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Eleven-year old Lily ends up in scenic town of Shining Time after she takes the wrong train on a visit to see her grandpa, a once happy railway engineer who now lives a solitary life. In Shining Time, Lily meets the magical Mr. Conductor and embarks with him on an adventure via the Magic Railroad to the Island of Sodor, a toy-world where Thomas, the tiny blue steam engine, lives.
Action Animated - Thomas and the Magic Railroad is actually too juvenile to be
considered a good family feature. It will appeal exclusively to fans
of the TV series that inspired it, most of whom are under the age of
6. Older children and adults will find little to enjoy about this
Reviewing Thomas and the Magic Railroad is not an easy task, because it is unequivocally designed to appeal primarily, and perhaps exclusively, to the under-six crowd. Indeed, the target audience for the film is so young that those who are in synch with typical family fare may find this "juvenile" by comparison. Thomas and the Magic Railroad is not a family film; it has little to offer parents except the opportunity to bond with their children while watching a movie with a 0% chance of offending anyone in the audience. On the other hand, most young children will appreciate the film, but no more so than its television inspiration. In terms of quality, the movie is no better than something designed for a direct-to-video release. And, considering the age (and the accompanying short attention span) of anyone interested in seeing this motion picture, that's probably the best medium for it, anyway.
For as long as anyone can remember, the Island of Sodor, land of talking trains, has been a realm of magic and innocence. But now Thomas the Tank Engine and his friends on the magic railroad are being threatened by diesel engines like the surly Diesel 10 and his sidekicks Splatter and Dodge. Even the magical Mr. Conductor (ALEC BALD WIN), 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 (MARA WILSON), a resourceful 12 year-old, meets up with Mr. Conductor on the way to visit her lonely grandfather Burnett Stone (PETER FONDA). With a host of whimsical, witty and wise characters, they embark on an adventure in the Island of Sodor with Thomas the Tank Engine to preserve that wonderful world that exists just beyond the limits of the imagination. Brave Thomas reminds them all that "even little engines can do big things."