Sun. Feb 25th, 2024

    US reboot of Thomas the Tank Engine ‘lacks the magic of the original series’, with modern animation, a new neurodiverse character and American accents, says British show’s creator

    The American reboot of Thomas the Tank Engine has “lost the magic” of the original series, according to its creator.

    Based on a series of books by Wilbert Awdry and his son Christopher, published beginning in 1945, the show was based on the adventures of steam trains.

    The original series, adapted by Britt Allcroft, now 80, is partly known for being narrated by Ringo Starr, whose dulcet Liverpool tones suited the story well.

    It first aired in 1983, when it gained a legion of fans, following the activities of Thomas the protagonist and his train friends, based on the island of Sodor.

    But the franchise was purchased by Mattel for $680 million, and its version of the production, Thomas and Friends: All Engines Go, was released about 10 years later, in 2021, according to the times.

    The much-loved original Thomas the Tank Engine character in the British version of the popular show.

    The creator of the British version, which first aired in the early ’80s, is not a fan of the American remake (pictured).

    Unfortunately, Allcroft is not a fan of the reboot, which she says has “tarnished” the original classic.

    He even went so far as to say that the new reboot lacked the “magic” of the much earlier original remake.

    According to Allcroft: ‘There is only one Thomas. Thomas doesn’t want to be reinvented. Unfortunately, Mattel now has control of Thomas and there is nothing he can do.”

    In the reboot, Mattel has made a number of changes as it says it wants to take a “completely new approach” to the popular show.

    In addition to changing the animation style, there are new characters.

    One is kana, a female high-speed engine, while another is Bruno the Brake Car, who is autistic.

    Some have praised the addition of a neurodiverse character.

    Bruno the Brake Car will be voiced by nine-year-old Elliot Garcia, from Reading, Berkshire, who is also neurodiverse.

    The American version (pictured) is much slicker, with cleaner, more modern animation, which is probably more familiar to many modern viewers.

    Detail-oriented Bruno enjoys schedules, routine, and knows where all roads lead. Bruno has ladders and a lantern on his bright red exterior that indicate his emotional state and moves when he is excited or cautious.

    Elliot said: ‘Bruno is a Brake Car and is a new friend to Thomas and his friends, and he is also autistic, like me. He is funny, intelligent and a very relaxed character.

    “He can get really overwhelmed, worried and uses comedy to get through situations. Bruno loves schedules and schedules and when everything goes according to plan.

    ‘He can move his stairs to tell you if he’s upset or really excited, so he can use his objects to show you how he’s feeling.

    “I identify with their hearing protectors, because if there is a very loud noise, I can’t stand it. I can worry quite a bit about things, I have to think of new strategies, just like Bruno.

    ‘When I got the role of Bruno, I imagined it was a dream, but it wasn’t! “I felt really excited and happy.”

    According to Allcroft, the reboot is not Thomas created in Awdry’s book series, nor is it faithful to the original Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends television series that she directed.

    A new series will air on Channel 5 this spring.

    The previous version was controlled by radios and figures and all the characters had British accents, unlike the new version (the previous version is shown in the photo).

    Those used to moving models controlled by radios and figures will be surprised to see the new animated style, as well as the American accent.

    The Times noted that the original series was once “an unlikely subject of controversy.”

    This was in 2014, when a comment in The Guardian criticized the show.

    He described the island of Sodor as “colonial”, adding that the Fat Controller acted as a “monopoly dictator” over the locomotives.

    The author of the article, Tracy Van Slyke, said: “The constant tilting of messages about friendship, work, class, gender and race sends my son the wrong message.”

    All Engines Go is available to watch on Paramount+ and was shown in the UK on Channel 5.

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