6.6/10
130,446
454 user 183 critic

The Polar Express (2004)

A young boy embarks on a magical adventure to the North Pole on the Polar Express. During his adventure he learns about friendship, bravery, and the spirit of Christmas.

Director:

Writers:

(book), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Popularity
3,984 ( 84)

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

ON DISC
Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 5 wins & 22 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Animation | Drama | Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

An animated retelling of Charles Dickens' classic novel about a Victorian-era miser taken on a journey of self-redemption, courtesy of several mysterious Christmas apparitions.

Director: Robert Zemeckis
Stars: Jim Carrey, Gary Oldman, Colin Firth
Comedy | Family | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

On the outskirts of Whoville, there lives a green, revenge-seeking Grinch who plans on ruining the Christmas holiday for all of the citizens of the town.

Director: Ron Howard
Stars: Jim Carrey, Taylor Momsen, Kelley
Elf (2003)
Comedy | Family | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

After inadvertently wreaking havoc on the elf community due to his ungainly size, a man raised as an elf at the North Pole is sent to the U.S. in search of his true identity.

Director: Jon Favreau
Stars: Will Ferrell, James Caan, Bob Newhart
Comedy | Drama | Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

When a man inadvertantly kills Santa on Christmas Eve, he finds himself magically recruited to take his place.

Director: John Pasquin
Stars: Tim Allen, Judge Reinhold, Wendy Crewson
Happy Feet (2006)
Animation | Comedy | Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Into the world of the Emperor Penguins, who find their soul mates through song, a penguin is born who cannot sing. But he can tap dance something fierce!

Directors: George Miller, Warren Coleman, and 1 more credit »
Stars: Elijah Wood, Brittany Murphy, Hugh Jackman
Monster House (2006)
Animation | Comedy | Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Three teens discover that their neighbor's house is really a living, breathing, scary monster.

Director: Gil Kenan
Stars: Mitchel Musso, Sam Lerner, Spencer Locke
Home Alone (1990)
Comedy | Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

An 8-year old troublemaker must protect his home from a pair of burglars when he is accidentally left home alone by his family during Christmas vacation.

Director: Chris Columbus
Stars: Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern
Cars (2006)
Animation | Adventure | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A hot-shot race-car named Lightning McQueen gets waylaid in Radiator Springs, where he finds the true meaning of friendship and family.

Directors: John Lasseter, Joe Ranft
Stars: Owen Wilson, Bonnie Hunt, Paul Newman
Animation | Comedy | Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A local scientist is often regarded as a failure until he invents a machine that can make food fall from the sky. But little does he know, that things are about to take a turn for the worst.

Directors: Phil Lord, Christopher Miller
Stars: Anna Faris, Bill Hader, Bruce Campbell
Animation | Adventure | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Horton the Elephant struggles to protect a microscopic community from his neighbors who refuse to believe it exists.

Directors: Jimmy Hayward, Steve Martino
Stars: Jim Carrey, Steve Carell, Carol Burnett
Adventure | Comedy | Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

One year after Kevin was left home alone and had to defeat a pair of bumbling burglars, he accidentally finds himself in New York City, and the same criminals are not far behind.

Director: Chris Columbus
Stars: Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern
Shark Tale (2004)
Animation | Adventure | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

When a son of a gangster shark boss is accidentally killed while on the hunt, his would-be prey and his vegetarian brother both decide to use the incident to their own advantage.

Directors: Bibo Bergeron, Vicky Jenson, and 1 more credit »
Stars: Will Smith, Robert De Niro, Renée Zellweger
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
Hero Girl (voice)
...
Brendan King ...
Andy Pellick ...
Josh Eli ...
Mark Mendonca ...
...
Mark Goodman ...
Jon Scott ...
...
Sean Scott ...
...
Edit

Storyline

This is the story of a young hero boy on Christmas Eve who boards on a powerful magical train that's headed to the North Pole and Santa Claus's home. What unfolds is an adventure which follows a doubting boy, who takes an extraordinary train ride to the North Pole; during this ride, he embarks on a journey of self-discovery which shows him that the wonder of life never fades for those who believe. Written by Anthony Pereyra {hypersonic91@yahoo.com}

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Take the journey in IMAX 3D See more »


Certificate:

G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

10 November 2004 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Polar Express: An IMAX 3D Experience  »

Box Office

Budget:

$165,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$23,323,463 (USA) (12 November 2004)

Gross:

$584,413 (USA) (16 December 2016)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The address spoken by the conductor early in the film "11344 Edbrooke" is the real address of Robert Zemeckis' childhood house. The house is in a south side Chicago neighborhood called Roseland. See more »

Goofs

Know-It-All states that the train is a Baldwin 2-8-4 locomotive built in 1931. The Polar Express was modeled from plans of Pere Marquette 1225 which is a 2-8-4 type built by Lima Locomotive Works in 1941. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Hero Boy: On Christmas Eve many years ago I laid quietly in my bed. I did not rustle the sheets, I breathed slowly and silently. I was listening for a sound I was afraid I'd never hear: the sound of Santa's sleigh bells.
See more »

Crazy Credits

At the very end, it reads "In Dedication to Michael Jeter" with a picture. See more »

Connections

Spoofed in The Tonight Show with Jay Leno: Episode #20.62 (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Jolly Old Saint Nicholas
(uncredited)
Written by James Pierpont
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Enchantment, thrills, spectacle...looks great on DVD...
22 November 2004 | by (U.S.A.) – See all my reviews

On the one hand there are many delightful moments in THE POLAR EXPRESS, not the least of which is the entire look of the film--appealing in a way that great illustrations of children's books always are to young and old. Tom Hanks and the others enter into the spirit of the whole thing with gusto--and all the performances are right on target.

On the other hand, much of the film is an excuse to dazzle with roller-coaster-like rides on the express train that roars across various landscapes making wild leaps and turns, all the while thrilling us with a sense of adventure and excitement. For the very young, the ride might be a scary one, especially when the daring young hero rides atop the train during a blustery snowstorm.

Things barely quiet down once the destination is reached at the North Pole. Still there are dangers lurking and the thrills continue with some amazing photographic tricks that can only be done in this new process of computer generated animation.

And to add a cozier touch to the proceedings, certain famous Christmas songs are interjected at intervals to give the North Pole--and the film--a warmer glow.

All in all, quite an imaginative and innovative achievement--impressive enough to assure its place among future Christmas favorites with unlimited appeal for the young in heart. The message of Christmas is lightly hinted at but when Tom Hanks as the train conductor tells the little boy, "The true meaning of Christmas is in your heart," we can be assured that children everywhere will definitely "get it".

Visually, it's a stunner. I didn't see it on the IMAX screen where I imagine it really knocks your socks off, but at a multiplex where picture and sound were impressive enough to convey just how advanced special effects technology has become. There is much artistry involved here, especially when the night scenes of the train's fast-moving travel through a blustery snowstorm capture some rich winter landscapes, including a frozen lake that threatens to demolish train and passengers before danger has passed. The camera-work is continually fascinating as is the artwork involved.

A pity there couldn't have been more of a story in the children's book which is the source--but the artistic visuals are the main source of entertainment here and they are superb. The busy background score by Alan Silvestri is reminiscent of works by John Williams. Although none of the sprightly song tunes are particularly memorable, there is a wistful quality to one of the new Christmas ballads sung by the children.

P.S. - I have just watched it on DVD, a year after writing the above review--and it's definitely a keeper--just as wonderful as you could want, an amazing technological achievement that should delight all ages who can still hear that bell! Tom Hanks, as the conductor, is my favorite character--brilliant job.


89 of 115 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page