In today's review I will be talking about The Polar Express. An animated Christmas adventure from 2004 starring Tom Hanks. I remember seeing this when it came out in the cinemas. At the time, it was something new and bold and fresh out of the oven of originality. Probably because it's so different to anything else that was out at the time.
It was always a story that I liked. The premise of it is exciting, the fact that young children can just escape for one night on a magical train on the night before Christmas and be back in time the next morning to open their presents, what a great thing for an eight year old boy or girl to experience. It's a lovely idea and it's something special for the director Robert Zemeckis to produce.
The best thing I find with The Polar Express is the fact, it doesn't much about. It sets off at its own pace an you just run with it, and you believe that you are on the train journey with the conductor and all the other children, and there is a believable anxiety to go along and have the time of your life on this train.
It also sums up some of the main factors of Christmas, The story covers : companionship, loyalty, trust, friendship, courage, greed as examples to name a few. There are lessons in it for the characters to learn as well as the audience.
The graphics and animation, very precisely detailed and down to the bone developed in every way. There is a lot of physicality in the movement of every character, they move like normal people, though evidently animated for a working progress it's a starting point.
The film takes us on an emotional rolar coaster, It's fun, happy and giggly in some areas and then it hits you with sad, and sensitive feelings. That of course is assisted by heart feeling, powerful scores which over score and adds a backdrop to everything, wither that is good or not is for whoever views it to decide, as everyone has and is entitled to their own opinion.
Tom Hanks, brilliant as he is. Has a chance to play six characters in this, really go to town with his talents and multi role. You can evidently tell it's him each time, however he gives a confident and passionate performances, gives 100% throughout and is so energetic, it's non stop.
Here's a taster of what to expect.
I'm sure some people would agree with me, when I say that 'The Polar Express' is not a great Christmas film. It's good, but doesn't dare go beyond the boundaries its expected of. I've always found it to be a film, that stays in its own little platform. It's in its own confined space, and it stays there.
As far as the story telling is concerned, you never get a sense of it being something truly special. I don't think that element stays with you and is there all the way through. There are some magical moments here and there, such things as the bell on Santa's sleigh for example, you can only hear it if you believe in him. Other than that there is simply the eagerness and anxiety to get to the north pole.
I think we are delayed from the true magic of this film for quiet sometime. It does take a while to build up the progress, when it happens you feel all this could of happened sooner.
Another thing The Polar Express does is test your true belief in Christmas, what peoples opinions are on this celebrations. For instance the young girl's belief and opinions on Christmas and how it's such a wonderful time and compare that to that of Billy a young boy who Christmas is a not such a wonderful time. There is a complex there. When the truth is, Christmas can be whatever you want it to be.
But If you wanted me to sum up 'The Polar Express' in two words, those words are Tom Hanks.
Because without him, this would be a poor production. Nothing memorable about it for me. It's Tom Hanks and his conductor character which does it for me.
Overall, It's a good film, but not anything truly 'Great'. It has it's moments where you learn from it, mini lessons and so forth. However it perhaps this film focuses too much on educating it's audience as well as telling a story.
Music is brilliant. Very well composed and works well in the film.
I would say 'Polar Express' should get a score of 8/10. Which is not a disgraceful score, just good going. I'm sure there are some people who would give it 9 or even 10, but not me.
Thanks very much for reading this review guys.
My next review will be 'The Grinch' and that will be my last review before Christmas. I will post a review of that on Christmas Eve. Tuesday the 24th of December 2013.