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48 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely capitvating - despite the animation style
I didn't know what to expect with this film, but as I thought I'd spend some money this year building a collection of classic Christmas films on DVD, I added this one to the list and, thankfully, I opted for the 2-disc version.

At first I was phased by the freakish near-accuracy of the animated figures. Almost human, but not quite. Only the elves and and train...
Published on 19 Dec. 2006 by Alan Sturgess

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Provider, unclear advertising of product by amazon.
Hi I am not critical of the provider of the DVD who were professional and prompt in their service. But I assumed from Amazons description it was a 3D DVD which could be played on a normal 3d TV using standard 3D glasses (I typed in 3D DVDs on Amazon). When it arrived the information was in Italian and 4 pairs of the cardboard red and green glasses (I have not seen since...
Published 20 months ago by Richard Green


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thank goodness it includes the 2D version..., 11 Dec. 2009
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I was really excited about the new version - I already have The Polar Express on DVD but after seeing it at the Imax in 3D, I was looking forward to a little bit of that magic in my home.

I know that home 3D with those cheap coloured glasses won't ever rival the Imax's, but home 3D can work very well (Journey to the Center of the Earth has great 3D effects).

However, as stated elsewhere, the 3D here goes from 'slight' to headache-inducing blurred double-images - my other half could only stand 5 minutes before she had a migraine.

I really do think they've mis-authored the disc, but then that begs the question - "why did they release it in this state?"

It's saving grace is that it includes the 2D blu-ray version, which has very good picture and sound quality.

Buy it for that reason alone.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Christmas Perennial?, 12 Nov. 2005
I also took my family to the Imax to see the Polar Express in 3D and I have to say that we all found it quite stunning. When he walked out of his house into the night and the snow was falling, my sons held out their hands to see if they could catch the snow. But is the film more than just a 3D spectacular? I believe it is and will become a Christmas classic with time. The story may not be that intricate or involved, but kids will love it and even the very young will be able to follow it. I don't think any children will find the characters scary because of the animation used. Tom Hanks is brilliant in all the different parts he plays. Buy the movie. Settle down on Christmas Eve with the kids and watch the Polar Express...you won't regret it.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A new First ScotRail route?, 27 Dec. 2005
By 
Mr. Joe (Glendale, CA USA) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
A criticism leveled at a currently running holiday movie, CHRISTMAS WITH THE KRANKS, is that Jesus is mentioned nowhere in the plot. THE POLAR EXPRESS, a much superior film, doesn't either. (Just so you know if you care about such things.) THE POLAR EXPRESS is all about childhood belief in Santa Claus and getting presents. If, like me, you don't particularly care much anymore (Bah humbug!) about Santa and presents, the film represents an extraordinary achievement in animation and motion-capture technology. And, it's great fun.
The plot is simple. On Christmas Eve, a young boy finds himself doubting the existence of Santa even as he gazes at the ornamented tree and the cookies and moo laid out for jolly St. Nick. He goes to sleep suspecting that Dad is the real benefactor. In any case, he's awakened in the middle of the night by the steam-belching locomotive of the Polar Express, which has pulled to a stop in the street. After some initial hesitation, our young hero climbs aboard for a wild ride to the North Pole where his belief in Santa may (or may not) be resurrected.
This film, insofar as it uses real actors to provide the voiceovers and the substrate for the motion-capture effects, is virtually a one man show for Tom Hanks, who "plays" the Boy Hero, his father, the train's conductor, a mysterious hobo, a Scrooge puppet, and Santa himself. (The Boy Hero's voice is provided by Daryl Sabra. Tom doesn't do soprano.) You'd think the Screen Actor's Guild would protest the reduction in actors required to meet casting requirements.
As an exercise in motion-capture, THE POLAR EXPRESS is an intriguing glimpse at what may be the future of the motion picture industry. As seen in this film, they haven't quite yet got the technique down perfect. The human movements are faintly unnatural - perhaps a greater concentration of motion sensors are needed on the real life actor's skin. And the eyes are sometimes downright creepy. (If my wife showed up with such orbs, I'd search the Yellow Pages for "exorcist".) The animation of the animals in the film is, however, superlative, as evidenced by a breathtaking sequence of a running pack of wolves that left me positively delighted.
I'm awarding five stars for the incredibly detailed visuals. It's a small thing, but I was entranced, for example, by the swirling vortices of ice flakes created by the train's passage through a snowstorm as framed by the rear door of the last passenger car. I find it amazing and commendable that the film's creators would think to include such an esoteric detail.
It's been predicted in some quarters that THE POLAR EXPRESS will become a Yuletide season classic. That it would ever replace IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE is doubtful. Tom Hanks, as phenomenal as he is, is no Jimmy Stewart, and THE POLAR EXPRESS doesn't have even a fraction of the warm fuzziness. But the latter is at the top of its genre.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Polar Express IS for Christmas!, 16 Nov. 2007
By 
C. CSTEWART (Belfast, NI.) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: The Polar Express [2004] [DVD] (DVD)
I LOVE THIS DVD! Im dumbfounded to see people giving it low ratings?? Guys are you missing the point?? Its for KIDS! My 3 year old daughter is captivated by the magic of this tale and im sure my son will when he is a few years older. The storyline isnt "thin", anything more and children switch off. I know this film will become a part of christmas in our household...the moral at the end of the story is almost tear jerking... I suggest you sit back with snacks, relax and enjoy the film for what its ment to be, a feelgood childrens christmas tale.

Anyone who rates this film poorly clearly can no longer "hear the sound of the bell..." ;o))

Merry Christmas!
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Everyone should ride on The Polar Express at least once, 14 May 2006
By 
Daniel Jolley "darkgenius" (Shelby, North Carolina USA) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Polar Express [2004] [DVD] (DVD)
People look at me funny when I say that I had never heard of The Polar Express until this film was released. Somehow, I was never introduced to the book as a child. Hopefully, with this wonderful film now available along with the original book, no other child will grow to adulthood without taking a ride on The Polar Express. It's a wonderful story about the spirit of Christmas and the importance of giving. The incredible animation of the film may always be the first thing people speak of, but in the end it really does come down to the story. It is not what you see, it's what you feel - these are the memories that will linger.

The digital animation that brings this story to visual life is nothing short of astounding. This revolutionary "performance capture" technology makes these characters the most life-like animated characters I've ever seen. I think they look more human than actual humans, truth be told - except for Santa. It's a weird thing about this Santa Claus; he immediately reminded me of none other than Harry Potter's Professor Snape (even though Santa's voice was actually that of Tom Hanks). I've heard that some kids found the whole visual look of the characters rather creepy, but I think the uncanny technology really makes the film come alive. By incorporating the motions of live actors into the digital creative process, filmmakers were able to imbue their creations with the nuances of human expression, and one can hardly underestimate just how much that adds to the viewer's experience of the animated story. It's really quite incredible. Traditional animation would hardly have done this story justice, and it would have been incredibly challenging to film such a magical journey in the traditional manner. This film has some of the most unique and exciting camera angles and perspectives I've ever seen.

It's hard to see how anyone, child or adult, could not enjoy this movie. It's an incredible journey, filled with both excitement and comedy, to the North Pole, for Pete's sake. There are also moments of great warmth and emotion - most of them supplied by the Hero Girl (Nona Gaye). Tom Hanks may steal the show in his performance of five different roles, including the Hero Boy at the center of things, but the Hero Girl - who befriends a forlorn little boy (Peter Scolari) who shies away from everyone else - is the heart and soul of this film.

I chuckled when I read the editorial review because I also thought of Nuremberg when I saw the masses of elves rallying around Santa before his Christmas Eve departure. Clearly, though, there is nothing but joy and kindness in this mass assembly of people - er, elves. I loved this movie. Unless you're a grinch or a Scrooge, just watching it will take you back to your own days of childhood and the magic that Christmas once brought. The Polar Express is a visually dazzling, heart-warming, exceedingly good (in all senses of the word) motion picture.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Possibly the Best Christmas Film Ever, 5 Jan. 2006
I bought this for my 2 year old son who loves trains etc and we saw the trailer and I was hooked. We've now watched it loads of times (sometimes 3 times a day). It has given both myself and my son lots of enjoyment (especially watching it together)and I think it will become one of THE Christmas Films in years to come.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Magical Adventure, 6 Mar. 2006
By 
Caleb Williams (Liverpool) - See all my reviews
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This is an amazingly crafted adventure that keeps you interested from start to finish i just gotta say what a shame there aren't more movies like this these days. Fully computer animated this is a stunning work of animation art. The story is based around a young boy who is losing his belief in santa clause and the Polar Express arrives to re-instate that faithe in santa.
This is a story about belief, love & friendship and is definately an exciting and comic tale that the whole family will enjoy.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Provider, unclear advertising of product by amazon., 16 Nov. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Hi I am not critical of the provider of the DVD who were professional and prompt in their service. But I assumed from Amazons description it was a 3D DVD which could be played on a normal 3d TV using standard 3D glasses (I typed in 3D DVDs on Amazon). When it arrived the information was in Italian and 4 pairs of the cardboard red and green glasses (I have not seen since the 1960s) were provided. even with these glasses my granchildren cannot view in 3D on our 3D TV. So it was more the clarity of advertising by Amazon than the vendor. I am disapointed although luckily it came with a 2D copy which we will view.
Not Amazons normal standard.
regards
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Christmas Feeling on a DVD, 21 Sept. 2007
By 
Tangerine "tangerineman" (North Yorkshire) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: The Polar Express [2004] [DVD] (DVD)
This is a Christmas DVD that is a must for all those who are either young at heart, have children, love Christmas and want an easy going Christmas film to watch with the family at that time of the year. Its not going to be for everyone but if you don't like it - Humbug. It is wonderfully animated and tells the story of a steam train that rides to Father Christmas in the North Pole on Christmas Eve. The children who ride the train are those that are starting to wonder if Father Christmas is real or not. The children discover the truth and make it back in time for Christmas morning. Its a cosy film like hot buttered crumpets. It makes you feel good. Forget sub plots and all that nonsense. Some films are not meant to be analysed to that degree. If you go into watching this with an open mind and are willing to just accept this for what it is then you will enjoy it. Its fun, warm and perfect in the run up to the best time of the year.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Really encapsulates the Christmas spirit., 31 Aug. 2012
By 
This review is from: The Polar Express [2004] [DVD] (DVD)
Whenever office or pub conversations turn seasonal this film is always mentioned as a favourite along with The Muppet Christmas Carol and National Lampoon's Christmas vacation. I've yet to meet anyone who doesn't like it although the negative reviews suggest that there must be a few out there. For me, this hits the nail on the head.

The film opening perfectly recreates that interminable wait on Christmas Eve when a child is desperate for Santa to come but the clock stubbornly refuses to move. Additionally, our hero is tortured by doubts about Santa's existence. He finally drops off to sleep and is woken by a train stopping in the street outside. Having been persuaded to board by the guard he meets other children who are all on the train because they are in need of a life lesson. There's a girl who needs to believe in herself, a boy who is an irritating know-it-all and a poor boy who needs to know that Christmas can come to the disadvantaged.

During the journey our hero has an adventure involving a rooftop encounter with a ghostly hobo and a rollercoaster ride over a mountain and across a frozen lake. The hobo encounter is mildly spooky and the conversation he has with the boy may go over younger children's heads. For older viewers the hobo adds an extra strand of interest to the film. The rollercoaster ride involves the seemingly out of control train careering crazily over a mountain range before slithering over a frozen lake...which starts to crack. Excellent tension builder even for older viewers who know that the train has to escape to continue its journey. The journey culminates at the North Pole at Santa's industrial complex where some of the children get lost before being deposited in Santa's giant sack on his sleigh where they disembark, meet Santa and go home.

The film is expanded from a very thin book and lots of scenes have been added to give depth, motivation and detail to a simple and charming story. The motion capture animation works really well, I did not see any jerky or unnatural movement. The characters do lack expression but the film is sufficiently engaging to compensate for this. The scenery is excellent and the sequence where the ticket flies off the train into the woods showcases the artistry perfectly. Santa's workshop has been likened to a northern mill town with its utilitarian red brick architecture and industrial atmosphere but is what probably appears in some form in most kids' heads when they try to work out how Santa manages to make and despatch such a vast number of toys every year. Likewise the giant sack of presents and the fact that the time is 11:55pm for hours up until Santa appears. The elves aren't particularly cute but then there's no rule that says that they should be. The colour palette at the North Pole is very limited, mainly red, green, white and grey including the elves outfits. This makes the North Pole a surprisingly downbeat looking place.

The film has also been criticised for being too scary for youngsters. There are a couple of scenes which might frighten very young or very sensitive children. The encounter with the Scrooge puppet springs to mind. That said, my daughter has happily watched this film since she was three and my kids will normally watch it 3 or 4 times each Christmas.

The only part of this film I'm not keen on is the saccharine sweet duet between a couple of the characters mid-film. I almost docked the film one star because of it. Still, it only lasts a couple of minutes and then it's back to the action. There's also a lively and upbeat Jazz and Tap ode to chocolate early in the film when the kids are served hot chocolate by magical dancing waiters. This song is capably dispatched by Tom Hanks who voices all the male adult characters except the engineer and the fireman. I believe that Mr Hanks was instrumental in getting this film made so he can be forgiven for wanting to play such a big part in it. Director Robert Zemeckis slips in a couple of sly references to his earlier films. The music accompanying the rooftop sequence was originally used in Back to the Future and the scene where our hero pulls the train whistle exclaiming "I wanted to do that my whole life" is a straight lift from Back to the Future III. The train whistle sounds the same too.

Trivia aside, this film has all the ingredients for a Christmas classic. A journey of discovery for the main characters, lots of great Christmas imagery that most people will identify with and a message of hope and spirit. It's enough to make almost anyone believe. If you are planning to expand your seasonal film library ready for this Christmas you should seriously consider acquiring this film. At £5, it's a steal.
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The Polar Express [2004] [DVD]
The Polar Express [2004] [DVD] by Robert Zemeckis (DVD - 2006)
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