A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Thomas and the Magic Railroad is a wholesome train movie for the entire family. However, younger and more sensitive viewers might be scared of the mean diesel trains, and there is one scene where one of the good trains is nearly pushed into a fiery furnace. But like the other films in the Thomas series, it's clearly intended for younger viewers, especially those who like trains. For parents, this is probably the only time anyone will get to see Peter Fonda and Alec Baldwin working together.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In THOMAS AND THE MAGIC RAILROAD follows the train and human characters as they find a lost train hidden in Muffle Mountain, uncover some magic gold dust somewhere on the magic island of Sodor, defeat the mean bully diesel train, all while finding courage, magic, and a sense of responsibility within themselves. Thomas and the Conductor are faced with a lot of challenges. The big diesel train with the wicked looking pinchers is a bully who wants to take over. The only one who can stop him is a train called Lady, who has been missing for many years. The Conductor is running out of the special gold dust that enables him to go back and forth between Shining Time Station and the Island of Sodor. He goes to his surfboard-loving cousin Junior for help, and Junior uses up the last of the dust. Meanwhile, Lily and Patch try to help Lily's grandfather, who has a secret that just might help.
Is it any good?
The beloved PBS series about the little blue train and his friends moves to the big screen with a story that will please its many fans, though they might find it a little hard to follow. Even adults may scratch their heads at the plot.
Series regulars Didi Cohn and Russell Means appear briefly, but they've brought in some real Hollywood talent for the main characters to add star quality. Alec Baldwin plays the conductor, Peter Fonda is the sad man who is trying to get Lady, the missing train, back in shape, and Mara Wilson portrays his grand-daughter. All three give great, sincere performances that help make the story seem real. And the producers wisely stay away from high-tech special effects so that the trains look just as they do in television.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the meaning of "the three R's" -- the conductor and the trains must all be responsible, reliable, and "really useful." Family members can give examples of how each tries to accomplish those goals.
How does this Thomas movie compare with others? How odes it compare with the TV show?
Families can also talk about the meaning behind "Little engines can do big things," and what makes some people want to act like bullies.
- In theaters: July 26, 2000
- On DVD or streaming: October 31, 2000
- Cast: Alec Baldwin, Didi Conn, Peter Fonda
- Director: Britt Allcraft
- Studio: Columbia Tristar
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Friendship, Trains
- Run time: 85 minutes
- MPAA rating: G
- Last updated: April 30, 2020
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
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