The Polar Express
Release Date November 10th, 2004
Running Time: 100 min.
Robert Zemeckis (dir.)
Tom Hanks as Hero Boy/Father/Conductor/Hobo/Scrooge/Santa Claus
Leslie Zemeckis as Sister Sarah / Mother
Eddie Deezen as Know-It-All
Nona Gaye as Hero Girl
Peter Scolari as Lonely Boy
Michael Jeter as Smokey/Steamer
Daryl Sabara as Hero Boy (voice)
André Sogliuzzo as Smokey & Steamer (voice)
Jimmy Bennett as Lonely Boy (voice)
Isabella Peregrina as Sister Sarah (voice)
Jimmy 'Jax' Pinchak as Know-It-All (voice)
The Polar Express
Review By John C.
When The Polar Express opened on November 10, 2004, it changed the way everyone looked at movies. Not only was it in IMAX 3-D, but it also starred Tom Hanks in 6 very different roles, and providing the voices for five of them. This was made possible with the technique of Motion Capture, where an actors motions are recorded, and act as a wire frame for the animation. While it was a break through for the future of filmmaking, the movie met with mixed reviews, only reaching a disappointing rating of 57% rotten on Rotten Tomatoes.
Alot of people found the animation creepy, because the eyes are not quite realistic, but four years later, I don’t think I would change a thing. The animation is perfect, being a little creepy, but also appearing like a dream.
Since 2005, a Christmas has not gone by when I haven’t watched The Polar Express, and it is probably my favorite Christmas movie. What makes it so special is the way it has a little bit of everything, mixing in elements of all the greatest Christmas stories, while still being totally original. The movie almost seems like a dream, with the hobo and the scene with the dead toys being the nightmare parts that you want to get out of, Smokey and Steamer being the strange parts that you don’t quite understand and Santa’s workshop being the magical part that you wish would come true.
Another thing that makes the film so beautiful is the music. The score and songs by Alan Slivestri, including a duet between Hero Girl and Lonely Boy and the spectacular Hot Chocolate sequence, capture the mood of the film perfectly, being both uplifting and melancholic, it once again proves that movie music is an essential part of filmmaking. People of any age can relate to this truly magical film about the power of believing.
Christmas Yet to Come
Fans of The Polar Express (myself included) are excited to see Robert Zemeckis’ Mo-Cap adaptation of A Christmas Carol, starring Jim Carrey as Scrooge, both young and old and playing the parts of all the ghosts of Christmas. The movie will be released in IMAX 3-D on November 6, 2009, and Robert Zemeckis described it as A Christmas Carol exactly how Charles Dickens envisioned it. As of this time, no footage has been released, but a 3-D trailer will likely be released on May 29, with Pixar’s Up.