Updated: Nov 14, 2019
A boy discovers the work that goes on behind Christmas. The packaging and dispatching of gifts and catches a glimpse of Santa himself. In the process, he learns the true spirit of Christmas.
Director: Robert Zemeckis
Writers: Chris Van Allsburg (book), Robert Zemeckis (screenplay)
Stars: Tom Hanks, Chris Coppola, Michael Jeter
The Polar Express, directed by Robert Zemeckis, is surely among the authentic Christmas greats. A little boy, who wonders whether Santa is real, is taken on an epic journey until he discovers the truth for himself and experiences the magic of Christmas like never before.
It begins on Christmas Eve, when the boy finds a train outside his house, and goes to investigate. His curiosity gets the better of him, and he enters the train where he sees the conductor, meets a little girl, befriends a boy and encounters a hobo on the top of the train; all part of his exciting journey to the North Pole. Here he sees all…the gifts being made and packed, and dispatched. Everything he had heard was true! Finally, he gets a glimpse of the grand old man himself. Santa Clause!
As he goes forward to have a closer look, one of the bells of the reindeer falls to the ground, but as he picks it up, he simply can’t hear it ring. He goes up to Santa and hands him the bell saying that it doesn’t ring. Santa shakes the bell near the boy’s ear, and only then he hears it. After this magical encounter with Santa, he heads back home where he discovers the same bell among his Christmas gifts.
He realizes that even his parents can’t hear the bell ring. But now, he and his sister can! In the gift box he finds a little note which says that only those who believe can hear the little bell ring!
The movie was dedicated to Michael Jeter, who did the motion capture for 2 characters; Smokey and Steamer. He died the year before the movie’s release.
A powerfully simple but bold theme and the innocence of child-like faith imbue this movie with true Christmas magic.
A powerfully simple but bold theme and the innocence of child-like faith imbue this movie with true Christmas magic. Tom Hanks voices the boy’s father, the train conductor, the hobo, a puppet of Ebenezer Scrooge, the narrator, and of course… Santa Clause.
The movie was later named in the 2006 Guinness Book Of World Records for being the first all-digital capture movie.
There are many iconic movies that audiences have come to associate so deeply with the Christmas spirit, and this, surely, is one of them. Endearing. Captivating. And beautiful!