Polar Express

Released 2004


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out of 10
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Movie Summary

Robert Zemeckis
The Polar Express is a 2004 film based on the children's book of the same name by Chris Van Allsburg, written, directed, and produced by Robert Zemeckis and made with computer animation. The story is set on Christmas Eve, when a boy is swept up by Santa Claus along with other children to board a magical train ride headed for the North Pole. The characters in the film were animated using “live action” performance captures, which uses real actors movements to apply to animated characters. It featured the voices of Tom Hanks, Daryl Sabara, Nona Gaye, Jimmy Bennett, and Eddie Deezen. The train used is modeled after a Lima locomotive, a train that can climb 80 degree hills, descending vertical grades, and riding over thin ice without breaking through. In addition to a 35mm theatrical release, a 3D version was released for IMAX using the 3D digital models that were used for the 35 mm version. The 3D version met more success and was released along with the 2D version on DVD and Blu-ray.moreless

Metacritic Score

  • Zemeckis?

    This movie had an ok story but terrible execution. The graphics/dialog and pacing were poor.
  • On Christmas Eve night, a young boy who is beginning to doubt that Santa Claus exists, takes an unforgettable train ride.

    When "The Polar Express" was first released back in 2004 it was considered a landmark achievement mainly because it is the first movie to use the new technique known as performance capture animation. One consenus made by critics is that unrealistic (even scary) appearance of the human characters in the film. I agree that the human characters do look a bit strange, but despite that, "The Polar Express" has in my opinion stood the test of time. It does have a unique story that's for sure. As much of a stretch as it is, it manages to just work. I do have some problems in that the number of cars on the train changes numerous time during its run to the North Pole and the fact that the train can run on a tight spiral track without derailing. But being that it could be in the contents of a dream helps it get by. The sequence at the North Pole is quite entertaining and leads the movie to a satisfying conclusion. "The Polar Express" is a flawed movie for sure, but it still delivers some good Christmas entertainment.moreless

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More Info About This Movie


christmas, Family Dramas, childlike sense of wonder, Tweens, visually striking