Friday, 1 May 2015


So now that I've got one monkey off my back, it's time to tackle another.

It's safe to say that creating a petition to get a director's cut release of Thomas and the Magic Railroad isn't a new concept; SiF tried a relatively big campaign in the 2000's to get it released and, although they didn't succeed with it, a lot of information was unearthed about the original production that kept the curiosity up.

Unfortunately, the campaign fizzled out at the turn of the decade, but recently, a new campaign (#RestoreTheMagic) has surfaced with constant Twitter updates, a petition and all that stuff. I was recently asked what I thought of it, to which I can answer with three words:

It's completely pointless

I understand why fans want it released, but the fact of the matter is that it's never going to happen now. Seriously, if the biggest fan forum on the internet couldn't get it released, a campaign 14 and a half years after its release won't make any difference whatsoever. And here's why.

I'm not going to pretend that I know anything about the film industry at all, but the one thing I do know is that corporate decisions are based on how much money the film companies will make, and I don't believe that releasing the director's cut will be a profitable decision. The film in its unfinished state barely made a return and critic reviews were pretty negative. Why would Sony or Shout! Factory or HiT risk releasing something they know they might not profit from?

Yes, quite a few older Thomas fans want it to be released, but does anyone else? This generation of kids probably have no idea about the film or what happened behind the scenes, and they'd probably care more about what's currently being released as, in all honesty, it's far superior in quality. The Adventure Begins feels like a much more fitting tribute to the franchise than any version of T&TMR as far as I'm concerned

Finally, it's been 15 years. Fifteen. If a film gets a re-release this far down the line, it's usually a HD remaster of some sort. Director's cuts are usually released between its final showing in cinemas and 3 or 4 years down the line. Because of that, SiF's campaign would have had a much better chance of success than this one.

And finally, we've basically got the original version at our disposal already in the form of the original script. It's not as good as seeing the final cut visually, I understand that. But it's much better than nothing.

So to sum up, this new petition will never get my support as I live in the real world. If something is not financially viable, film companies won't give it the time of day, and this is the prime example of that. Now, let's look forward to the future rather than continually harking on the past.


  1. Hit Entertainment should just upload the director's cut on the official Tomas & Friends You Tube channel and monetize it.

    1. HiT don't upload full episodes, let alone films. They'd also need permission from Britt Allcroft, Sony and Icon Productions to even upload a clip

  2. Okay. I'm going to start out by saying that I'm one of the two people helping lead the campaign, so my response to this is going to be biased against your opinion. That being said, I think there are a lot of flaws in your points.

    First, you make it sound that any film studio won't release anything where there's a financial risk (i.e. - it might not sell that well). I hate to break it to you, but with that mentality, there would be no film industry (or entertainment industry of any kind for that matter). Whether it's a different cut of a film than what's currently released, a whole new film, or a film as controversial as The Interview, there's always going to be a financial risk.

    Second, younger fans of Thomas probably aren't aware of the movie, I'll give you that. But who's to say that they won't see it if it is released? Granted the CGI to models change would be quite a jump for them, but my guess is they would like it more than the CGI version. It makes it seem so much more real.

    Third, director's cuts of movies a lot older and a lot more unheard of than TATMR are still being released today. You may say, "But that's not often", but who's to say that they won't? (Also, an HD version is available to purchase through iTunes and to stream on YouTube.)

    Finally, you make it sound that just because the SiF petition failed, that any and all petitions for this cause will fail. First off, I can say with certainty (Ryan or Jim may correct me if I'm wrong) that their petition was more so "abandoned" than "a failure". Sure, there are obstacles in getting it released, but SiF's petition was subject to abuse. People signed it under pseudonyms and one person signed it multiple times. This makes any petition look sketchy.

    And for that matter, SiF's petition was hosted on a now-defunct site that just collected signatures, and it was up to the petition hoster to submit them. However, our petition works differently. Every time someone signs the petition, an email is sent to Sony, Hit, and Shout! Factory in their name. If and when they reply, it will be sent to the signer's email. Furthermore, SiF actually supports Restore the Magic even though they've abandoned their own campaign. That must speak volumes.

    Mattel (who owns Hit) has stated they are looking into it more in someone else's response to our campaign, so don't lose hope yet. We also are looking at ways to expand our audience beyond just Thomas fans, such as bringing Shining Time Station back into the public eye, and targeting at actual real railroad fans.

    I wish to close by saying that while demand in some older Thomas fans are high, the demand is a rather silent one. There are a lot more fans who are wishing to sit back and watch as others take action and/or wait until the director's cut is released. This mentality needs to end as it won't get us anywhere. I also will say that attitudes of negativity or pessimism like yours won't help, either. It's an uphill battle we're facing, and while the two of us might not agree on its possibility of release, I certainly hope that people realize that in the real world, in the words of Mr. Nicholas from 'Tis a Gift, "Nothing is impossible, unless you stop believing in it!".