Animation / Adventure / Drama / Family / Fantasy / Musical
Santa Claus does not exist. Or does he? For one doubting boy (voice of Daryl Sabara & Tom Hanks), an astonishing event occurs. Late on Christmas Eve night, he lies in bed hoping to hear the sound of reindeer bells from Santa's sleigh. When to his surprise, a steam engine's roar and whistle can be heard outside his window. The conductor (also voiced of Tom Hanks) invites him on board to take an extraordinary journey to the North Pole with many other pajama-clad children. There, he receives an extraordinary gift only those who still believe in Santa can experience.
Chris Van Allsburg (book); Robert Zemeckis (screenplay); William Broyles Jr. (screenplay).
Tom Hanks (Hero Boy / Father / Conductor / Hobo / Scrooge / Santa Claus); Leslie Zemeckis (Sister Sarah / Mother); Eddie Deezen (Know-It-All); Nona Gaye (Hero Girl); Peter Scolari (Lonely Boy); Brendan King (Pastry Chef); Andy Pellick (Pastry Chef); Jimmy 'Jax' Pinchak (Know-It-All); Josh Eli (Waiter); Mark Mendonca (Waiter); Rolandas Hendricks (Waiter); Mark Goodman (Waiter); Jon Scott (Waiter); Gregory Gast (Waiter); Sean Scott (Waiter). Please contact SFC to add other cast members and characters.
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A Thoroughly Paganised Representation of Christmas
Mark Banks (United Kingdom)
Opinion: Limited Recommendation
The Polar Express can be summed up quite neatly in a quote from 'Hero Girl' that features in the latter half of the film. In that speech she tells 'Lonely Boy': "Christmas is such a wonderful, beautiful time; it's a time for giving and being thankful, for family and friends. People hang decorations and lights, and above all it's a time for celebrating the birth of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ". Well, I wish that's what's she'd said anyway, instead, replace the last 16 words ("above all...") with "...then Santa comes and leaves presents under Christmas trees" and you have the real version of what she says. This not only is a great shame, but a true danger. For Christmas without Christ, as is so evident in much of society now, becomes a time of superficial beauty, for friends but not necessarily families, and for a type of giving that results in materialistic greed as opposed to giving out of love and true need. I won't go too much further down that road, but suffice to say the film has a pretty poor story line anyway, human characters that look a little strange bordering spooky, and a Santa's sleigh that looks like it has a giant tomato strapped to the back of it. On the plus side, the film does encourage a child-like sense of belief, and we are told that "sometimes the most real things in the world are the things we can't see" and so in that respect may lay down some kind of a foundation for future belief in things unseen. All in all, as part of a balanced viewing schedule The Polar Express may have a small place, but on its own its merits are few. Either way, any parents that catch their children watching this one should take it as an opportunity to remind them of the true meaning of Christmas.