The Polar Express by Robert Zemeckis |Nona Gaye | 883929036288 | Blu-ray | Barnes & Noble
Polar Express

The Polar Express

4.3 54
Director: Robert Zemeckis

Cast: Nona Gaye


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Directed by Robert Zemeckis and based on children's author Chris Van Allsburg's modern holiday classic of the same name, The Polar Express revolves around Billy (Hayden McFarland), who longs to believe in Santa Claus but finds it quite difficult to do so, what with his family's dogged insistence that all of it, from the North Pole, to the elves, to the man


Directed by Robert Zemeckis and based on children's author Chris Van Allsburg's modern holiday classic of the same name, The Polar Express revolves around Billy (Hayden McFarland), who longs to believe in Santa Claus but finds it quite difficult to do so, what with his family's dogged insistence that all of it, from the North Pole, to the elves, to the man himself, is all just a myth. This all changes, however, on Christmas Eve, when a mysterious train visits Billy in the middle of the night, promising to take him and a group of other lucky children to the North Pole for a visit with Santa. The train's conductor (Tom Hanks) along with the other passengers help turn Billy's crisis in faith into a journey of self-discovery. A long-time fan of Van Allsburg's book, Hanks also helped produce the film. ~ Tracie Cooper

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Donald Liebenson
The Polar Express was slow to pull out of the station in its theatrical run, but it gathered steam and continued to draw audiences throughout the 2004 holiday season, defying the typical pattern. It would be inaccurate to call it a “little engine that could,” though, as director Robert Zemeckis’ adaptation of the Chris Van Allsburg book is pretty much a roaring locomotive thrill ride. Zemeckis, who pushed the visual effects envelope with such films as Who Framed Roger Rabbit? and Forrest Gump, employs a process called "performance capture," digitally translating the movements of human actors into hyper-realistic animation. What the film lacks in personality, it more than makes up for with breathtakingly beautiful snowscapes. However, it threatens to derail in the time-padding action sequences that would be more at home in a video game, as the Express careers up and down mountains and skids across a frozen lake en route to its rendezvous with St. Nick. Keeping the film on track is Tom Hanks, who provides the human host for several characters, including the young boy (voiced by Daryl Sabara), the conductor, and a mysterious hobo who inexplicably camps on top of the train. Further powering The Polar Express are a heart-melting, Oscar-nominated ballad ("Believe"), a rollicking showstopper complete with dancing waiters ("Hot Chocolate"), and the instantly recognizable Jerry Lewis tones of prolific voice-over artist Eddie Deezen as Know-It-All, who has a lot to learn when it comes to Santa Claus.
All Movie Guide - Karl Williams
Even if it didn't boast state-of-the-art motion-capture effects, the holiday adventure The Polar Express would be a notable film for the way it patiently compiled an impressive box-office haul the old-fashioned way: gradually over time, thanks to strong word of mouth. That's a stark contrast to the usual harbinger of a film's success: the ritual, vigorous looting of moviegoers' pockets in one or two weekends, quickly, before anyone realizes the film stinks. Its slow build was probably due to a marketing campaign failure -- a blitz of television commercials that made the film's animation seem stodgy, dull, and flat. In fact, it's quite the opposite. Director Robert Zemeckis and his effects wizards faithfully render the distinctive style of illustrator and writer Chris Van Allsburg, the creator of the original children's picture book upon which the film is based, with magically arresting results. If The Polar Express flags a bit in the middle, it's due to the strain of stretching a very short story into a feature-length running time, but that's the only flaw in what is otherwise an instant holiday classic. Tom Hanks delivers a skillful performance in multiple roles (especially as the flinty conductor), and kids are sure to be swept up in the literal roller-coaster ride that the movie becomes. Though it's a polar opposite (pun intended) in tone, it is exciting to note that, just six months later, Sin City (2005) from director Robert Rodriguez represents a second notable effort to adhere as closely as possible to the creator's artistic vision and style, a remarkable and hopeful development in an era of cookie-cutter, corporate product.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Warner Home Video

Special Features

Smokey and Steamer song not seen in theaters; You Look Familiar: The Many Polar Faces of Tom Hanks; A Genuine Ticket to Ride: 5 featurettes; True Inspirations: Profiling author Chris van Allsburg; Believe: Josh Groban performance and behind the scenes; Flurry of Effects: 5 motion-capture sessions; Show Angels: moviemakers' Christmas memories; Theatrical trailer

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Tom Hanks Conductor,Father,Hero Boy,Hero Boy/Father/Conductor/Hobo/Scrooge/Santa,Santa Claus
Michael Jeter Smokey,Steamer
Nona Gaye Hero Girl
Peter Scolari Lonely Boy
Eddie Deezen Know-it-All
Charles Fleischer Elf General
Steven Tyler Elf Lieutenant,Elf Singer
Leslie Zemeckis Sister Sarah / Mother
Daryl Sabara Hero Boy
André Sogliuzzo Smokey,Steamer
Jimmy Bennett Lonely Boy
Isabella Peregrina Sister Sarah
Chris Coppola Toothless Boy,Elf
Julene Renee Elf
Ed Gale Elf
Josh Hutcherson Hero Boy
Hayden McFarland Lonely Boy
Connor Matheus Toothless
Jimmy "Jax" Pinchak Know-it-All
Chantel Valdivieso Hero Girl
Brendan King Pastry Chef
Andy Pellick Pastry Chef
Josh Eli Waiter
Mark Mendonca Waiter
Rolandas Hendricks Waiter
Mark Goodman Waiter
Jon Scott Waiter
Gregory Gast Waiter
Sean Scott Waiter
Gordon Hart Waiter
Phil Fondacaro Elf
Debbie Lee Carrington Elf
Mark Povinelli Elf
Dante Pastula Little Boy
Eric Newton Acrobatic Elf
Aidan O'Shea Acrobatic Elf
Aaron Hendry Acrobatic Elf
Kevin C. Carr Acrobatic Elf
Bee Jay Joyer Acrobatic Elf
Jena Carpenter Acrobatic Elf
Karine Mauffrey Acrobatic Elf
Beth Carpenter Acrobatic Elf
Bill Forchion Acrobatic Elf
Devin Henderson Acrobatic Elf
Sagiv Ben-Binyamin Acrobatic Elf
Ashly Holloway Sister Sarah
Evan Sabara Young Boy

Technical Credits
Robert Zemeckis Director,Producer,Screenwriter
James Andrykowski Editor
Glen Ballard Score Composer,Songwriter
Jeffrey Beck Set Decoration/Design
Jackson Bishop Set Decoration/Design
Scott Boland Casting
Steven J. Boyd Co-producer
William Broyles Screenwriter
Don Burgess Cinematographer
Victoria Burrows Casting
Deborah Carlson Animator
John Carrafa Choreography
Rick Carter Production Designer
Leo Corey Castellano Makeup
Mark Chadwick Stunts
Todd Cherniawsky Set Decoration/Design
Doug Chiang Production Designer
Donna Cicatelli Makeup
Dale Condit Makeup
Matthew Cordner Animator
Matt Davies Animator
David R. Davies Animator
Brian Davis Animator
Debbie Denise Associate Producer
R. Orlando Duenas Editor
Tim Eaton Editor
Jeff Evans Stunts
Tony Fanning Art Director
Dane Farwell Stunts
Andy Gauvreau Animator
Gary Goetzman Producer
Shane Habberstad Stunts
Tom Hanks Executive Producer
James Hegedus Art Director
Kseniya Hoppe Set Decoration/Design
Marc Horsfield Animator
Joanna Johnston Costumes/Costume Designer
Chris Juen Producer
Keith Kellogg Animator
Dan Kessler Animator
Martin A. Kline Art Director
Kenneth A. Larson Set Decoration/Design
Hae Jeon Lee Animator
Alicia MacCarone Art Director
Stephen Marshall Animator
Cathy T. Marshall Set Decoration/Design
Masako Masuda Set Decoration/Design
John Clark Matthews Animator
Aaron McComas Animator
Kenn McDonald Animator
Josh McLaglen Associate Producer,Asst. Director
Joel Mitchell Special Effects
Michelle Murdocca Producer
Bill Myer Makeup
Norman Newberry Art Director
Bob Norin Makeup
Patrick B. O'Brien Camera Operator
Jeremiah O'Driscoll Editor
Steven Ong Animator
John Patton Animator
Ralph Peterson Special Effects
Robert Presley Cinematographer
Jack Rapke Executive Producer
Stephen M. Rickert Editor
Matthew Rugetti Stunts
Allen Ruilova Animator
Cherie Rye Animator
Jeff Schu Animator
Vincent Serritella Animator
Peter Shinners Animator
Lisa Shriver Choreography
Alan Silvestri Score Composer,Songwriter
Steve Starkey Producer
Chad Stewart Animator
Smokey Stover Set Decoration/Design
Dan Striepeke Makeup
George Suhayda Art Director
William Teitler Producer
Peter Toby Tobyansen Associate Producer
Chris Van Allsburg Executive Producer
Angie Wells Makeup
Karen Westerfield Makeup
Nakoma Whobrey Makeup
Cinzia Zanetti Makeup


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