Starring: Daryl Sabara, Nona Gaye, Jimmy Bennett, Eddie Deezen
Written By: Robert Zemeckis, William Broyles Jr.
Directed By: Robert Zemeckis
Studio: Warner Bros
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One Christmas movie I just can’t get into is The Polar Express. The characters’ eyes look dead inside, the weird story, high-pitched Eddie Deezen’s voice, I just don’t know what it is. I usually like most Tom Hanks movies but not really this one. With that said, if the kids like it then that’s all that matters I suppose.
Since some might know what the movie is about, basically a little kid goes to sleep and hears rumbling and a magical train shows up outside his window on Christmas Eve. He’s invited by the conductor to come along and visit the North Pole. This kid obviously was never taught to not get into stranger’s vehicles.
I’ve seen Polar Express maybe 2 or 3 times, for the most part and I still couldn’t name a character or know what the hell happens in it towards the end. By the time the train gets to where Santa is, I’ve checked out. It’s just not that interesting to me and I think the main reason why this movie was made was to showcase the special effects. Let’s be honest, while non-character animation is great, the characters – not so much. They look creepy and it’s the reason why a lot of people didn’t like the movie almost 20 years ago. The eyes have no life to it, the mouths move all weird – it’s just not natural. It was the start of this type of animation back then but maybe if the movie was done now it would look better. Still doesn’t change the fact that the story is lackluster and stretched thin.
I didn’t have a problem with Tom Hanks being in a bunch of different roles. Eddie Deezen’s voice was a bit much to deal with in this movie. My son goes, what’s wrong with that kid’s voice? Oh, that actor just sounds like that. The problem with this movie isn’t really the actors but the acting is just flat. That what the problem with some movies 20 years ago where they were acting on green screen and motion capture suits, except Andy Serkis’ Gollum of course.
What is with the music from Alan Silverstri in this one? It sounds almost identical to 2003’s Elf from John Debney. Did the studio use that as a temp track and just wanted Alan to compose the music just a little bit different? I don’t know, it’s strange, the music sounds good but it’s too close for comfort. I like both composers though so I’m not sure what happened here.
Despite me not caring for the special effects, having the movie in 4k makes it slightly better to see. Everything looks better and is sharper. Still doesn’t change the fact that if you stare into the eyes of these characters, you will turn to stone. Most of these extras are carry-overs from other editions like the other WB Xmas releases so the main selling point is having this movie in 4k.
The Polar Express has some type of audience, mainly children I suppose. I guess WB wouldn’t release this if people didn’t like the movie. I’m not one of them and rather watch one of the classics over and over than watch this one once during the holiday season. Big ole meh for me.
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Codec: HEVC / H.265 (45.33 Mbps)
Resolution: Upscaled 4K (2160p)
Aspect ratio: 2.40:1
Original aspect ratio: 2.39:1
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz, 16-bit)
French (Canada): Dolby Digital 5.1
French: Dolby Digital 5.1 (640 kbps)
German: Dolby Digital 5.1 (640 kbps)
Italian: Dolby Digital 5.1 (640 kbps)
English SDH, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Cantonese, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Hungarian, Korean, Mandarin (Simplified), Mandarin (Traditional), Norwegian, Romanian, Swedish
Bottom Line: Why do people like this movie?
Running Time: 100 mins