CORPORATE LINE: The Academy Award-winning team of Tom Hanks and director Robert Zemeckis (Forrest Gump, Cast Away) reunite for The Polar Express, an inspiring adventure based on the beloved children’s book by Chris Van Allsburg. 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.
THE GOOD: This is a cute story about Christmas and certainly keeps children interested for most of the film. The one aspect of the film that has carried much of the news about the film revolves around the CG but we don’t find that to be the film’s strongest point. There are moments of ‘wow that looked real’ but the big picture of the CG design is addressed in the bad.
THE BAD: As much hard work that was put into the CG animation it was all for naught. The characters are lifeless, soulless beings that have an eerie look about them that doesn’t inspire much more than feelings of uneasiness. Homer Simpson has more soul in his big bulging eyes than any of these characters. There is something uncomfortable about looking at a 3D character on screen and looking at these characters knowing all to well that this being is false and void of life.
The book itself was 32 pages which would amount to about thirty minutes of film time so director/screenwriter Robert Zemeckis and co-writer William Broyles, Jr. had to add an hour of filler. Most of the story comes with an attempt of drawn out action scenes that don’t further the story.
FRANKLY: Children will love it—there is no doubt. When a holiday movie is released we can only hold it to those films of the past that have become classics. The Polar Express is not a timeless classic. It’s closer to a film like the Grinch (the Jim Carrey film)—we’ll watch it every other year just to be reminded that it isn’t getting any better.
+ Charlie Craine