Although we haven’t been able to review many movies these days because of theaters being closed, we have been able to review some other pieces of media such as Cartoon Network’s Infinity Train: Book One, which was released on DVD and Digital on April 21, from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.
Cartoon Network is known for taking chances on really random cartoon ideas and they’ve had a lot of success with this model. I personally don’t care for Adventure Time, but there are many that adore it to the point where it has become a pillar of pop culture. I would say that infinity train, while odd, is much more accessible than Adventure Time. And it’s actually quite brilliant.
This series follows a 12 year old girl from the upper Midwest delightfully named Tulip. Tulip is having trouble dealing with her parent’s divorce and to the point where it’s affecting every other aspect of her life. It all comes to a head when she is unable to go to code design camp (she’s a budding software designer/coder), which is a catalyst for her trying to find her way to the camp by herself.
On the journey to code camp, Tulip happens upon a train that she assumes will be able help her there faster, only to find out that it’s magical. She finds out that there appears to be an endless amount of train cars (hence the name of the series) and each of them bizarrely unique.
Tulip (voiced by the infinitely charming Ashley Johnson) gathers several friends along the way to help and accompany her in the quest to get to the conductor. First is One One, a spherical robot who has two halves and two personalities. The other is Atticus, a regal corgi who is brilliantly voiced by Ghostbusters’ Ernie Hudson. There are also some REALLY great cameos, including West Wing‘s Bradley Whitford and the Rogue One villain Ben Mendelsohn.
Each episode is approximately 11 minutes long and there are only 10 episodes in volume one. However, each episode is remarkably tight, balancing pulling the overall plot forward while still having fun with each wacky train car world (for example, there is a crystal world and a ball pit world). And honestly, the whole series is just really tight storytelling from beginning to end. There just isn’t just fat in this lean story. The mystery build up and reveal are actually flawless, even if the very end doesn’t feel as satisfying as it should.
It also must be noted that the music adds to the mystery atmosphere amazingly. It has a Stranger Things/80’s vibe to it, which also makes it feel like an Amblin coming of age tale, or even Neverending Story.
The Bottom Line: Infinity Train: Book One is a mostly brilliant bit of short form, episodic storytelling that is great for all ages. It’s funny without being too weird and packs an emotional punch.
Infinity Train: Book One will be released on DVD and Digital on April 21, from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.