Sunday, 28 July 2013

Theatrical Film Cancellation

Or not...
Two years ago, the picture above surfaced online with a news article stating that Shane Acker (9), Josh Klausner (Shrek Forever After) and Weta Workshops (Lord of the Rings) were working on a new theatrical Thomas the Tank Engine film. Two years later, Shane Acker has announced that this has now been cancelled (see more about that here). What do I think of this?

I have many emotions about this. First off, I'm not surprised at all. There has been no information since the plot was revealed, and that was barely a month after the above picture was released. I really couldn't get excited over a film which wasn't being hyped in any way, shape or form. In this day and age, new music albums, games and films are given new information on a monthly, weekly, or sometimes even a daily basis, whereas this wasn't.

I'm rather disappointed, but not for me - as I wasn't too excited about it (I'll explain why later). I am disappoointed for the fans that WERE excited for it. They never gave up hope that it would be released and now all of their hopes have been dashed.

I'm also angry at Shane Acker. Not because he cancelled it but because of the cowardly way he announced it! Many fans were excited for its release and he had the audacity to leave a comment ON A STORY ABOUT THE FILM about the cancellation! He could have at least had the decency to release a statement to the press saying it was cancelled! Not only that but blaming a "lack of interest"?! There are LOADS of Thomas fans out there that would have LOVED to have seen it, whether they be young OR old! However, he may have had a point: Shining Time Station: The Movie opened in at 9th in the UK's cinema chart AND it was a general flop. But if that's the case, why announce a Thomas film in the first place if there's a lack of interest? Then again, I can think of MANY films that may have had a lack of interest yet were STILL produced, but I digress. Anyway, he probably meant "lack of financial interest", but if that's the case why didn't he just say that?!

Above all though, I'm actually very happy that it's cancelled! The plot sounded terrible; it felt like Shining Time Station: The Movie 2. I'd like to ask this: can anyone REALLY sit behind their computer screens and say that Josh Klausner, someone who probably has NO IDEA what Thomas and Friends is REALLY about, would have been a better Thomas film writer than Andrew Brenner, a man that's actually worked with the franchise in the early 1990's? Also, do you REALLY think there would have been a railway consultant hired to help ensure it was railway realistic? (Yes, it took 11 years for HiT to hire one, but he's really helped the writers in his short time in the role)

I'm not saying that Shane Acker wouldn't have been an excellent director, but the plot makes a good film, especially Thomas related, and on that alone I'm glad that it's been cancelled. However, I really hope the E2 shaped Thomas made by Nitrogen isn't just used for that poster. I'd love for it to be used in the TV series to replace the one that's currently used, although I feel that's just wishful thinking...

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

CGI Jack

As has been revealed on the Roll Along Thomas blog, Poland has shown King of the Railway for the first time. With this, we were given the obligatory "spoiler pictures", including the one above of Jack the Front Loader... but not as the majority of fans would know him to look like!

Like the narrow gauge engines and Duck, Jack has been given a bit of a makeover. But unlike the previous two examples, Jack's is a bit more extreme. His main body shape is now square with rounded edges (the same goes for his face), while the usual additional rivets festoon his bodywork - as well as an extra hydraulic mechanism for his bucket. 

While many aren't fond of the new look, I really like it. He looks more realistic now. However, because of how much he's changed, there really should be an explanation as to why he looks like this. We all know machines go to workshops for services, but kids don't, so it would be nice if they explained this to them in such a way so it doesn't sway too much from the main plot.

Most of all, though, I'm quite shocked. Jack hasn't been in many (main series) episodes, nor is he really discussed as anyone's favourite character, so for this redesign to touch fans' nerves so much is very surprising. I really don't like how fans are blaming HiT for this, though. If it was, he'd have been redesigned FAR earlier than King of the Railway. If you want to blame anyone, blame Arc. They're the ones in charge of the animation, including what characters look like. It's wrong to blame HiT for every "negative" thing that happens!

My final thought is this: if you like Arc's animation, fine. If you don't, just don't watch the show anymore. There's no turning back for Jack now!