The Polar Express
The Polar Express
G | 10 November 2004 (USA)
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When a doubting young boy takes an extraordinary train ride to the North Pole, he embarks on a journey of self-discovery that shows him that the wonder of life never fades for those who believe.

Reviews
Curapedi

I cannot think of one single thing that I would change about this film. The acting is incomparable, the directing deft, and the writing poignantly brilliant.

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WillSushyMedia

This movie was so-so. It had it's moments, but wasn't the greatest.

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Forumrxes

Yo, there's no way for me to review this film without saying, take your *insert ethnicity + "ass" here* to see this film,like now. You have to see it in order to know what you're really messing with.

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Fatma Suarez

The movie's neither hopeful in contrived ways, nor hopeless in different contrived ways. Somehow it manages to be wonderful

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derrickneal-98015

A great great film- something both kids and adults will enjoy and relish alike. Tom Hanks is supreme, but it is the stunning animation that blows you away.

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ironhorse_iv

"One thing about trains: it doesn't matter where they're going. What matters is deciding to get on" quotes the Conductor (Voice & Motion Capture Performance from Tom Hanks). I'm sorry to say this, but I can't get aboard with this 3D CGI animation kid's movie, about a young unnamed boy (Voice by Daryl Sabara, but motion capture performance also done by Tom Hanks), having to travel to the North Pole, in order to renewed his faith in Santa Claus (Also voice and motion capture performance by Tom Hanks). The disbelief story felt a little too manipulative & force. After all, that part of the story was too extreme, it didn't match the levels of the children book of the same name by author, Chris Van Allsburg, which also happens to be the source material for this film. It's really does seem like that part of the movie, was made for some evangelical religious convicting agenda, rather than fans of the book. For example, there is a lot of padding scenes, in the movie, where a ghost (once again voice and motion capture performance by Tom Hanks) scares and shames the mostly innocent young boy into believing in Golly St. Nick; as if he was Ebenezer Scrooge, a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old moneylender from Charles Dicken's 'Christmas Carol', rather than a child who just thinking straight & coming to age. Who says, not being too naive & gullibly is a bad thing? After all, isn't teaching our children to be smart, better then, teaching them to go blindly into the night with strangers. How is that wrong!? Going with conviction, without asking any questions, is how cults are built. Even if this movie wasn't made to brain wash, anybody, the bright light god-like appearance of the Kris Kringle later in the film giving out the bell as if its first communion, doesn't help, swag the argument away. Instead, it brings the issue, even closer. It's pretty clear, by all the religious overtones, that this movie is in-fact, a faith-based movie, hidden under a capture the holiday spirit, type of vibe. Anybody that says otherwise, is truly blinded by the smoke & mirrors. It's not a Christmas movie. It's a 'Christ'-mas film. In the end, it's still highly exploited. Very unbalanced. Not only that, but the movie has way too much 3D gimmick rollercoaster style actions scenes like the Glacier Gulch sequence, that goes against, everything that Chris Van Allsburg was trying to say, in his calm, relaxing storyline of the book. The film wasn't as slow & whimsical, as it should had been, because of that. Added to that, was the amount of action sequences that was totally pointlessness. Honestly, you can cut away all of the scenes where the child struggles to find, another child, train ticket, with the ghost on the roof; you would still end up in the same place in the end. It doesn't affecting the story significantly. All of this padding, really hurts, the pacing. Its leaves too many plot-holes, such as why the conductor walk over the roof of the train instead of just walking through the train to get to the engine room or what happen to the dancing hot-chocolate waiters? In the end, the 32 pages book that can be read in less than 10 minutes, should had never been made into a full-length 100 minutes movie. It leaves too many unanswered questions. Instead, 'Polar Express' should had work better, as a short animation film. Don't get me wrong, I give the filmmakers for taking a risk, in providing the world, the first live action motion capture animation & doing a good job in the background to preserve the look of Allsburg's lovely oil pastels illustrations from the book. However, I thought, the movie would had work better with the same hand-drawn animation that 1982's short film 'the Snowman' or 2006's short movie 'Little Match Girl' had. Better yet, go live-action. Why, because this movie has fallen in the subconscious effect called the Uncanny Valley. The exaggerated caricatures of human beings in this film is highly creepy. It just doesn't look right. Sadly, director, Robert Zemeckis didn't get the memo as he would directed, two more films with that style, 2007's 'Beowulf' & 2009's 'Christmas Carol'. As for the voice acting, it was mostly alright; yet again, I can do without Tom Hanks's voicing the ghost hobo, as well, as Santa Claus. It was very jarring to see him, do multiply roles and they were way too hammy. Another character's voice that should had been cut, was the know-It-All kid (Voice by Eddie Deezen & Motion Capture by Jimmy Pinchak). His voice got a little too annoying, toward the end. As for the music. I love composer, Alan Silvestri's theme for the film, even if its suite sounds too similar to Danny Elfman's Ice Dance theme to 1991's 'Edward Scissorhand'. As for the songs; it just didn't work with me. The 'Hot Chocolate' number was an awful lazy written song with annoying repetitive lyrics and jazzy hook that comes out of nowhere. Then, there is 'When Christmas Comes to Town', a ballad duet that sounds really generic. It's highly forgettable, along with Josh Groban's 'Believe' that sounds too much of a guy reading the spoilers than singing. The only song, I kinda like, was the 'Polar Express' theme. The tune was catchy. As for the covers of classic Christmas songs. It was nice to hear them, nevertheless, I can do, without 'Rockin' on the Top of the World'; it was lackluster, and doesn't match, with the theme of timelessness. Plus, seeing Aerosmith's Steven Tyler as an elf was awkward as hell. In the end, this movie just doesn't capture the same magic of Caldecott Award winning book. It was just disappointing. Because of that, I can't recommended seeing this film. Just, check out the book, instead. Now's that worth, getting onboard for.

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Screen_Blitz

There is absolutely no doubt that Christmas is one of the most (if not the most) pleasing times of the year: a time to gather around with family and friends and share the holiday spirit. Arguably one of the best family-friendly features to adore the pleasant spirit of Christmas is this computer animated feature directed by visual storytelling prodigy Robert Zemeckis. Based on the classic 1985 children's book by Chris Van Allsburg, the film expands upon the popular source material with Robert Zemeckis adding brighter characters and expanding the story trajectory on a wider scale. Further ingredients added to the mixing bowl is eye-dazzling computer animation supplied with motion capture technology to bring the story in life. And the final product is an appealing holiday showcase that not only feel magical, it's fun. Set in the 1950s, this film follows the story briefly narrated by Tom Hanks of an unnamed young boy (voiced by Daryl Sabara) who's grown up doubting the existence of Santa Claus. At midnight over Christmas eve, the boy is awoken by the roaring sound of the train that comes to a screeching halt in front of his house. Wandering outside, the boy boards the train where he meets a fellow group of children including an unnamed girl (voiced by Nona Gaye), a self-doubtful boy named Billy (voiced by Jimmy Bennett), and an obnoxious chatter box kid (voiced by Eddie Deezen). Together, these children take the trip to the North Pole where they face self-discovery and learn about the true meaning of spirit.Very few filmmakers in Hollywood accomplish stellar visual storytelling as good as Robert Zemeckis, and this animated picture showcases Zemeckis operating in this cinematic grandeur at arguably his finest form yet. With a hefty hand, Zemeckis proficiently excels in both the visual and the narrative department. The astounding world of the Polar Express along with the North Pole is gracefully brought to life through exhilarating computer animation and stunning motion capture technology used to breath into the human characters. While the cast of Tom Hanks (who also voices the train conductor), Daryl Sabara, Nona Gaye, Jimmy Bennett, and Eddie Deezen provide slick voice work for the characters; the other half of the equation is made up by another cast including Josh Hutcherson who take the roles of the characters in motion capture performances. Combine the motion capture and the top-notch computer animation and you got a beautiful world sprung to life with compelling imagery (especially when watching in 3-D). In terms of storytelling, the movie brightly shines like gold. Following the story of a young boy as he is drawn into a world of self discovery and spirit of Christmas he never knew. The message he along with his newly found friends acquire on their adventure is believing against doubt and how the meaning of Christmas carries something more than just the question of whether or not Santa is real. The concluding result is vastly charming as much as it's deeply heartwarming. The atmosphere is no tearjeaker nor a cartoony comedic fare, but it is deeply riveting especially when you witness the character breaking out in a touching musical number. Don't expect any Pixar material however! The Polar Express is a delightful Christmas animated feature that boasts heartwarming entertainment for both children and adults alike. This film makes not just for a pleasant surprise but a fine pick for families to gather around and watch during the holiday. Looking for a sweet animated feature for the holidays? The Polar Express may be one you are looking for.

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lisafordeay

The Polar Express is a 2004 motion capture film directed by Robert Zurkenkis who is over Back To The Future franchise and tells the tale of a young boy who comes across a mysterious train ran by a conductor voiced by Tom Hanks and the little boy goes off on a magical journey to see Santa Clause in the North Pole. So will the little boy go back home?Overall I thought the film was very good,the motion capture was very good as I liked how the conductor was like Tom Hanks and the animation is very similar to the Jim Carrey film A Christmas Carol that was made in 2009. The story is good but the animation is definitely the show stealer in this film.If you love motion capture films and you are a fan of Tom Hanks then check it out. I really liked it,and its perfect to watch this holiday season.

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