Rob’s Review (11/12/2015):
The 2004 Christmas movie directed by Robert Zemeckis and starring Tom Hanks follows an un-named boy as he travels in the Polar Express to the North Pole.
The visuals in this movie were stunning especially for one of the first motion captured 3D films ever. Along with the soundtrack and acting, this movie is going to make you feel a part of the Polar Express.
However while the basic story was good enough to keep the movie going, the writing was a massive let down. The movie did things that were completely pointless to start with, and did not change the plot at all. As well as some of the things that the characters did had no motivation and no real reason to do them.
Overall, this movie is decent, and good for a Christmas Movie, but the writing is slack in some place.
Daniel’s Review (11/12/2015):
One of my favourite film directors working in Hollywood today is Robert Zemeckis, creating some of the best films I have ever seen whether it’s taking us back in time in ‘Back to the Future’, solving a mystery where a cartoon character is being framed in ‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit’, walking across a wire between buildings in ‘The Walk’ or just great Tom Hanks films such as ‘Forrest Gump’ and ‘Cast Away’, the director has successfully delved in many film genres and styles, but will his next film be another winner in a motion capture animated adventure known as ‘The Polar Express’? Not really.
The film is about Hero Boy waking up to find a train in the front of his yard, known as the Polar Express. Hero Boy meets Hero Girl and Lonely Boy, despite being one of two characters whose names are revealed in the film, as they go on an adventure like no other, to the North Pole.
While the animation looks slightly outdated, being cartoony than ever before, despite being motion captured by real actors, I’m sure the film was impressive with its visual effects and animation back in 2004 when this film was first released to the public audience. It’s just unfortunate the characters faces lacks towards emotions and expressions, while it may be because the film has aged, and so too has the technology, but a film that was released two years later ‘Monster House’ the characters emotions and expressions are still recognisable than the characters present in this film.
The story is one of the film’s main problems, as while the film’s plot is easily recognisable as the Polar Express heads towards the North Pole, the film spends on different random things happening throughout, that it becomes tiring and sometimes unnecessary, an example being the ticket as we see exit the train, only to blow away into a bird’s mouth, down a river, only to get back to the train, the problem here is that we’ve spend two minutes on the ticket’s journey, when we really shouldn’t need too, as towards the end, it just becomes pointless.
The characters are also hard to care for as they are very undeveloped, and I think it’s a shame as you could of went more in-depth to these characters, that would have made this film a bit more fun and enjoyable, as Billy is a kid who hasn’t had a very merry Christmas before, why? Well, the film doesn’t tell us, so we don’t really know. Is it because he is a foster child, adopted into a family he doesn’t really know? Is it because he too has lacked in believing in Santa Clause, therefore ultimately giving up on the spirit of Christmas, like Hero Boy? Is it because he has no friends, so he finds Christmas another day being isolated? The kid’s tickets were a great idea, but just unfortunate it isn’t as powerful as the filmmakers wanted it to be, because of the characters lack of depth and characterization.
While in this review, I have said some elements that don’t work, and some ideas that were mixed, however, there is some charm to the film such as the song “When Christmas Comes to Town”, however there are only a few elements like this example that worked well.
Concluding, under the film’s weak story and poorly written characters, there is some charm to the film such as some of the songs and some of the film’s messages towards Christmas, it’s just unfortunate the film didn’t live up in terms of being a fun Christmas film.