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The Polar Express

December 25, 2010

polar_express Director: Robert Zemeckis
Writer: Robert Zemeckis/William Broyles Jr.
Based on a story by: Chris Van Allsburg
Producer: Robert Zemeckis/Gary Goetzman/Steve Starkey/William Teitler
Starring: Tom Hanks/Daryl Sabara/Nona Gaye/Jimmy Bennett
Year: 2004
Country: US
BBFC Certification: U
Duration: 100 minutes

The Polar Express is about a boy who doubts Christmas. However, on Christmas Eve, he boards a magical train that’s heading to the North Pole to Santa’s home. Everything visually about The Polar Express is absolutely beautiful, from it’s magical story to it’s colourful and detailed animation and it’s definitely one to watch out for. There are much better Christmas stories out there than The Polar Express but that’s not to say that this is rubbish. It’s a great little story that may be a little materialistic at times but it still holds that magical belief of Christmas. Even though the story is quite simple, it’s packed with loads of brilliant and adventurous scenes that will keep adults and children alike entertained.  The Polar Express also boasts a good cast of which includes Tom Hanks, who provides the voices for a few characters in the movie. Although there were a couple of times when the voices sounded a little off or a character was too hesitant, the cast did a great job. Another great thing about The Polar Express is it’s soundtrack of some great Christmassy songs. As I have said previously, the animation is glorious with quite a few wonderful scenes and it’s nice to see how technology has changed and shaped CGI movies over the years. Even though the character’s faces looked unreal at times, this is still a great example of the leap animation has taken over the years.

The direction and the writing are okay but there were a couple of times when the story became rather tedious and boring and the characters started to lose their charm and sparkle as the movie went on. However, all of that was made up for the gorgeous animation with detailed and colourful backgrounds that make the movie feel that much more Christmassy and magical. Even though almost everything about the movie was all right, the message was all wrong and it let it down a little. While the message is clearly about believing in Christmas and believing in the magic, the message could also be seen as being materialistic and basically saying that if children are good, they get very nice gifts. Overall though, The Polar Express is a visual delight but I wouldn’t say it’s the greatest Christmas story ever told.

Even though the message isn’t really clear, The Polar Express wins through it’s charming visuals and nothing more. The story is good and is quite entertaining but it’s not exactly the best story, there’s much better Christmas movies out there but it’s worth it to see the animation alone. It’s not exactly the best Christmas movie but it’ll do the job of entertaining the family.


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