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The Polar Express (2004)

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On Christmas Eve, a young boy embarks on a magical adventure to the North Pole on the Polar Express, while learning about friendship, bravery, and the spirit of Christmas.

Director:

Robert Zemeckis

Writers:

Chris Van Allsburg (book), Robert Zemeckis (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Popularity
1,567 ( 890)
Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 5 wins & 23 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Tom Hanks ... Hero Boy / Father / Conductor / Hobo / Scrooge / Santa Claus
Leslie Zemeckis ... Sister Sarah / Mother
Eddie Deezen ... Know-It-All
Nona Gaye ... Hero Girl (voice)
Peter Scolari ... Billy - Lonely Boy
Brendan King Brendan King ... Pastry Chef
Andy Pellick Andy Pellick ... Pastry Chef
Josh Eli Josh Eli ... Waiter
Mark Mendonca Mark Mendonca ... Waiter
Rolandas Hendricks Rolandas Hendricks ... Waiter
Mark Goodman Mark Goodman ... Waiter
Jon Scott Jon Scott ... Waiter
Gregory Gast ... Waiter
Sean Scott Sean Scott ... Waiter
Gordon Hart ... Waiter
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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:

Journey Beyond Your Imagination See more »


Certificate:

G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

10 November 2004 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Polar Express: An IMAX 3D Experience See more »

Filming Locations:

Arctic Ocean See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$165,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$23,323,463, 14 November 2004, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$183,373,735

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$307,514,317
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In the beginning of the movie, Hero Boy looks at a picture of himself on a store Santa's lap. The store is Herpolsheimer's, an old department store in Grand Rapids,Michigan, Chris Van Allsburg's hometown. Later, the train passes by the store. See more »

Goofs

When Hero Boy jumps into the car with coal and then gets out of it, the coal doesn't leave any marks or stains on his body or clothes. 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 »

Alternate Versions

The film's IMAX release presented the film cropped to the Univisium 2.00:1 aspect ratio. See more »

Connections

Referenced in A Christmas Carol (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

It's Beginning to Look Like Christmas
Written by Meredith Willson
Performed by Perry Como
Courtesy of The RCA Records Label
Under License from BMG Film & TV Music
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
wonderful holiday film
18 December 2004 | by madpenguin41See all my reviews

So it was with much trepidation and even utter fear in my heart that I went to see this movie. After all, the last time I went to see a full-length adaptation of a favorite Christmas story, what I got was Ron Howard's absolutely God-awful "The Grinch". Having grown up with the book "The Polar Express" (according to my mom, I cited it as my favorite Christmas present when I was seven), I did not want to see this story bastardized in any way. Honestly, I was prepared for "Polar Express" to be a complete wreck. But instead…

It soared. Completely. What makes the film such a success is not so much even the story itself, but an execution which somehow manages to inject every frame of the film with a feeling of childlike wonder and exuberance. In addition, there are so many clever touches and details added throughout that a feeling of mystery and excitement just fills the viewer. Among these are the waiters dancing and singing while serving hot chocolate to the kids on the train (a very funny scene, as well), the factory where the presents are prepared, and a ghost-like hobo who is never really explained, but is incredibly crucial to the feel of the film. At one point, three of the children wander lost through the empty streets of Santa's North Pole town. As they wander, various old Christmas recordings are heard playing on phonographs throughout the town. The music provides a pleasant and nostalgic ambiance to the scene. It's touches like this that absolutely make the film.

I'll never understand why films seem to be required to be at least 90 minutes long. I would pay money to see a 40-minute film, as long as it were good. And even if it sucked, I would have at least wasted less time. What I'm getting at is I have no idea why a 32-page picture book needed to be a 99-minute movie. What this means is that the original story is VASTLY expanded upon. However, what is added in actually fits quite well with the essence and spirit of the book. Some of it is just sheer entertainment; the train track is like a roller coaster, characters ski on top of the cars, danger lurks around every step of the journey to the North Pole (but admittedly fun danger). Other aspects further illuminate and expand upon the book's basic theme of the virtue of belief in the implausible. So I have no idea why this was made into a full-length, but in the end, I'm glad it was. It didn't even feel too long (and I think everything is too long).

Much criticism has fallen on the look of the characters in the movie. I can agree to a point. While there is incredible visual detail in the faces, they usually seem void of expression. In general, a lot of the motion seems rather wooden, as well. The scenery, on the other hand, is gorgeous. Overall, the minor problems in animation (which really boil down to a matter of taste anyway) are certainly not enough to diminish what is an overwhelmingly successful movie. Score: 8/10


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