The Polar Express

Published December 26, 2021

The Polar Express

Film info

  • Title The Polar Express
  • Director Robert Zemeckis
  • Year 2004
  • Run time 1hr 40m
  • Genres Animation, Adventure, Fantasy, Family, Comedy
  • Tagline This holiday season... believe

When a doubting young boy takes an extraordinary train ride to the North Pole, he embarks on a journey of self-discovery that shows him that the wonders of life never fade for those who believe.

Live blog

Time Comment
2:57 I have never been able to look through an actual keyhole, films always make them look so big.
6:47 Fair to say, Dad, that the express train did wake him up.
12:12 How can you head to the other side of the tracks when you’re on the tracks?
16:09 You have to let hot chocolate cool a bit otherwise it’s undrinkable.
23:56 Why does Tom Hanks play all the parts in this?
28:00 Dude’s skiing on the top of a train.
38:07 Very curious about the physics of a train travelling across ice like that. Not in a criticising way, genuinely curious.
42:13 Oh yes, the carriage of puppets. It really should be called the Horror Express.
55:59 They have Hyperloop at the North Pole!
57:20 These kids seem all too eager to throw themselves into the inner workings of machinery without regard to their own safety.
59:28 Also, worth pointing out the North Pole is far more mechanised than I would have imagined!
1:09:04 All you need to do to stop sleigh balls is not believe? Noted!
1:13:23 I know a certain someone who could do with a watch that just says ‘on time’ or ‘late’.
1:16:08 Is that… Steven Tyler from Aerosmith?
1:23:19 “One thing about trains, it doesn’t matter where they’re going. What matters is deciding to get on.”
1:26:21 Santa signs his letters ‘Mr C’. I need to have a word with someone.


Combine our run of Christmas films with our aim to work through Tom Hanks’ back catalogue and you get this, The Polar Express. It’s not really been a burning ambition of mine to watch, this kind of mo-cap sets my teeth on edge a bit, but worth a go, anyway. It was what I thought and somewhat worse. I’ve read that the animation style was to get around restrictions on the rights of the book (the author didn’t want this to be animation even though it would be seven thousand times better if it was), so I can see they were being pioneering in their own way, but it’s not great and it’s only getting more dated.

On top of that, the story just isn’t very captivating… I’m not really sure how consistently getting into trouble helps the main character believe in anything, he just sort of does that for himself. I do like that the girl is framed as the leader but equally I don’t think she needed the journey to make her do it. And Tom Hanks’ voice popping up all over the place is just confusing. Not a fan of this one.

Rating: 1 / 5

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