Thursday, 17 December 2009

All Aboard!

7. The Polar Express (2004)

The newest film in the countdown, this is the first Christmas I have watched The Polar Express. I've avoided it for the last 5 years because of one thing, the character animation. And finally, after some cajoling I gave it a chance.

My opinion is unchanged. There really is something creepy about the way the people are animated in this film. There eyes are sort of lifeless and too close together and the children's faces in particular are devoid of the emotion and excitement they should, considering the circumstances, be showing. The elves are also a little bit disturbing particularly the elf modelled on Steve Tyler of Aerosmith which appears towards the end of the film.

However, it seems a bit unfair to be too judgemental about the animation of the characters when animating realistic human characters is no easy feat. Which is probably why a lot of Computer animated films avoid it by either stylizing the appearance of human characters as in Up (2009), or avoid showing the human characters as much as possible like in Toy Story (1995). And what is lacking in character animation is made up for the magical and breathtaking journey The Polar Express takes us on.

I happen to know that this film is one of my nephew's favourite Christmas films even though he wasn't even born when the film was released. I can understand why he likes The Polar Express so much; His two favourite things are trains and Christmas. And so every year from about October running up to Christmas he watches it over and over again.

And that's the only thing that would make this film better, to watch it as a child with all the innocence and excitement that children should have at this time of year. To actually believe that such a place exists and that such a journey can take you there.

Make the bell ring again, go on give it a chance. Watch The Polar Express this Christmas.

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