***Some kids with creepy dead eyes take a dreamlike trip to the North Pole on The Polar Express***
A boy from Grand Rapids, Michigan, is at the age where he no longer believes in Christmas, as far as Santa, his elves and flying reindeer go, but a magical train appears in front of his home on Christmas Eve and whisks him away on an adventurous trip to the North Pole with several other kids.
“The Polar Express” (2004) was based on the 1985 Christmas book and was the first mainline movie to use motion capture animation for all its characters beginning to end (think Gollum from “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy). Some people think the animation is weak, but I feel it creates its own world and has its own charm. It holds up as long as you can adapt to those creepy dead eyes of the characters.
Some people love this movie while others think it’s weird, like a Twilight Zone Christmas flick. Roger Ebert, for instance, loved it and gave it a perfect grade. I’m sorta in the middle. I see its good points and appreciate them, like the haunting winter ambiance, parts of the trip to the North Pole (e.g. the quasi-rollercoaster ride) and the kids’ investigation of the Christmas factory. But there are some meh parts and dubious sections like the whole last act with the multitude of elves and the towering Santa who looked like he was modeled after 6’5” Christopher Lee with a pillow strapped to his mid-section.
The movie’s interesting in some ways but also quaint in a cheesy way, as well as peculiar and lifeless.
The film runs 1 hour, 40 minutes.