats.
  28. During the chase scene it manages to a create a plot hole when Diesel 10 got told off by Burnett Stone that he refused to be believe in magic and decided to care less and take out his angry exploding temper tantrum on Thomas who foiled his plans by attempting to bang the claw on top of Thomas' cab roof up to the point that his face becomes redder and redder and redder to an exploding dark red by bursting out his angrily aggressive growling at Thomas so loudly that he continued attempting to get Thomas derailed.
  29. What makes this even worse is that this movie seems to have been intended as the "Shining Time Station" series finale. With so little of the show's familiar characters and elements, this is far from an ideal sendoff for such a well received series.

Good Qualities

  1. There are a few memorable lines, such as "Sparkle, sparkle, sparkle!", "Little engines can do big things!" and "It's the old teapot! Smash him!"
  2. Despite Thomas's friends being used for filler, the introduction scene of him and his friends in this movie is great, and the interactions are not too bad despite being pure filler, with Diesel 10 perhaps being the best of the new engines. He, Splatter, and Dodge are entertaining villains, despite Splatter and Dodge being filler and having no purpose in the storyline. It can be a good movie for kids to get to know Thomas the Tank Engine.
  3. The climactic chase scene involving Thomas, Lady, Diesel 10, and Burnett Stone is epic, despite the massive plot hole of what Burnett says to Diesel 10.
  4. This film managed to be the very first time that the engines are given actors for the very first time, though they don't have them again until 2009 with "Hero of the Rails".
  5. While it has it's bad (or average) parts for the acting, the acting and voice acting are decent for the most part. While Thomas and Percy's voices are tolerable, Henry, Gordon, Splatter, Dodge, Lady, Harold, Diesel 10, Bertie, Toby, Annie, and Clarabel have the best voices in the entire movie. Even Alec Baldwin had a ball working on the film, despite his overacting. Out of all of the performances, it is safe to say that Diesel 10's voice (given by Neil Crone) is the best in the movie, despite what he said to Burnett Stone, whom the latter says about the magic he refuses to believe in.
  6. The scene where Toby distracts the diesels after learning about their plan is another good scene as he's still in character unlike future seasons and is really funny.
  7. Burnett Stone has a very touching backstory that gives out a pretty good reason for why he is depressed for most of the movie, as well as the Director’s Cut.
  8. The scene where Diesel 10 holds Mr. Conductor over the viaduct to tell him where the buffers are is a pretty awesome scene.
  9. While a bit out-of-place and misleading, the movie's poster does look cool and gives out a somewhat magical vibe.
  10. Beautiful and amazing soundtrack composed by Hummie Mann. The one big highlight includes the cover of "He's a Really Useful Engine", originally composed by Mike O'Donnell and Junior Campbell.
  11. There are some pretty funny moments here and there, such as:
    • The scene where Harold the Helicopter accidentally blows sneezing powder on Thomas, Splatter, and Dodge.
    • The scene where Mr. Conductor talks to a toy ball and a baseball bat.
    • Many of Diesel 10's moments, especially in one scene where he lectures Splatter and Dodge on "how to stop being stupid", only for him to get his comeuppance by getting covered in coal while the other engines laugh at him.
    • The changing facial expressions on The Fat Controller/Sir Topham Hatt's office portrait when Mr. Conductor is trying on his top hat without his consent.
  12. Mr. Conductor's cousin, Junior (played by Michael E. Rodgers), is a pretty funny and entertaining comic relief character.
  13. While only the script and little footage of it exists, the original director's cut is far superior.
    • Thankfully, the lost footage scenes and shots have finally appeared in the Blu-ray version in 2020.
  14. According to the TTTE Wiki, the movie's version of "Really Useful Engine" got translated into French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Indonesian, Arabic, Catalan, Czech, etc.
  15. The Japanese dub is excellent and is mostly better than the English version, and can be found here. What's even noticeable is that Leo Morimoto is the narrator while Mr. Conductor is played by Masashi Ebara, who would go on to play as James from Seasons 9-24 when the show was dubbed from Aoni Production to 81 Produce for the Japanese dub of the series at the time.
  16. Despite the major flaws, it's a decent enough movie to look at judging by the visuals, the scenery, the sets, the music, and the model work of the engines, rolling stock, and vehicles, and does not come off as a cheap, void of life, and lazy cash grab at all.
  17. Solid directing by Britt Allcroft, and it's clear that she made the film not as a soulless cash-grab or a metaphor to ruin the franchise's reputation with the general public, but as a passion project, which sadly did not work out for her from what she had hoped. Proving evidence she had good intentions working on the movie this whole time.

Videos

Reception

As of December 2015, Thomas and the Magic Railroad received mixed-to-negative reviews from audiences, but was heavily panned by critics, with an approval rating of 21% on Rotten Tomatoes based on reviews from 67 critics, and with an average rating of 3.9/10. The site's critical consensus stated: "Kids these days demand cutting edge special effects or at least a clever plot with cute characters. This movie has neither, having lost in it's Americanization what the British originally did so right." Metacritic gave the film a score of 19 out of 100, based on reviews from 23 critics, indicating "overwhelming dislike". Most of the film's negative reviews contain i.e. faux; the lack of charm, the humor, the lack of realism, poor dialogue and jokes, and no charisma, because of the negative reception that Thomas and the Magic Railroad received throughout the years, Lily, Burnett Stone, Patch, the rest of the Shining Time Station characters, and the Magic Railroad never existed again. Despite the negativity from critics and audiences, the movie would gain somewhat of a cult following amongst some Thomas fans through a nostalgic view, and is considered to be a guilty pleasure amongst many.

Box Office

The film grossed $19.7 million worldwide. During it's second weekend of screening in Britain, it took in £170,000.

Trivia

  • The film had two dubs in Latin America; Thomas y el Ferrocarril Mágico (which is a literal translation of the original name and was the one released in theaters and home media), and Thomas y el Tren Mágico (which means Thomas and the Magic Train and was a made-for-TV dub). There's also another title from an extremely rare American Spanish VHS called Thomas y la Via de Tren Magica, but it is unknown if it's another Latin Spanish dub or just a VHS release of the theatrical dub.
  • After the film was released in cinemas, many scenes were removed from the film for various reasons, with a couple of them even passing into urban legend-like status, before one of them finally being shown in public.
  • The original antagonist was Pete Tiberius "Passing Thorugh" Boomer (also known as P.T. Boomer), played by late Canadian actor Doug Lennox, who was known for his role as Albert the Bartender from the X-Men films and Dirtbag from Police Academy. Boomer was heavily featured in the trailers, but he was removed from the theatrical release and Diesel 10 was made the main antagonist. This was a call purely based on young test audiences getting scared by Boomer, so all of his scenes were cut and even re-dubbed without mentioning him.
    • P.T. Boomer has become so popular with the fans that, after footage was found of the original chase scene on YouTube, fans made a ton of fanart of him, even paying tribute to Lennox when he passed away on November 28, 2015.
  • Some voice actors of the engines that were featured in the trailers never appeared in the film and were replaced, like John Bellis (a fireman and part-time taxi driver) as Thomas, due to the test audiences thinking that he sounded too old, and Keith Scott as Diesel 10 (who is best known as the narrator from Disney's George of the Jungle and The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle). Like Boomer, he was deemed too frightening for young children, then it was changed to another actor, Neil Crone, who gave Diesel 10 a Russian accent. The audiences were worried that it sounded too offensive, so he gave him a New Jersey accent instead.
  • Some characters were supposed to appear in the film, but their roles were cut. Cranky the Crane was supposed to drop an oil drum on Diesel 10 and George the Steamroller was supposed to be one of Diesel 10's henchmen who destroys all of the buffers on Sodor to find the ones leading to the Magic Railroad.
  • The original footage of the movie became so popular with the Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends fans, that they wanted to see the director's cut version of the movie. If you want to find out about the history of the film, you can check and join on the Lost Media Wiki, Sodor Island, Restore The Magic's Facebook, and the official Thomas and the Magic Railroad wiki.
  • A sequel had been planned for this film but, due to the failure of this film, it was cancelled and no other worldwide theatrical Thomas films have been released, though there are some other theatrical appearances of Thomas like the specials, some rail excursions, and the 2015 film Ant-Man featured a memorable appearance of a Bachmann model of Thomas. Diesel 10 and Lady would appear in later future direct-to-DVD films such as Calling All Engines (which was the only one that Lady appeared in), The Great Discovery, Misty Island Rescue and Day of the Diesels. Diesel 10 would also appear in one episode of the seventeenth season.
  • Paramount Pictures was originally going to release this film.
  • Out of every engine that appeared in this film, 2 engines that appeared in this film didn't have faces, but they are actually real locomotives.
    • Norfolk & Western Railway M Mastodon #475, built in June 1906 by the Baldwin Locomotive Works for the Norfolk & Western Railway, sent to the Strasburg Railroad in 1991 but didn't operate until 4 years later in the 1995 season, was disguised as Indian Valley #475.
    • Amtrak Genesis #111, built by the General Electric Company in 1997, was seen idling at the station during the one scene where Indian Valley #475 was departing.
  • The results of the film not only heightened the franchise's presence in the United States, but also promoted Gullane to consider producing spin-off shows surrounding Bertie and Harold in 2001. However, both plans were immediately scrapped in favour of another planned spin-off, Jack and the Sodor Construction Company, in 2003.
    • A 1996 newspaper claimed George Carlin would reprise his role as Mr. Conductor but Alec Baldwin was casted instead.
    • According to Britt Allcroft, the film was partially inspired by the fourth series episode, Thomas and the Special Letter.
    • Different versions of the original script can be found online.
    • According to David Axford, David Mitton had desired to incorporate characters from the TUGS franchise into the film as a tie-in through a scene where Thomas encountered them on a seaside run by. Many of their models were shipped over from the United Kingdom, but none were ultimately used in the film, due to a clash between Britt and David. Many of the models were damaged or destroyed during their transportation back to the United Kingdom.
    • John Barry originally signed on to be the film's composer, but left the project due to scheduling conflicts. He is still credited as the composer on the 1999 US teaser poster.
    • Before the film was released, a sequel was originally already being developed by Destination Films. However, due to the negative reception and poor box office bomb performance, the sequel was cancelled.
    • In the second half of both the UK and US trailers feature the instrumentals of the 1997 song, The World Is New by American band, Save Ferris.
    • This film marks the first of many things:
      • The first movie distributed by ABC Films along with ABC for Kids.
      • The first Thomas & Friends production to feature separate voice actors for the characters in the English dub and the first to use this format worldwide. This is the only time CGI animation was used until Thomas and the Billboard. Also, this would not be done fully again until nine years later, with 2009's Hero of the Rails, the first full CGI Thomas production, all the way to the twenty-fourth series.
      • The first appearance of Thomas' shocked face without his bucktooth since the second series episode, The Runaway, which continued to appear until the twelfth series.
      • The first time an engine yells "Shut Up" since the second series episode, Edward's Exploit. Diesel 10 says this to Pinchy he backs away from the sheds after harassing the engines.
      • The first production not to feature any narrow gauge engines since their debut in the fourth series.
      • The first in the series to have a railroad crossing sound effect.
      • The first appearance of the watermill since the third series episode, Thomas, Percy and the Post Train.
      • The first appearance of James' smug face re-casted as his sleeping face.
      • The first piece of Thomas & Friends media to be shown with PAL speedup in 25fps territories.
    • This film marks the only of a few things:
      • The only Thomas & Friends film to feature live actors.
      • The only production to have a first-person narrative until the twenty-second series episode, Number One Engine.
      • The only appearances of Lady and Diesel 10 until Calling All Engines!
      • The only special not to have narrow gauge engines until Tale of the Brave.
      • The only appearances of Splatter and Dodge. They were originally going to be included in the CGI specials, Day of the Diesels and The Great Race, but were replaced by Paxton and Sidney, and the Mainland Diesels (respectively).
      • The only time Neil Crone voices Gordon and the only special to have him as part of the voice cast until All Engines Go!
      • The only time where Diesel 10's shocked and worried facial expressions are used on screen.
      • The only fully worldwide theatrical Thomas film release to get released until the upcoming Untitled Marc Forster Film. A second one before the Marc Forster film named The Adventures of Thomas was in development by HiT Entertainment sometime around 2010, but was cancelled after Mattel acquired the company and years of repeated postponement. Many of the specials also received brief theatrical runs.
      • The only appearance of Killaban.
      • The only special in which Edward does not appear until the All Engines Go special, Race for the Sodor Cup.
      • The only time the Fat Controller does not physically appear on screen, although he is seen via portrait cameo.
      • The only time until the seventeenth series where all the engines aside from Thomas, Percy, and Toby have headlamps, albeit only used on the night scenes.
    • This film marks the last of a few things:
      • The last Thomas and Friends production ever produced in the 20th century.
      • The last production where Thomas' original wincing face mask is used. A new one would be gained for the seventh series until The Great Discovery.
      • Mara Wilson's last major film role before her ten year retirement from acting. She returned to the acting profession around 2016.
      • The last time in the franchise where a character says "Stupid" and "Shut up," likely to reduce more crass language on the show.
      • The last VHS/DVD to be released by DVD Acadamy in South Korea.
    • This special was never shown in Spain, Romania, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Hungary, Serbia, the Czech Republic, Poland and Indonesia.
    • This is the longest Thomas & Friends production ever made, running at 85 minutes (1 hour and 25 minutes) in the final cut, while running at 110 (1 hour and 50 minutes) in the uncut version.
    • Phil Fehrle and Shelley-Elizabeth Skinner made cameos in the film.
    • Didi Conn is the only actress from Shining Time Station to reprise her role in the film.
    • Edward was never featured in any script of the film. According to an interview with Phil Fehrle, there was not enough screen time or opportunity to utilise him in a way that added any real value to the film.
    • Twinkle Toes (the nickname that Diesel 10 uses to call Mr. Conductor and Junior) would be used by him once again with Sidney in the seventeenth series episode, The Missing Christmas Decorations.
    • John Bellis (the original voice of Thomas) is credited as "transportation coordinator."
    • People that worked on the original series also worked on this film. Namely, David Mitton (as model unit creative consultant), David Eves (as model SFX supervisor), Stephen Asquith (as model supervisor) and Terence Permane (as director of photography for the models section).
    • In the trailers, Mr. Conductor is heard saying "I've run out of gold dust, and because of that, I'm losing my energy as well," a line originally from the uncut version. Similarly, Diesel 10 is also heard saying "I'll get you, you blue puffball!" which was also originally from the uncut version.
    • The English and a couple foreign theatrical trailers played "The World is New" by Save Ferris, with music done by Nick Phoenix. The same was done with the Japanese theatrical trailer, but it replaced some of the original music with bits of the original Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends theme.
    • In the Australian trailer, P.T. Boomer makes an appearance, a rod is connected to Thomas' coupling hook and Thomas and Diesel 10 have their original voices.
    • Despite his role being cut, P.T. Boomer still makes a few appearances in the final film. He appears lying on top of Diesel 10's roof in the chase scene in one scene, as a connect black cable to Diesel 10 and he makes an appearance in the "crossroads" scene in which Stacy brings Lily to Burnett Stone. Doug Lennox confirmed that the original scene would have seen Boomer confront Burnett about Lady's whereabouts and was re-dubbed when his role was cut out.
    • All of the engines and road vehicles have different whistle and horn sounds:
      • Thomas and Percy still use the same whistle sounds albeit slightly modified.
      • Some of the engines share the same whistle sound; Gordon and James both use the same whistle, as do Henry and Percy.
      • Toby's bell sound changes for the second time since the second series, but this time, another bell sound sounds slightly different.
      • Bertie's horn is the same one as the other one used in the first to third series, but in a higher pitch.
    • In the first teaser for the film, Thomas has his regular whistle sound, albeit pitched a few tones.
    • The line that splits that Percy goes down with the mail train has some similarities to the one Oliver went down in Oliver's Find.
    • According to multiple SiF interviews, several of the models were either damaged or lost in transit after being shipped from Toronto to Shepperton.
    • It is possible that this movie is not canon to the show as Chris Lloyd has stated in his interview with SiF, and that Lady does not exist in the show's continuity.
    • The film was shot in a 4:3 fullscreen frame and later matted into a 1.85:1 widescreen image for theatrical release; the UK and Irish DVD as well as the film on Sprout and Starz airings was rendered in full frame as a letterboxed widescreen image.
    • The Digital HD Copy, and 20th Anniversary Shout! Factory Blu-Ray are the only official ways to own the movie in 16:9 widescreen.
    • The top and bottom of the image are cropped in the widescreen release, but some shots and scenes were produced in widescreen 16:9 like when Burnett says "Well done, Thomas! Well done," before blowing Lady's whistle after Thomas crossed the viaduct that was about to collapse.
    • The posters of Sir Topham Hatt reading "Sir Topham Needs You" featured throughout the film are a reference to the Lord Kitchener and Uncle Sam recruiting posters.
    • Despite Sir Topham Hatt's voice being unintelligible over the phone, it is still changed in the foreign language dubs.
    • Although human actors are used for the film, Lady Hatt and Bertie's driver still appear as models.
    • Aside from Bertie's driver, Sodor appears to be entirely devoid of people, including the engines' crews, guards and workmen, thus making the engines self-driven. Despite this, the passengers' shadows can be seen in some of the coaches' windows.
    • The town beside Knapford is replaced with trees, but many cottages and houses are seen during the windmill or at Knapford.
    • Scrap models of Thomas, Gordon, City of Truro, Toad and Donald or Douglas appear in the smelters yard scenes.
    • The Hollywoodedge, Air Brake Hiss Truck PE079201 sound effect is heard when Diesel 10 stops.
    • One of Flying Scotsman's tenders (painted black) can be seen as Thomas backs into the siding next to James.
    • In the deleted scene of Splatter and Dodge at the Smelters yard, they are both wearing their different masks that did not appear in the final film.
    • Aside the engines' drivers, Burnett Stone somehow is seen to drive and operate Lady.
    • In the double-length twenty-fourth series episode, Thomas and the Royal Engine, Thomas says "Little engines can do big things" which is a reference to the film's tag line.
    • The scene where Mr. Conductor is in Sir Topham Hatt's Office, pictures of the engines from past series episode (such as No Joke for James, Tender Engines, A Surprise for Percy and Thomas, Percy and Old Slow Coach) are seen.
    • This film aired in the UK twice on BBC One - once on 1st January 2004, and again on 29th December 2008.
    • The film aired in the US on Sprout on 3rd July and 11th July 2015 and in Canada on Family Jr. in 2017 where, like with the UK and Irish DVD, it was fitted as a cropped widescreen image.
      • Also this is the only model production to air on the Family Jr channel
    • When the film aired on the Playhouse Disney channel in Australia in July 2007, the scene with Junior surfing on Diesel 10 was cut after he says, "Oh no, my beach bag!", likely due to safety concerns.
    • This film, Big World! Big Adventures!, Sodor's Legend of the Lost Treasure, Tale of the Brave and King of the Railway are the only known specials to have been dubbed in Hebrew.
    • The Korean VHS/DVD does not contain any of the UK or US company logos; instead, it only had DVD Acadamy's logo.
    • In the Greek dub, all of the songs were cut.
    • The Russian dub was dubbed over the Hebrew dub.
    • The Azerbaijani and Korean dubs were dubbed over the English dub.
    • The Dutch, Slovenian, Azerbaijani and Korean dubs never dubbed the songs, but the Dutch, Slovenian and Korean dubs added subtitles of the lyrics.
    • Original VHS releases came with coupons for Amtrak tickets.
    • Flags of the Isle of Man, Germany, Scotland, Ireland and Europe can be seen above one of the shops at Shining Time.
    • The UK VHS release has the Milkyway Magic Stars Advert part one and part two
    • The UK Trailer was Narrated by Neil Morrissey, who is best known for his work on Bob the Builder.

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