The Polar Express

So I haven’t posted up one of my older reviews in awhile, so I figured it I’d do it today because I felt like posting something besides just my Deathly Hallows non-spoilers review. Here y’all go.

The Polar Express Then: 9/10 Now: 8/10

This movie just recently came out on DVD, and I bought it, not having seen it, but heard good and bad things about it. I wasn’t too worried about whehter or not it was good…having seen many previews for it it looked like a decent christmas movie. When I stuck it in the DVD player I was happily surprised to find that it far exceeded my expectations. I’m giving it an enthusiastic 9.3/10.

This is a Christmas movie that everyone should see. It’s charming, funny, innocent, overall a perfectly wonderful family film. So many family films out this day and age are full of material that you wouldn’t want your seven-year old to hear or see. This movie is the perfect holiday family film, whether you’re a little kid or an old grown-up.

The movie is about this young kid who hitches a ride on a steam locomotive named The Polar Express, that supposedly takes him to the North Pole. The ride is filled with dancing waiters, a mysterious hobo who rides on the train, a conductor voiced very well by Tom Hanks, dazzling trips across miles of railroad tracks, and many more. This movie is entirely in CGI, and it is the best looking CGI film I have ever seen, surpassing even Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within. Though of course it is not perfect, it is the best Hollywood has to offer in terms of quality. The detail in the facial expressions is breathtaking, and the at times dizzying train ride had me feel like I was riding a roller coaster. Overall the special effects are wonderful.

But what really makes this such an amazing movie is the storyline. We follow the journey of this young kid (and I believe his name is never mentioned) as he makes a magical trip all the way to the North Pole. Though the storyline is nothing especially exceptional, its heart and charm overtook me as I fell in love with the various characters in the story. Their perfect innocence and delight in Christmas was a relief to see after so many horrible recent Hollywood films. The imagination in the film overwhelmed me as well. There was a particular scene where the main kid is on top of the train as the mysterious hobo skis along it towards the front. Very amazing, and at times heart-stopping. The ending is also perfectly wonderful, and I was very satisfied when I turned off the DVD player and the TV.

This would be a perfect film, if not for various age-old cliches that are spouted out, like, “Seeing is believing.” There aren’t many of them, though, and they actually manage to fit in quite nicely with the storyline as a whole. They aren’t really noticeable unless you’re looking specifically for them, or viewing it with a critic’s eye like I did.

Overall, this movie is almost certainly destined to become a holiday classic. There is nothing not to like about it. The characters are charming, the storyline is captivating and not cliche, it will appeal to young and old, and, well, basically, it’s a good story, darn it! It should have gotten more recognition in theatres, but hopefully on DVD it will have a real chance to shine. Go rent this movie, or see it, or something, because if you don’t, you are missing out on one of the best Christmas movies of all time.


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