It’s that wonderful time of year again, when the holidays are right around the corner. What better way to get into the Christmas spirit than watching yet another Christmas movie? The Polar Express promises magic and holiday cheer for children and adults of all ages.
The incredible animation is the first thing that catches your eye and commands your attention throughout the movie. From the opening scene, the animation of the main character sleeping is incredibly life-like. The realistic way the characters look and move is the element that truly brings this animated tale to life.
The journey begins as a train called the Polar Express slowly starts its way towards the North Pole, and the animation continues to amaze the audience every step along the way. The train passes through a snowy, romantic landscape, up and around mountains, across bridges, through tunnels and down roller coaster-like tracks until the North Pole city lights are seen twinkling in the distance.
The focus of the movie is the animation; the storyline lacks real substance. The first half of the movie is slow, and it seems like the writers were scrambling for ideas of what would happen next. The conflicts the train faces to get to the North Pole are a mishmash of random events. Suddenly, the brakes don’t work when the train gets to the steepest part of the tracks. Next, the train tracks go right through an icy lake, but the train is too heavy and the ice starts cracking. These events are supposed to throw the audience into the gripping hands of action and suspense, but instead the threats are unconvincing.
In addition to unconvincing suspense, The Polar Express also contains other unexciting moments. When thousands of caribou are blocking the train from continuing along the track, audience’s eyelids start drooping. Luckily, the spectacular animation allows the viewers to focus on the bleating caribou instead of the uninteresting conflict.
Once the train arrives at the North Pole city, the real Christmas magic starts. All the children and elves gather around the enormous, lit-up Christmas tree. Santa Claus himself appears to give one child the first present of Christmas. The conductor of the Polar Express reminds the main character, who at the beginning of the movie had doubts that Santa was real, that “the spirit of Christmas is inside of you.” The audience can see the glimmer in the boy’s eye as he finally believes in all the magic of Christmas.
The Christmas dreams of the children and the images of elves, Christmas trees, and Santa’s sleigh, bring a blitz of childhood dreams and memories of Christmas. The audience is reminded why Christmas is such a special time of year. Viewers may find themselves believing in the wonder and joy of Christmas right alongside the main character. After experiencing the magic of Christmas, the children file back onto the train. And just like the children who are reluctant to depart from the Polar Express, the audience never wants this journey to end.
Even though the beginning of the movie is tedious, The Polar Express is worth seeing. Not only will the incredible animation blow you away, but the Christmas cheer and happiness that is instilled in viewers’ hearts is unmatched by other movies.
Morgan Ashenfelter can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.