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2004: "The Polar Express" - CinemaDave

Nov. 21st, 2005 09:20 pm 2004: "The Polar Express"

Not since "Dr. Seuss' "How the Grinch Stole
Christmas," has Hollywood released a film devoted to
the spirit of Christmas, without sarcasm. "The Polar
Express" retains the mythical intentions of Santa
Claus and the night before Christmas. "The Polar
Express" also includes a child-like wonder about this
special night that is textured with themes of
learning, leadership and faith.

A nine-year-old boy is facing a crucial Christmas. The
boy is facing doubts about Santa Claus, while his
younger sister is too energized to sleep because it is
almost Christmas morning. As he drifts off into
slumber, the boy hears a rumbling outside his bedroom
window. The boy goes outside to investigate and
encounters the Polar Express, a train bound for the
North Pole.

Greeted by the Train Conductor (Tom Hanks), the boy is
offered the opportunity to ride the rails or stay in
his bed. Fortunately for the audience, the boy
magically produces a ticket and the adventure begins.
Along the way, the boy befriends hero girl (Nona
Gaye), Know-It-All Boy (Eddie Deezen), Lonely Boy
(Peter Scolari) and a Hobo Ghost (Hanks). With a
frantic pace and breakneck speed, The Polar Express
crosses frozen lakebeds and the natural elements to
meet Santa Claus (Hanks) on Christmas Eve.

Given their track record with "Forest Gump" and
"Castaway," Tom Hanks and Director Robert Zemeckis
have produced another winner. Based on Chris Van
Allsburg’s Newberry Award winning book, "The Polar
Express" is the first mainstream movie that provides
the spirit of Christmas. While the core assertion of
Van Allsburg’s book remains, Screenwriter Zemeckis has
enchanced the author’s themes by adding the
additional characters.

In particular, the Lonely Boy character tugs at the
heartstrings. Lonely Boy is the last child of The
Polar Express and he is from the wrong side of the
tracks. Lonely Boy is not very trusting, but the Boy
and Hero Girl reach out to this shy individual. These
three individuals form a bond and share many
adventures saving one another. The friendship is
sincere with no price tags attached.

Having Directed movies like the "Back to the Future"
trilogy, "What Lies Beneath" and "Who Framed Roger
Rabbit?," Zemeckis is familiar for creating human
drama and excitement in a fantastic world. "The
Polar Express" is no exception and is a wonderful
film in 3-D.

To truly appreciate "The Polar Express," see it at
the IMAX Museum of Discovery movie theater. The 3-Day
glasses can fit over any pair of glasses. At the
beginning of the film, you will see people reach out
to touch the snowflakes and duck behind their seats as
The Polar Express rolls over you. There are roller
coaster moments as the train barrels down a
mountainous track. "The Polar Express" is for the
audience seeking an exciting, heartfelt, holiday
movie.

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