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Sitting home watching Simpsons repeats. Saw "Polar Express" the other night. Very well made. Animation on a computer is just incredible these days. This film makes me wonder if we will even need actors in a few years. Other then that, a pretty normal day! Counting the days until the Spongebob movie!
I saw this in a sneak preview and it's a very charming Christmas story. I remember reading this book as a child and it had stunning visuals; the movie does the same. I've never seen a computer-generated person (of course excluding Gollum as he isn't human) that seem so realistic. I know this cost a lot of money, but the visuals are worth it; the children really seem to be making regular expressions, and there are some other great visual effects when the train is racing downhill and another scene of events in which one of the passengers lose their train ticket. The bare bones of the story is that a child starts doubting the existence of Santa when a train pulls up outside his house on Christmas Eve to take him to the North Pole to meet Santa. There are a couple of boisterous music scenes including one where the kids are served hot chocolate by singing waiters. Tom Hanks plays the ticket collector, Santa, as well as the doubting boy (I believe) and the computer really gets his facial expressions perfectly, too. This may come over as overly sentimental to some, but it's good Christmas fare and really gets me in the mood for the season.
Polar Express will be the first entry of the modern era into the "holiday classic" category. The movie provides welcome relief from the tortourous holiday entries that have plagued the box office in recent years, and should score highly with the critics on every directorial category. This is the movie that'll make you believe a reindeer can fly!

The story touches and tickles, but also does not overwhelm with its holiday-themed message. For example, early in the movie (ie, no spoilers here), the star child of the movie stops the Polar Express because he doesn't want another child -- who is trying but was a little slower than others -- to miss out on the opportunities that lie ahead. That gives you a harmless sample of the type of theme you'll find in this movie.

The characters look and feel so real, it is astounding. You must constantly remind yourself that it is computer generated, because in most scenes, you'd never know it. The animation ground-breaking, having been modeled from actual human emotions. The scenery on the journey and in the North Pole is breathtaking.

Equally worthwhile is the soundtrack, filled with music that may not rank quite as high as "Lion King" but should find its way on a CD under more than a few Christmas trees this holiday season.

I brought 2 toddlers. I had a real tough time getting my boy through the first 20 minutes, where he was often scared for the safety of the characters. Let's just say I wouldn't want my kid riding the REAL polar express. But, he did settle down and really enjoyed the final hour of the film, as did the other child.

Indeed, there is a dark element in the film that will shock viewers expecting nothing more than a happy-go-lucky holiday film. To me, it plays exactly like a real dream with some of the dark, confusing elements that often occur in real dreams. If that is what the producers intended -- and I think it is -- this is the most smashingly successful effort to capture the experience of a dream in film. You will feel you are the hero boy having this dream and wondering if it is good or bad, sensical or not, and where it is all going. Like a real dream, you don't want to wake up until you find out where it all leads.

Its noteworthy that I saw the 3D version at the IMAX. The 3D really enhances the film; adding 3D to Polar Express would be like adding color to a black-and-white version of "Finding Nemo". The 3D version of this movie could show in many theme parks and leave few disappointed. Some of the most spectacular 3D experiences are laden in this film, along with visuals that fill the screen both in size and depth. I won't tell you what they find in the north pole, but I can promise you'll see the biggest darn Christmas tree EVER on the IMAX screen.

This is a very FUN film as well, and that is its predominant characteristic. It grabs the audience from the getgo and never lets go. Whether you choose to go see the 2D version to watch the Polar Express, or go see the 3D version to *ride* the Polar Express, I can assure you this is a movie you will want to make time for this holiday season.
** THE POLAR EXPRESS - Here it is: the movie that you've been hearing about which will change the art of cinema as we know it, due to the process called "Performance Capture". You put a human actor in a 10 foot by 10 foot room, put sensors all over their body (including their face, making it different than "motion capture"), film what they do and then have computers create a "life-like" cartoon with it, using whatever sets and costumes you want. How does it look? In a word, CREEPY! The sets and animals look cool, but the humanoids are the stuff of nightmares; not realistic in face nor motion, just mutant variations of Tom Hanks and others. One reviewer called the elves "downright scary". The story, some malarkey about a kid who doesn't believe in Santa Claus, is subservient to the effects. This is for small children or animation buffs only. Opens 11/10.
I must say, this movie was so good, it made me open up an account on rotten really, but I can see it becoming an important part of my future christmas....

It is the beginning of a new tradition.

The visual was amazing, I got goosebumps. I thought it was going to be freaky, but turned out it wasn't bad at all. You really forget about if it is life action or not, because it was just amazing and breathtaking...

The music was wonderful, I still hear myself hum.....

The children in the theatre were great, laughing, mesmerized...

I wish I had this when I was a kid...o well.. better late than never!

There have been lots of fun and imaginitive movies that envision the mythology of Christmas as a kind of quasi-modern institution/industry. This is the first one that will TERRIFY you. And I'm not talking about all the quirks with facial motion capture or subsurface scattering or what have you. I was prepared for that, and yes, it was indeed pretty creepy. (Though the environments looked great!)

No, it was the plain old cinematic imagery in this film that scared the living bejeezus out of me. I imagine this film getting more than its share of parents having to take their five-year-olds out of the theater SOBBING. It is quite possibly the most horrifying mythology of Christmas I've ever seen.

Polar Express is your basic story about a child on the verge of losing faith in Santa Claus. But unlike other stories which lead the child through subtle, poignant expriences to restore the faith, this film relies on the sheer brute force of industry and mass culture to pressure its skeptical protagonist into accepting what essentially comes across as the religion of Santa Claus.

Instead of glimpses of magic or glittering trails of pixie dust, we see conveyer belts, rockets, heavy machinery, command centers with monitors showing every child on Earth (which for some bizarre reason are real, live-action children), alarms, buzzers, sirens, and most frighteningly, masses upon masses of elves gathered around a Christmas tree at the north pole at 11:55 pm December 24th swept up in a cultish rapture awaiting the appearance of their savior, Santa Claus. It's a faith-restoring epic that more resembles inquisition than revelation.

You think I'm exaggerating. Consider these plot points:

- Upon the appearance of the Polar Express, and after the invitation to ride, the conductor (a CG Tom Hanks) reads off a list of items that the reluctant passenger has missed that supposedly reflect a certain lack of faith in Santa. Everything from not getting a picture taken at the mall with Santa to having your sibling (instead of yourself) leave out the milk and cookies are noted as offenses.

- A skeleton crew of elves sits in what is Santa's Mission Control as midnight approaches, watching all the (again, live-action) children in the world, most of them asleep. Suddenly harsh sirens blare and big red lights flashing 'NAUGHTY' appear when we learn that one has put gum in his sister's hair. A gruff discussion occurs as to what to do about such an offender so close to Chistmas. Remember that Calvin and Hobbes strip where Calvin mused whether Santa was a jolly old elf or an FBI spook? This is the film's answer.

- The climax, where we see the entire elf population of the north pole, ALL clad in the same red uniforms, in a throbbing crowd awaiting the appearance of Santa. I can see that they may have been trying to portray Santa as some kind of celebrity or rock star. Instead we're reminded more of the throngs in Maoist China waving their litle red books, or the Leninists in front of the Kremlin. In a pivotal moment our protagonist slips into a daze. Time slows and the cheers of the mob around him slur into a low, ominous roar as the boy, clearly flustered, tries to regain some comprehension of the events around him. In this daze he begins to repeat in something in betwen a hiss and a whisper, 'I believe! I believe!', bringing him back to reality to find him staring Santa straight in the face. It's reminiscent of the scene in Indy 3 where Indiana finds himself face-to-face with Hitler after being swept into him by a throng of admiring Berliners. In both cases the protagonists leave with something to remember the idol by.

In general, this movie is far more intense than any Christmas movie I've seen. It's like Christmas IN THE EXTREME. It's JUST SO NOISY. Much of the train ride resembles a roller coaster. There's tons of frantic clamoring and running and screaming. And the soundtrack. GOOD GOD. I've never cringed so much, so often, so hard.
When I was still a young child,there is at times that I dream of an old train stopping outside the door.And it will take me to explore an unknown world.No matter how the trip is goin',I always believe that what I will meet will be the most beautiful thing I've ever seen.

Robert Zemeckis and Tom Hanks started a journey to the North Pole with us.We all ever believed that Santa Claus will go throught the chimney and give us the presents on Christmas Eve.When growing up,we throw away the dreams we've ever had.And that's why some people in the film "The Polar Express" cannot hear the bell.It is a film that finds what we have lost for us.

I am not an expert on CG.However,the perfect animation still attracked me a lot.And the film is really worth of watching in IMAX thertre.What is more,the music is also quite wonderful,indeed.I can hardly forget the song "When Christmas Comes To The Town".I was really moved when the girl and the little boy were singin' the song at the bottom of the train with the polar lights and the stars across the sky.How beautiful it is!

But,"The Polar Express"still has some problems.I mean,the film can hardly keep me exciting,even some parts are a little bit boring for me.In my opinion,the theme is not clear enough that the story seems to break into pieces.As I know,the film is based on a novel that has no more than 20 pages.It is not very easy to adapt it for a long film.

After all,"The Polar Express" must be one of the best animated films this year,which is quite different from the animated films produced by PDI or Pixar.I just wish that I hear the bell when Christmas comes to the town,as long as leaving the world.

"One thing about trains,it doesn't matter what you're goin',

but matters decidin' to get on."
I must say, I enjoyed this movie much more than I anticipated I would. It was certainly interesting and even though facial expressions were at a minimum, I found the technology used to create the movie fascinating.

I'm a big Christmas person so pretty much any movie involving the holiday will get at least a 5 out of me but this movie brought it to a whole new level.

Go see this movie as its sure to become a quick classic.
it only gets that much b/s of tom hanks!
First off, I can't say enough about the animation. There are sweeping visuals and breathtaking shots, at times I even forgot it was animation. But the story struggles, often taking the plain story to fit in more exciting animation. Which isn't always bad, but how many times can you watch a train slide here and there without wanting more plot? Granted though, they have taken a short book and turned it into a full length film and done a pretty decent job. I wish there were some more interesting plot turns, and a little less cheese, but it still did a nice job at putting me in the Christmas spirit and has some great CGI.

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