The Polar Express

( 53 )

Overview

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 ...
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Overview

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
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Special Features

Closed Caption; [None specified]
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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.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 11/22/2005
  • UPC: 012569699854
  • Original Release: 2004
  • Rating:

  • Source: Warner Home Video
  • Region Code: 1
  • Presentation: Pan & Scan / Single Disc Edition
  • Time: 1:40:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 15,297

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Tom Hanks Voice Only, Voice Only, Voice Only, Voice Only, Voice Only
Eddie Deezen Voice Only
Michael Jeter Voice Only, Voice Only
Nona Gaye Voice Only
Peter Scolari Voice Only
Charles Fleischer Voice Only
Steven Tyler Voice Only, Voice Only
Leslie Zemeckis Voice Only, Voice Only
Daryl Sabara Voice Only
André Sogliuzzo Voice Only, Voice Only
Jimmy Bennett Voice Only
Isabella Peregrina Voice Only
Sagiv Ben-Binyamin Acrobatic Elf
Jena Carpenter Acrobatic Elf
Beth Carpenter Acrobatic Elf
Kevin C. Carr Acrobatic Elf
Debbie Lee Carrington Elf
Christopher Coppola Elf, Toothless Boy
Chris Coppola Elf, Toothless Boy
Josh Eli Waiter
Phil Fondacaro Elf
Bill Forchion Acrobatic Elf
Ed Gale Elf
Gregory Gast Waiter
Mark Goodman Waiter
Gordon Hart Waiter
Devin Henderson Acrobatic Elf
Rolandas Hendricks Waiter
Aaron Hendry Acrobatic Elf
Ashly Holloway Sister Sarah
Josh Hutcherson Hero Boy
Bee Jay Joyer Acrobatic Elf
Brendan King Pastry Chef
Connor Matheus Toothless
Karine Mauffrey Acrobatic Elf
Hayden McFarland Lonely Boy
Mark Mendonca Waiter
Eric Newton Acrobatic Elf
Aidan O'Shea Acrobatic Elf
Dante Pastula Little Boy
Andy Pellick Pastry Chef
Jimmy "Jax" Pinchak Know-it-All
Mark Povinelli Elf
Julene Renee Elf
Evan Sabara Young Boy
Jon Scott Waiter
Sean Scott Waiter
Chantel Valdivieso Hero Girl
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
Cathy T. Marshall Set Decoration/Design
Stephen Marshall Animator
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 Jr. 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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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- The Polar Express
1. Christmas Eve [3:28]
2. All Aboard [:04]
3. Another Passenger [:40]
4. Hot Chocolate [:04]
5. Ticket on the Loose [:45]
6. Hobo on the Roof [4:39]
7. Look Who's Driving [2:23]
8. Caribou Conversation [:04]
9. Hitting the Ice [:33]
10. Forsaken Toys [:04]
11. When Christmas Comes to Town [2:23]
12. The Polar Express [3:03]
13. Where's the Brake? [4:48]
14. Steven Gets a Break [4:58]
15. Billy's Present [5:36]
16. Elf Action [1:37]
17. Readying for Santa [:04]
18. I Believe [:51]
19. First Gift of Christmas [:04]
20. Dash Away All! [4:29]
21. Tickets Fully Punched [:04]
22. What Matters [:42]
23. For Whom the Bell Rings [:04]
24. End Credits [3:03]
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Menu

Disc #1 -- The Polar Express
   Play Movie
   Scene Selections
   Theatrical Trailer
   Languages
      Spoken Languages: English 5.1
      Spoken Languages: Español 5.1
      Spoken Languages: Français 5.1 (Doublé Au Québec)
      Subtitles: English
      Subtitles: Español
      Subtitles: Français
      Subtitles: Off
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 53 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(34)

4 Star

(9)

3 Star

(5)

2 Star

(3)

1 Star

(2)

Your Rating:

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 53 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Pretty good family Christmas movie....

    Though this movie isn't as good as "Elf" or "The Santa Clause", this is still a very good family movie. However, there are quite a few scenes that would scare kids under the age of seven... so I will just give you a word of caution on that part. However, this is a very good classic, and it deserves to be a part of your DVD library. The only part I don't like about this movie is this... why doesn't any of the kids have names? The main character is cast as "Hero Boy", the sweet girl is credited as "Hero Girl", the obnoxious boy is credited as "Know-It-All Kid", etc. I don't know, it's bothered me for quite some time now. I also don't understand why Tom Hanks played all those roles. He played the conductor, Santa Clause, the hobo, etc. I wish the film-makers gave him at least two roles... he was very funny in the movie, but it would have been better if they just gave him one role. Anyway, the animation is very... stunning! Wow.. it's so awesome! While I was sitting in the theater, quite a few times (hmmm... let's say... 25?) where I was thinking, "Wow! Is this real?" Because that's EXACTLY what it looked like... it looked sooooooooooo real!!! It was really amazing, they did an excellent job with the animation. Anyway, you should get this movie and add it to your DVD library. It's certainly a good Christmas treat for your family!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Save this one for older children

    My son, who first saw this movie in the theatre when 3, was terrified. We left in the middle of it because his heart was pounding and he was shaking. While this is a beautiful story with a wonderful message, do not let the prior review compel you to believe this movie is for children of all ages. I expect my son will be better prepared for the scary sections when he is 6 or 7.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Not for all children. Preview first!

    My husband and I rented the DVD and previewed it before showing it to my 3 year old son who loves trains. I am very glad that we did that because it was way too scary to be shown to him. There are several scenes where the children are walking on top of a snow covered train and almost fall off. Another scene has the train losing control on a lake of ice and then the ice starts to crack. There is also a mystery ghost man who "lives" on top of the moving train. I know that all children are different, but I can't imagine letting my son see this movie until he is much older. I suggest that you preview this movie before you give it to the little ones in your life.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 17, 2012

    This is one of my very favorite Christmas movies. It's just not

    This is one of my very favorite Christmas movies. It's just not even the holiday season to me without seeing it. I don't have children so I can't weigh in on what age it's appropriate for, but I can tell you as an adult, I love it. The message is fabulous and the animation is so so beautiful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 27, 2012

    Magical

    The meaning of the movie is so well told and seamless; would make a great family discussion. It makes me want to believe in Santa again and opens my eyes to angels everywhere. If deciding between the 2D and 3D versions, absolutely go for the 3D. It's the best 3D I've ever seen, including anything I have seen in theaters.

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  • Posted December 25, 2011

    Wonderful

    Wonderful - I have now watched it three times, each time picking up something I previously missed .. this should be viewed by those 1 to 100 plus! You need to see it to understand my excitement over this movie......you would not be disappointed. Plus it is not just for Christmas - I would watch this anytime, for the deep meaning it holds for daily life.

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Excellent Movie

    The Polar Express is by far my most favorite Christmas movie. I love the characters, the graphics, the storyline, etc. Because of this movie, my 3 yr old really, truely believes in Santa Claus. We've seen it during Christmas and off-season.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    My Nook

    I love my Nook however I would have like more direction on it use included instead of have to search and review on line. Also it would have been helpful if an explantion was included that said my extended coverage was electronically noted and thaere was no contract or paper to have. Otherwise I have purchased my first book and I am enjoying the reading.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    very sweet

    My daughter loves this movie and requests "choo choo" back to back... very sweet movie, and the music is wonderful! I even usually don't mind watching it repeatedly with her :P

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    New Christmas Classic in 3-D

    I had seen this at the theater and really enjoyed it. The Blu-ray gives the clarity necessary to bring this movie to life on a small screen and the 3-D or not 3-D makes it a real winner.

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Amazing Christmas Movie!

    Okay, okay...so I am a bit late in seeing this, but yes...I just finally saw this movie shortly before writing this review. Better late than never though I guess. But yeah, this is an excellent movie. I definitely want to buy this now. Why I hadn't bothered to see this any sooner, I have no idea, but now that I have, I totally recommend it to anyone else who hasn't. It's a lot of fun! Listed below are a few of many other great Chistmas titles to check out also.

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    THE POLAR EXPRESS

    THIS IS ONE OF THE BEST MOVIES I HAVE SEEN . MY DAUGHTER AND I HAVE SEEN IT ABOUT A MILLION TIMES .I LOVE IT!!!!!!!

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    Polar Express

    My son is 3 years old and LOVES this movie, he has watched it over and over.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    BEST CHRISTMAS MOVIE EVER MADE

    Like I wrote in my review on iTunes, I thought this was another one of those poorly-made kid movies about Christmas. But after watching it in school three years ago, I finally realized what a wonderful, sweet movie this really is. It helped me see that I could still have the Christmas Spirit even after I grew up. And there's something in it for everyone, adults and children alike. All I can say is...this is an awesome movie!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Magical

    Best Holiday Story on DVD I have seen and my next favorite is old school..Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. This is a family tradition every Christmas Eve Eve. The ending will make a grown man cry.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    amazing!!!!!!!!!!!

    Josh Hutcherson is amazing as the hero boy in this film, as always!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    A Christmas Best

    This movie has totally brought out the christmas spirit in me. A must see!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    It's Grrrrrrrrrreat!!!

    This movie is one of the best children movies ever. The animation was wonderful so life like, and the plot made you want to believe in Santa if you don't already or make you believe again. I recommend this movie for all children of ALL ages.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Great for the whole family!

    My husband and I curled up on the couch with our 2 daughters (ages 3 1/2 and almost 2) on a cool morning and watched this wonderful movie. The girls were completely captivated with the fantastic story and all the action. I don't think there is another family movie out there that compares.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    WOW!

    This movie is so cool, there were moments when I forgot I was watching a CGI cartoon. The story is great, there's action, drama, comedy. I love the Polar Express.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 53 Customer Reviews