The Polar Express

When we first heard about this movie, my wife wondered how they would stretch such a short book into a feature-length film. The answer, of course, is that they added a bunch of filler that, while designed to increase tension and excite the audience, nevertheless left me bored. I'm sure most of you have read Chris Van Allsburg's wonderful children's story that this movie is based on. In my opinion, much of the beauty and power of that story comes from its simplicity. The book didn't have roller coaster rides and children jumping to safety just in the nick of time. It didn't have cheesy, overproduced songs or even other "speaking" characters. It didn't need any of that. The movie is good where it sticks to the book, but all of the filler is just that. I give it two stars because it is an undeniably pretty movie. In fact, I have to say that the filmmakers did a very good job of capturing some of the feeling of Van Allsburg's paintings. Unfortunately, it seems like they thought that the illustrations were the only important thing about the book. I will admit, though, that I'm not necessarily the best audience for Christmas movies, especially newer ones. You might even like this one; I'm pretty sure it moved the woman behind me to tears.

Viewed: 11/12/2004 | Released: 10/20/2004 | Score: C

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