Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Polar Express

Starring the voice talents of Tom Hanks, Daryl Sabara, Nona Gaye and Michael Jeter

Directed by Robert Zemeckis

Release Date: November 10, 2004

Based on the children's storybook of the same title, director Robert Zemeckis and frequent collaborator Tom Hanks bring together a new holiday fable about one boy's exploration to the North Pole while on a mysterious train. 

In the 1950's,  a young boy wrestles over his decision whether to keep believing in Santa Claus or to give in to his growing skepticism. Soon, he hears a roaring sound outside his bedroom window and soon a gigantic train is parked outside his home, waiting to take him to the North Pole. Many aboard the fabled Express train are awaiting to possibly meet Santa or to view one of his many elves, but our wayward hero is wrestling with his belief in the holiday spirit. Will his crisis over Santa be resolved when he meets his destination?

First of all, I have to critique Zemeckis's use of motion capture technology when developing the story of THE POLAR EXPRESS to the big screen: it's very hit or miss. Some sequences, such as when the train is barrelling out of control or our hero braving the harsh winds and snow, are dazzling to behold; meanwhile, many of the character animations are somewhat stalted and many of the characters eyes are glassy looking which many critics complained made the characters look "inhuman". So in short, the technology is ok, but needs to be improved the next time some other director uses this technology for their motion picture. Also, why was Steven Tyler in this movie? I get the fact that the story, visually and aesthetically, is meant to take place during the 1950s, so why is Steven Tyler, the front man for a rock and roll band which began in the 1970s, in this movie?

Still, for all its' shortcomings, The Polar Express is a fun and entertaining holiday film that families will certainly enjoy with their other Christmas favorites.

Rating: * * * * of 5

Click here to buy

The Polar Express (Two-Disc Widescreen Edition)

The Polar Express [Blu-ray]

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