Thomas the Tank Engine's first big-screen outing. When Diesel 10 and his dastardly sidekicks Splatter and Dodge begin causing trouble in Sodor, the magical realm inhabited by Thomas and friends, the place soon begins to lose its sparkle. Not even Mr Conductor (Alec Baldwin), the man with the magic dust, seems to be able to help. But when Thomas discovers the the magic railroad, the line which connects the human world with the world of the talking trains, and when a young girl named Lily (Mara Wilson) resolves to help, it seems there might be hope after all.
Thomas, as anyone familiar with the eponymous, wildly popular TV series knows, is a very useful engine, and never more so than in his first theatrical release, which was a modest box-office success. On a tank filled with little more than pluck, determination and goodwill, Thomas sets out full-steam ahead on a danger-fraught mission to help his friend Mr Conductor. The conductor's stash of magic gold dust has run out, leaving him stranded on the Island of Sodor with Junior, his flaky cousin, and Lily, a little girl enlisted to lift her grandfather out of a funk on nearby Muffle Mountain. When Thomas bravely chugs beyond his hometown tracks' buffers with Lily aboard, he's transported to Muffle Mountain's secret railway and to Lady, a long-lost steamer whose legendary engine makes her more powerful than Diesel, the train-yard bully. Together, Thomas and Lady lead Diesel on a chase that causes a bridge to collapse, taking the dastardly Diesel down with it. Most impressive about the movie is its marquee names: Alec Baldwin works magic as the dutiful worrywart Mr Conductor, Mara Wilson is Lily and Peter Fonda plays the cool-looking but lugubrious Grandpa. It's a cast that will keep put-upon parents watching, if half-heartedly. Thomas fans of five years and under, meanwhile, will wish the actors wouldn't blow so much hot air; they will want to see their hero a bigger part in steaming up the storyline. --Tammy La Gorce
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.