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Turning pre-schooler properties into big Hollywood movies seems to be the latest in stupendously stupid filmmaking crazes. Tim Burton is remaking Alice in Wonderland, Wes Anderson is ruining The Fantastic Mr. Fox, and Spike Jonze is doing something appropriately weird with Where the Wild Things Are. But these are classic children’s properties. Maybe they’re for pre-teens but they’re tried and true, respected, and they deserve this kind of attention. The same would seem to be true of Thomas the Tank Engine.

THR says Josh Klausner is writing a movie based on the classic, 1940s toy-train world originally created by Rev. W.V. Awdry. It’s sure to be a notch the usual, horrible, Dora the Explorer crap our kids are being dumbed down with. But what really makes it worth doing, at least from the perspective of HIT Entertainment, is that they claim it’s the world’s most popular preschool property. Retailers sell a metric ton of Thomas the Tank Engine crap and with a movie they’ll sell even more of it.

It’s actually been a movie before. In the 90s a children’s show based on the property, called Shining Time Station, was immensely popular, and spun off into a 2000 feature film called Thomas and the Magic Railroad. Alec Baldwin starred in the 2000 feature but wont' show up in this one. This new version would seem to be more directly based on the 40s works though, rather than Shining Time Station. Each incarnation revolves around the people and magical, talking railroad trains which populate a fictional island.