The Polar Express
The Polar Express (2004)

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… More

Directed By:
Rated: G
Running Time:
Release Date: November 10, 2004
DVD Release Date: November 22, 2005
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Critic Score: 55% Rotten Tomatoes™ Critic Reviews

Consensus: Though the movie is visually stunning overall, the animation for the human characters isn't lifelike enough, and the story is padded.

David Germain
Associated Press

People in Hollywood should never work with children or animals, W.C. Fields once said. Maybe that should be expanded to hyper-realistic computer-generated children and reindeer, too.

Full review…
Richard Schickel
TIME Magazine

At some point very early in the 3-D IMAX version of The Polar Express, technology trumps banality and you helplessly surrender to the shock and awe of this big, often thunderous movie.

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Zadie Smith
The New York Review of Books

The rest is easily summarized: the Polar Express arrives, Hero Boy and some other dead-eyed zombie children get onboard. . .we reach the real Santa, who exists, and drops a little silver bell from his sleigh, which the boy later finds.

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Keith Phipps
AV Club

As a spectacle, The Polar Express looks remarkable. As a film, however, it's the equivalent of an elaborately wrapped Christmas present containing a nice new pair of socks.

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Andrea Gronvall
Chicago Reader

Director Robert Zemeckis once again harnesses a new technology to an engaging fable in this digitally animated adaptation of Chris Van Allsburg's holiday tale.

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Barbara Sullivan
Buffalo News

The trailers and TV commercials for The Polar Express don't do justice to the breathtaking artistry of the film.

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Bruce Diones
New Yorker

Tom Hanks (in a number of roles) and the other actors do a nice job of voicing their parts, but the waxy animated faces they've been given are off-putting.

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Joe Morgenstern
Wall Street Journal

A train wreck of mind-numbing proportions.

Peter Bradshaw

The schmaltz content gets higher and higher, as if administered through a drip feed, until by the end we are drowning in sucrose.

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More reviews for The Polar Express

Flixster Audience Score: 63% Flixster User Reviews
Christian C
Great animation, voice work, and a heartwarming story. But one needn't pay homage to the North Pole by imbuing the film with glacial pacing and completely… More
KJ Proulx
"The Polar Express" offers incredible visuals and literally takes you on a roller coaster ride to the North Pole on an unforgettable journey that kids… More
Michael Edwards
Some fantastic animation for the time, some great performances from Sabara and Hanks, a good adaptation of the novel, and just a fun movie.
Matthew Samuel Mirliani
Creepy, cringe-worthy, and overall difficult to watch, this animated film delivers little to no holiday cheer and accomplishes nothing.
Cynthia S.
Well, I just watched this finally...almost 10 years later. I liked it a lot!! I can see that is was a new frontier of film making, and it was a little rough… More
Directors Cat
The Polar Express is unlike modern christmas films like Elf and Home Alone. It is a truly heartwarming piece of christmas magic. The only place this film falls… More