Train Quest is a strange American/Romanian collaboration filmed in Bucharest, but pretending to take place in modern day America. The cast, at least judging from the names, is a mix of four American lead actors supported by a dozen Romanians. And the production crew similarly is a mix of Hollywood and Eastern Europe craftsmen. Train Quest appears to have gone straight to video. Its production company, Castel Film Romania, specializes in horror and fantasy subjects, and Train Quest is no exception.
Train Quest is described as follows on the DVD case: "After celebrating his birthday with a trip to the movies, 15 year old August takes his girlfriend back to the toy shop where he works to show her the owner's latest creation -- a cool new train set and model city. But when he turns on the train, something extraordinary happens. Suddenly the two teens are zapped down in size and find themselves passengers on board the speeding toy train! Scared and mystified, the pair discover they have been trapped by the toy's evil mastermind, the diabolical Mr. Dalby, and unless they can figure out how to escape, and fast, they are doomed to ride the miniature rails forever."
Presumably the movie is intended for a pre-teen audience, as none of the fantasy scenes are particular frightening. The plot and writing are simplistic. The acting of the leads, Augie (Donnie Biggs) and Ellen (Tanya Garrett), is adequate considering the script they were given. At one point cute blonde Ellen says she feels like Alice in Wonderland.
As a model railroader myself, the movie is worth viewing once or twice for the special effects and use of trains in the plot. It is interesting that I had never heard of Train Quest before 2010, despite being very familiar with American model railroad magazines at the time the film was released in 2001. Train Quest was not advertised, discussed nor reviewed by the hobby publications that should have provided its greatest publicity.
Model railroaders may be interested in the mix of Burlington Northern models and posters in the hobby shop's storefront, contrasted with the use of Maerklin HO scale three rail (center contact studs) track on the fantasy layout behind the sinister locked door to the shop's back room.
My three-star rating is perhaps too generous; two-and-a-half stars is closer to the truth. But so few dramas even acknowledge the hobby of model railroading that many enthusiasts may want to view the little that has been attempted. Train Quest is neither a great nor even good movie, nor is it horrible when viewed by juvenile standards.