All aboard the Polar Express


Family entertainment


Clever Imagery

Heartwarming story

Already a classic christmas film


Limited audience

Full Review

Although the Polar Express was only released in 2004 it has already become classic Christmas viewing. Christmas 2009 saw it being screened on UK televsion, more than once. I finally thought it was about time that I sat down and watched this film, despite the fact that it is aimed at a young audience.

The Polar Express

Hubby and I had seen a few clips of The Polar Express since its release to cinemas in 2004, but had never quite got around to viewing the film. Christmas Day saw us sleepily relaxing, after overeating, in the afternoon. So I finally managed to watch The Polar Express.

Now despite my ever increasing years I still love many children's films and find that there are some which have mass appeal, which means both adults and children alike will enjoy the viewing experience.

I did enjoy The Polar Express but feel it is definitely a children's film and only has a limited appeal for adults. However, it has been made exceptionally well.

Assessing this film as one that is aimed at children, it has a lot to offer such as:-

The plot which is based around that coming of age period, for small kids, when they start to doubt the existence of Father Christmas. A young boy appears to travel to the North Pole to meet the big guy in person and find out if Santa really does exist. Along for the ride are a fair few other kids who are also unsure about the existence of Santa. THey have all been let down in the past.

This film is purely animation and on the whole is very successful. The artwork is excellent and it is little wonder that the cast of people working on this aspect of the film is so long. Animation has moved on so much in the last twenty years or so. The CGI, computer graphics are stunning.

Tom Hank's voice and features seem to be in many of the characters such as the train guard, the main boy, Santa Claus, Scrooge, the boy's Father and the tramp.

At one point on the train journey another child's ticket is lost and we follow it's flight as it is taken by the wind, a bird and snow until it finally ends up back on the train. This is done really well and you do feel as if you are soaring up in the air alongside the bird.

The scenery as the Polar Express nears the North Pole is excellent, as is Santa's weird village and it's elves.

There are quite a few exciting moments such as the train travelling on an Ice Lake, which is starting to break up. There is also a high speed train journey, down a very steep hill, which takes you into the polar village. Also, for sheer impossibility, there is the tramp and boy trying to walk on the top of the train, outside, as it approaches a tunnel with no roof space. All of these are great fun and quite thrilling.

The Cast includes:-

Tom Hanks.....Conductor and many more characters. Hanks was also the executive producer of this film.

Leslie Harter Zemeckis......Sister Sarah and Mother

Eddie Deezon....Know it all child

Nona Gaye....Hero Girl

Peter Scolari.... A lonely boy

Brendan King..... Pastry Chef

And many more. The full cast actually includes many of the elves and was much longer than I expected it to be. This just goes to show what goes into the making of films such as this.

The original music is by Alan Silvestri.

Running Time is 99 minutes

In Closing

The story-line is thin but it has, I suppose an unusual twist, on a familiar tale. When the film began I was reminded of The Snowman which became somewhat of a classic. I do not think The Polar Express will but you never know. The musical score is pretty good but kept vaguely reminding me of something similar, and I am still not sure what. For me the biggest success of this film is the animation.

Recommended for children, but not for big kids like me. However, it will be suitable for most ages except for the very young. Overall though The Polar Express is great family entertainment for Christmas.

The Polar Express film is from a book by Chris Van Allsburg and is produced by Robert Zemeckis, famous for such films as the Back To The Future trilogy.