Genre: Fantasy/Children/Adventure/CG Animation
Director: Robert Zemeckis
Starring: Tom Hanks
RunTime: 1 hr 30 mins
Released By: Warner Bros
Release Date: 25 November 2004
(Courtesy from Warner Bros) :
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. Sony Pictures Imageworks
and visual effects supervisor Ken Ralston, Oscar winners for
their innovative work, help bring this enchanting holiday
story vividly to life in full CG animation through Imageworks'
next-generation motion capture process, that allows live-action
performances to drive the emotions and movements of the digital
Based on Chris Van Allsburg's picture book and even though
you can finished the book in minutes (It's meant for kids
in the first place), "The Polar Express" itself
is a 90 minutes tale of wonderous journey to the North Pole.
Do you believe in the spirit of Christmas or simply Santa
Claus and his trusty reindeers? You may ask. Most of us might
believe so when we were much younger. You might be ridiculed
by your peers, if you admit the fact you still believed in
Santa when you are a grown-up.
doubting boy in "The Polar Express" has reached
an awkward stage of his life whereby Christmas is no longer
truthful and magical. On Christmas Eve, a train arrived in
front of his house. Out-stepped, a train conductor, a CG "Tom
Hanks" but recognisable by his distinct voice, inviting
the boy to board the "Polar Express" to go to the
North Pole. This is where the movie starts to break into song
routines and heart-throbbing sequences involving the Polar
Express going down mountainous slopes and hills and skidding
through ice ground.
course the adventure doesn't ends there. Once the train reaches
the North Pole, there are more surprises in store. The presents
processing factory, dancing elves, Santa himself and many
more to delight the kid in you. It's an adventure movie afterall.
as a breakthrough in CG technology, the actors' emotions are
acted out and captured by the animators who followed up by
digitalising the images. However, computer animation of human
beings still have a way to go before perfection. Most obvious
might be the wooden eyes and reactions which betrayed the
non-convincing CG technology at times. What helps the movie
is none other than Tom Hanks himself (who played almost all
the characters ranging from the conductor, the boy, scrooge
to Santa Claus! He's the producer as well). Truly one of the
greatest actor of our time.
Sliverstri's score is both mesmerising and uplifting. Complimented
by songs of Josh Groban, Steve Tyler and Christmas songs,
this festive season has never been so heart-warming.
Robert Zemeckis's movies always has the fun and technology
factors in them. (See "Back To The Future" series).
No doubt the CG effects of "The Polar Express" are
still questionable, nevertheless the movie on the whole is
good enough to brighten up our snowless island. Simply we
are all just like the boy, no longer believing in Christmas.
Through "Polar Express", maybe we should just relieve
and believe in the magic of Christmas once again. Everyone!
Climb aboard "The Polar Express"!
by Cpt John Miller