Well, it's high time I returned to a review which, looking back, I really do not like. It's not because I like the film, it's because it's really... messy. It never really tackles any of the issues with its story, characters or plot devices. So here are my updated thoughts on Shining Ti... sorry, Thomas and the Magic Railroad.
So let's start with the story. It's terribly convoluted on all accounts. First of all, it's stated that Sodor is at one end of Mr Conductor's "special universe" while Shining Time is at another. This, for me, was the first example in this film that Britt Allcroft had no respect for the source material (although, to be fair, series 5 made it more obvious. This film was more blatant about it). No matter which universe this story was set in, Sodor has always been an island off the coast of England, near the Isle of Man. Also, what does he mean by "special universe"? Does it mean Sodor's on Earth and Shining Time is on Pluto? Because if that's the case, how could a railway connect the two? I mean Misty Island has a tunnel that connects it to Sodor, and while it is really dangerous due to the carbon monoxide produced by the coal powered steam engines, it still makes some sort of sense. That said, him using magic to get to Sodor can be explained since Timmy can go anywhere with magic with his fairies in The Fairly OddParents.
my post on Lady as well as my top 10 worst characters. However, I've read recently that Lady was never intended to speak in the original version, so maybe giving her a voice in the final cut actually helped her popularity. Although, it still doesn't change the fact that, to me, she's a glorified plot device.
The sad part is that this could have worked as an actual film. I'm serious. If the cuts hadn't been enforced and if Sodor hadn't felt shoehorned in, it could have been an ideal send off for Shining Time Station. Lady could have simply been the guardian of Shining Time, while Boomer wanted her dead for whatever reason, maybe out of spite for something Stone had done. I would watch that!
But as it stands, this just feels like a lie. The direct to DVD specials feel more like Thomas films than this. Even though the quality of them is... mixed, the producers still understand that they're creating an adventure about a little blue engine and his friends on the island of Sodor. This does not.
This leads on to the million dollar question: would I have preferred the director's cut? No. While, yes, the story would have been slightly stronger, the engines may have had British actors voicing them and there may have been a bit more involvement on Sodor, it still wouldn't have removed the convoluted set up and the fact that this is still a send off to Shining Time Station that they were trying to flog to a worldwide audience as a Thomas the Tank Engine film.