Fact: The Official Thomas The Tank Engine web site attracts 34,000 hits per week. Fact: If all the Thomas children's socks sold in the UK were placed end-to-end, they would reach the top of the Eiffel Tower and back down again 1,329 times. Fact: David Beckham could be employed by Manchester United for 85 weeks just on the profits from Thomas advent calendars sold in Britain. Fact: The film is terrible. Fact: Really terrible.
Steaming (and read into that what you will) into cinemas just in time for the summer holidays, the - blissfully brief - debacle is in fact best described as being akin to watching a beloved relative ham their way through an embarrassing school production. Toe-curling, nauseating and (if you happen to be a fan of either Peter Fonda or Alec Baldwin) possibly liable to drive you to tears. Gentlemen, what on Earth were you thinking?
And while it's a close fought battle, it is Peter Fonda who just pips the Golden Raspberry. For, while Baldwin churns the stomach with his smiley, wide-eyed, panto enthusiasm, it's Fonda's risible attempt to actually character act his way through the whole farrago that defies all reason; while Matilda's Mara Wilson beams a gappy-toothed smile that, if once endearing, is now rapidly running out of cutesy points.
But, believe it or not, the true villains of the piece are, if fact, the 'special' effects. Quite how - in today's era of slo-mo and seamless digital wizardry - such a shoddy result can have been achieved is anyone's guess. With clunky bluescreen, spot-a-mile-off matte work and an absolute lack of synergy between real-life and animated action, it all conspires to provide an appropriately amateur sheen.