Thomas and the Magic Railroad is a 2000 British/American/Canadian live-action/animated fantasy comedy hybird film written, produced and directed by Britt Allcroft. The film stars Alec Baldwin as Mr. Conductor, Peter Fonda, Mara Wilson, Didi Conn, Russell Means, Cody McMains, Michael E. Rodgers, and Eddie Glen as the voice of Thomas. The film is based on the British children's book series The Railway Series by The Rev. W. Awdry, its televised adaptation Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends, and the American television series Shining Time Station by Britt Allcroft and Rick Siggelkow.
The film was co-produced by Gullane Pictures and the Isle of Man Film Commission. It was distributed by Destination Films in the United States, Icon Film Distribution in the United Kingdom, Alliance Atlantis in Canada, and ABC Films in Australia. The film tells the story of Lily Stone, the granddaughter of the caretaker of an enchanted steam engine who is lacking an appropriate supply of coal, and Mr. Conductor of Shining Time Station, whose provisions of magical gold dust are at a critical low. To ameliorate these problems, Lily and Mr. Conductor enlist the help of Thomas, who confronts the ruthless and devious Diesel 10 who plans to get rid of the railway's steam engines along the way.
Plans for an original Thomas & Friends film started with Paramount Pictures, but did not pull through. Shortly afterward, Destination Films began funding for the film and started production in 1998. Filming took place at the Strasburg Railroad, Toronto, Canada, and the Isle of Man. It held its world premiere at the Odeon Leicester Square in the United Kingdom on July 9, 2000, and was released on July 14, 2000 in the UK, and July 26, 2000 in the United States and Canada, It was released in Germany and Australia in late 2000 and finally in New Zealand on April 7, 2001, and Japan on May 19, 2001. The film was reviewed negatively by critics, mainly from the US upon release, with criticism directed towards the acting, plot, special effects, and lack of fidelity towards the source material. It grossed $19.7 million worldwide against a production budget of $19 million.
Due to the film's performance, Allcroft was forced to resign from her company in September 2000. HiT Entertainment acquired the company two years later, including the television rights to Thomas.
Mr. Conductor is called to help out on the Island of Sodor, while Sir Topham Hatt is on holiday. His supply of magic gold dust, which allows him to travel between Shining Time and Thomas's island where talking trains and vehicles can talk, is critically low. Unfortunately, he doesn't know how to get more but finds a clue. Meanwhile, the evil, devious Diesel 10 along with his bumbling followers, arrive on Sodor with unfinished business, to find and destroy a lost railway and the lost steam engine that helps keep the two worlds together peacefully and destroy all the steam engines on Sodor. It's up to brave little Thomas The Tank Engine, to team up with Mr. Conductor, Burnett Stone, Lily, James The Red Engine, and their friends to solve these mysteries and save the magical universe before Diesel 10 finds the lost engine first.
Sound Effects Used
- Hollywoodedge, Air Brake Hiss Truck PE079201
- Hollywoodedge, Commuter Train Bys 1 SS014401
- Hollywoodedge, Crash Metal Glass PE110901
- Hollywoodedge, Doppler Horn By LeftT PE079801 (Highway Traffic only)
- Hollywoodedge, Eagle Bald Chirps Cal AT082601 (Heard once in the Gullane Pictures logo.)
- Hollywoodedge, Gusts Heavy Cold Wind PE031601 (Only heard in the director's cut.)
- Hollywoodedge, High Pitched Desk Bel PE191901
- Hollywoodedge, Metal Creaks Machine FS015801 (Used for the engines on Sodor.) (Heard in low pitch)
- Hollywoodedge, Owl Hoot Classic TE013201/Sound Ideas, BIRD, OWL - SINGLE OWL HOOTING, ANIMAL
- Hollywoodedge, Sheep Baa Medium Pers PE027001
- Hollywoodedge, Small Group Kids Chee PE142801
- Hollywoodedge, Small Group Kids Laug PE143601
- Hollywoodedge, Truck Brakes Brake Sq TE047902
- PUNCH WITH BELL DING
- Sound Ideas, BELL, RAILROAD - RAILROAD CROSSING SIGNAL BELL: RINGING
- Sound Ideas, BIRD, LOON - COMMON LOON: SINGLE CALL, ANIMAL 01 (Heard in a different pitch.)
- Sound Ideas, BIRD, OWL - CALLING, ANIMAL 01
- Sound Ideas, COMEDY, ACCENT - KITCHEN BAND, MUSIC, PERCUSSION (Used for a telephone ringing inside a flower.)
- Sound Ideas, ELECTRICITY, SPARK - HIGH VOLTAGE SPARK, ELECTRICAL 01
- Sound Ideas, ELECTRICITY, SPARK - HIGH VOLTAGE SPARK, ELECTRICAL 03
- Sound Ideas, FLY - SINGLE FLY BUZZING AROUND, ANIMAL, INSECT 01
- Sound Ideas, FOX, RED FOX - RED FOX VULPES VULPES, ANIMAL, DIGIFFECTS
- Sound Ideas, LEAVES - LEAVES: RUSTLING 01
- Sound Ideas, MOTORCYCLE - START AND PULL AWAY
- Sound Ideas, SNORE, FEMALE - FEMALE SNORING, FAST, HUMAN (Percy's snoring)
- Sound Ideas, TRAIN DIESEL, APPROACH, PASS BY, HORN (Used for Amtrak trains in the Big City Station) (Engine and wheels only)
- Sound Ideas, TRAIN, STEAM - WHISTLE, DISTANT, LONG BLAST 02 (Heard in low pitch)
- Sound Ideas, TRAIN, STEAM - WHISTLE, MANY BLASTS, CLOSE UP (Used for Norfolk and Western Railway Engine 475.)
- Sound Ideas, TRUCK, DIESEL - START, IDLE, STOP (Used for Splatter and Dodge)