6.6/10
121,095
444 user 185 critic

The Polar Express (2004)

Trailer
2:03 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

ON DISC
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
3,130 ( 448)
Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 5 wins & 21 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
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
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
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
Robots (2005)
Animation | Adventure | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

In a robot world, a young idealistic inventor travels to the big city to join his inspiration's company, only to find himself opposing its sinister new management.

Directors: Chris Wedge, Carlos Saldanha
Stars: Ewan McGregor, Halle Berry, Mel Brooks
Animation | Adventure | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A scheming raccoon fools a mismatched family of forest creatures into helping him repay a debt of food, by invading the new suburban sprawl that popped up while they were hibernating...and learns a lesson about family himself.

Directors: Tim Johnson, Karey Kirkpatrick
Stars: Bruce Willis, Garry Shandling, Steve Carell
Flushed Away (2006)
Animation | Adventure | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

The story of an uptown rat that gets flushed down the toilet from his penthouse apartment, ending in the sewers of London, where he has to learn a whole new and different way of life.

Directors: David Bowers, Sam Fell
Stars: Hugh Jackman, Kate Winslet, Ian McKellen
Big (1988)
Comedy | Drama | Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

When a boy wishes to be big at a magic wish machine, he wakes up the next morning and finds himself in an adult body.

Director: Penny Marshall
Stars: Tom Hanks, Elizabeth Perkins, Robert Loggia
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
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
Hero Girl (voice)
...
Brendan King ...
Andy Pellick ...
Josh Eli ...
Mark Mendonca ...
Rolandas Hendricks ...
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 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:

All Aboard In IMAX 3D this holiday 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:

$665,426 (USA) (28 December 2012)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

| | |

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Robert Zemeckis: [keyhole] The Hero Boy looks through a keyhole early in the movie. See more »

Goofs

When the elves are helping the children out of Santa's sack the elves move as if they are getting the "know it all" out of the sack, but there is no boy between them. 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

Spoofs Speed (1994) See more »

Soundtracks

Winter Wonderland
Written by Felix Bernard and Richard B. Smith (as Dick Smith)
Performed by The Andrews Sisters
Courtesy of Geffen Records
Under License from Universal Music Enterprises
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.


84 of 110 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
The ending jetairliner
Take the first 20 minutes and the last 10 AOrfanides
Gross: $665,426 (USA) Really? Ed_Hopkins
Facial animations pereira-filipesantos
Discuss The Polar Express (2004) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page