Merry Christmas in July! I hope you’ve enjoyed the blogathon so far. I know I have! For the finale, yours truly will close out the blogathon with a review of the Tom Hanks-led animated holiday film that turns 15 this year: The Polar Express.
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. (via IMDb)
As long as there has been cinema, there have been Christmas films. Many struggle to become holiday staples. Some take a while (like Miracle on 34th Street) while others become instant classics. The Polar Express is the latter. It has the traditional holiday messages but it wraps them in an adventure unlike any other film. I’ve heard people say this movie’s animation is too far in the uncanny valley but I would disagree. While it is more realistic looking than many films around the same time, it has enough of a cartoonish feel to not go over into that territory. I really enjoy that this tells the story through a child’s eyes to really helps captures the movie’s sense of wonder. Tom Hanks plays five parts throughout the film. Despite being so prevalent, each of his characters feels different from one another, showcasing his talents. I forgot how musical this film is. Not in the Broadway musical sense, although there are some great musical numbers like “Hot Chocolate,” but how much the score complements what is going on on screen. Although I shouldn’t have been surprised once I learned the extraordinary Alan Silvestri was the composer.
I thought The Polar Express was GREAT 😀 Its sense of adventure is unlike any other Christmas film but with a message just as powerful. Accompanied by terrific animation, a great score, and Tom Hanks at his best, it’s no wonder that fifteen years later, this movie is still a holiday staple.
The Polar Express was the first “all-digital capture” film, where all acted parts were done in digital capture. The film used 3D motion capture techniques to digitally record the actors’ physical performances before “skinning” them with their animated forms. The children’s roles were acted by adults, using oversized props to get the movement right. (via IMDb)
Cast & Crew
Robert Zemeckis – Director / Screenplay
Wiliiam Broyles, Jr. – Screenplay
Alan Silvestri – Composer
Tom Hanks – Hero Boy / Father/ Conductor / Hobo / Santa Claus
Daryl Sabara – Hero Boy (voice)
Nona Gaye – Hero Girl (voice)
Jimmy Bennett – Billy the Lonely Boy (voice)
Eddie Deezen – Know-It-All (voice)
Andre Sogliuzzo – Smokey / Steamer (voice)
As for my guest, I have chosen none other than Princess Jasmine and Kimberly Hart (aka the Pink Ranger) herself, Naomi Scott.
And that’s the final post for the sixth annual Christmas in July Blogathon! If you’ve missed any of the entries or you can’t wait to see the full guest list, the wrap-up post will be posted later today, so be sure to check that out.
Until next time, cheers!