Saturday, 19 September 2020
The Polar Express
Wednesday, 17 November 2004 16:49
The Polar Express - This train won't be derailed.

With the snow now on the ground, and my Christmas shopping well under way I decided to give holiday films another chance. Is "Surviving Christmas" even still playing? I don't know.

Thankfully there is another Christmas movie for jingle-junkies to flock to! Directed by Robert Zemeckis ("Cast Away") and released by Warner Bros. Entertainment. "The Polar Express" is making box office gold.

Based on the prize winning children's book by Chris Van Allsburg, The Polar Express is about a young boy who has lost his faith in Christmas. He has made some discoveries about Santa Clause - if you know what I mean.

He is shocked on Christmas Eve when a passenger train pulls up in front of his house! The surly Conductor, played by Tom Hanks, asks him to board the train for a trip to the North Pole! These days most children are taught not to get into vehicles with strangers, but apparently this boy hasn't learned that lesson. He hops on the train and takes an incredible journey filled with adventure, to find the true spirit of Christmas.

My niece and nephew, who went to see this with me, seemed to really enjoy "The Polar Express", and I did too. The film uses state-of-the-art motion capture technology, which involves laying digital animation overtop of performances by live actors. This creates incredibly life-like characters. If you would like more information on motion-capture technology, my seven year old nephew knows all about it.

I wan't expecting much in the way of thrills, but it turns out there are plenty! Some gravity defying action on top of the train, and a lot of exciting roller-coaster style scenes should have kids on the edge of their seats! It would be pretty amazing to see the 3-D Imax version, but alas, Moncton has not yet attracted an Imax... don't get me started on that!

Most of you probably want to know one thing... "The Incredibles or The Polar Express - which one is better?" The answer is that these two films have almost nothing in common. Except that they are both fine examples of technology and family entertainment at their best.