Today I watched the Polar Express, this is a film that I already owned but never got round to actually seeing, although I’ve always wanted to see it on stage.
The story is about a young boy who has started to stop believing in Santa, on Christmas eve he hears what he thinks is Santa’s sleigh and gets up to see what it is, ripping the pocket of his dressing gown at the same time. It turns out to be a train to the North Pole, and although he nearly decides against going the boy jumps on the train just in time. On the train there are other children and he gets talking to a young girl and a know-it-all boy, they stop for another child who originally decides not to get on although when the train starts to leave he changes his mind and is able to get onto the train as the emergency brake is pulled. When the other boy misses out on hot chocolate the girl decides to take him some but leaves her ticket on the seat, the boy tries to give her back her ticket but loses it in the wind. When the conductor learns that her ticket is missing he takes her away, and on top of the train, the boy finds her ticket and follows wanting to make it up to her. On his way he meets a hobo who says he’s the owner of the Polar Express and the king of the North Pole, he then helps him to follow the conductor and the girl, on ski’s across the train. When they get to the tunnel the boy falls into the coal pit and the hobo disappears. Once he gives the girl her ticket the train goes over ice and almost falls through before arriving at the North Pole. When they get to the North Pole the boy and the girl notice the other boy (who we learn is called Billy) hasn’t got off so they try to persuade him to go and see Santa, unfortunately he hits the kicks the brake for the carriage which means they get lost in the maze of the North Pole and the Elf town. On their way back to the town centre they fall into Santa’s sack and Billy finds a present for himself, they eventually land in the centre and Santa arrives, only the boy can’t hear the bells like the other children, nor can he see him due to all the people in front. When one of the bells falls off Santa’s sleigh he picks it up and decides that he does believe in Santa, when he says those words out loud Santa appears next to him and gives him the bell as the first gift of Christmas. They then get back on the train and go home when the boy discovers that the bell has fallen out of the hole in his pocket, he wakes up the next morning to find the bell under the Christmas tree. Just as the credits start he says that although his friends stopped being able to hear the bell ring he never did.
I’m sorry for the long synopsis, I know I’m normally able to keep it short but there was a lot happening in this and I felt it was important to get it all in. I wasn’t sure what to expect but I enjoyed it.
The only person whose name you get told is Billy and I like that, there’s no need to know the main characters names because it means they are every boy and every girl. It makes it feel like that could have been you, which I enjoyed.
The animation was good and was based on the actors in a studio, this means that it captures the actors image and they do a good job of it, but I found the kids a bit unbelievable, they were all nice enough but they didn’t feel real.
Although I think that’s down to the script more than the acting, it puts the children in such wierd situations that they are never going to feel real. This may seem like an odd critism but I’ve always thought the strength of a writer is shown when the characters seem real no matter how odd the situation and that just didn’t come through here, which is a pity.
Overall though I enjoyed the Polar Express and I won’t hesitate to watch it again, the music was good even though it was slightly repetitive and the story was a good mix between being simple and being complex.
Sorry I’m a few minutes late, I’m going to stop starting to write these reviews at 11, and stop getting distracted by my book. Honest