This was on TV over Christmas so I'm sure many of you have seen it already but The Polar Express is another lovely DVD that the whole family can watch over the festive season that we discovered in our Warner Brothers Santa Sack that I told you about here). The tale is heart-warming and charming and perfectly suited for kids who almost don't believe in Father Christmas any more but don't want to give up the Christmas magic just yet.
Without being able to put my finger on what seemed a bit strange or different in the animation, I had the sensation that it wasn't quite like any other animated movies that we've watched, be they cartoon or computer-generated images. The animated characters have a sightly strange, almost robotic way of moving that reminded me a bit of video game animation.
Well, a bit of research revealed this comment from Amazon.com on their write-up of the DVD. "Destined to become a holiday perennial, The Polar Express also heralded a brave new world of all-digital film-making. Critics and audiences were divided between those who hailed it as an instant classic that captures the visual splendor and evocative innocence of Chris Van Allsburg's popular children's book, and those who felt that the innovative use of "performance capture"--to accurately translate live performances into all-digital characters--was an eerie and not-quite-lifelike distraction from the story's epic-scale North Pole adventure." Ah that explains it then !
But despite this strange other-worldy feel, further enhanced by the animated Tom Hanks characters that keep popping up, you can't help but get wrapped up in and swept away by the magicalness (I think I might have just made that word up !) of the scenery and storyline, even as a grown-up. This has also been released as a 3D Blu-Ray and I can imagine that that would make it even more special and entrancing.
At an hour and a half, this is the perfect length for some festive viewing for all the family and I'll definitely be pulling it out again next year to watch in the run up to Christmas.
star rating : 4/5
Other reviews you may be interested in :
Warner Brothers family viewing #2 : Dr Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas (Original Animated version) review