The Polar Express -2004

220px-Polar_express[1]All Aboard for a spectacular, unforgettable ride!  Can you say, “Hot Chocolate?”  The movie The Polar Express was released in 2004 and quickly became one of my all time favorite holiday movies.  It was adapted from the picture book by the same name written and illustrated by Chris Van Allsburg.   The Polar Express book was a 1986 Caldecott Medal Winner, a prestigious annual medal given “to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children.”   Often, books don’t make equally good movies but in this case Robert Zemeckis who wrote, produced and directed the film did an excellent job with the movie version.  You’re going to love them both!

Zemeckis directed many state-of-the-art special effect type of movies such as the Back to the Future series which used the match moving effect, and Who Framed Roger Rabbit, done as a live-action/animation movie.  He also directed and won an Academy Award for one of my all time favorites, Forrest Gump.  The special effect type used in Forrest Gump was described by Roger Ebert in his November 9, 2004 review of the movie as computerized visual legerdemain.  The performance capture technique was the special effect type used for filming of The Polar Express.  It seems that Zemeckis has quite a diversified talent.  I can’t wait to see what he does with his upcoming movie, To Reach The Clouds starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

As The Polar Express begins we learn that our main character, voiced by Daryl Sabara, no longer believes in Santa Claus.  The young boy has an extraordinary experience sometime during the night on Christmas Eve that changes his life forever.  A train magically pulls up out front of his house where there are no train tracks and the conductor, played by Tom Hanks’ likeness and voice, summons him to climb aboard.  Our main character is apprehensive and lets the train pull out without him but before his opportunity has completely slipped away he has a change of heart and runs to climb aboard … and the adventure begins.

There are many things I like about this movie.  1. The cinematography is flawless.  2. The character development in the story is awesome.  The nature of each child is carefully depicted.  There is a very shy child, a child full of spirit, a tattle tale and a leader to name a few. 3. The likeness of Tom Hanks is used as multiple characters which I thought was cleaver.

I saw The Polar Express at the movie theater in 3D the year it came out and personally, the best scene for me was the Hot Chocolate scene.  It made me want to jump up and dance.   That same year Santa brought all of my grandchildren bells for Christmas and I am happy to report that I heard them ring.

This movie is a classic so next year, don’t miss it!

Fun Flick Finds:

1.  What does it say on the Conductor’s hat?

2.  What time is it on the clock when the train arrives at the North Pole?

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