***Some kids with creepy dead eyes take a dreamlike trip to the North Pole on The Polar Express*** A boy from Grand Rapids, Michigan, is at the age where he no longer believes in Christmas, as far as Santa, his elves and flying reindeer go, but a magical train appears in front of his home on Christmas Eve and whisks him away on an adventurous trip to the North Pole with several other kids. “The Polar Express” (2004) was based on the 1985 Christmas book and was the first mainline movie to use motion capture animation for all its characters beginning to end (think Gollum from “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy). Some people think the animation is weak, but I feel it creates its own world and has its own charm. It holds up as long as you can adapt to those creepy dead eyes of the characters. Some people love this movie while others think it’s weird, like a Twilight Zone Christmas flick. Roger Ebert, for instance, loved it and gave it a perfect grade. I’m sorta in the middle. I see its good points and appreciate them, like the haunting winter ambiance, parts of the trip to the North Pole (e.g. the quasi-rollercoaster ride) and the kids’ investigation of the Christmas factory. But there are some meh parts and dubious sections like the whole last act with the multitude of elves and the towering Santa who looked like he was modeled after 6’5” Christopher Lee with a pillow strapped to his mid-section. The movie’s interesting in some ways but also quaint in a cheesy way, as well as peculiar and lifeless. The film runs 1 hour, 40 minutes. GRADE: C
No matter how many times I watch this, it always brought me to tears! I only wish that I got to see it in 3D at the cinema.
Watching The Polar Express is not an annual event for me, but I believe I have seen it three times and would not nix the idea if someone were to suggest watching it again. I feel a connection to it for an odd reason: my wife and I volunteered one Christmas season to be elves serving cocoa and dancing for an actual Polar Express narrow gauge train ride when we lived in Maine. (Though I can assure you our dancing was not as acrobatic as what you see in this movie.) The animation feels a little odd at first, but I stop noticing it each time I watch it. The story turns the train trip to the North Pole into a real thrill ride for the children on board, especially for our hero boy, voiced by Tom Hanks. In fact, if you are a Hanks fan, settle in, because he does multiple voices here, including one that sounds remarkably like Gilbert Godfrey to me. I try to avoid punching holes in the plots of Christmas movies. Half the point is that they will include unlikely events all leading to the miracle of Christmas ending. You want logic; pull out the old algebra textbook!
A young man is all excited as he heads to bed on Christmas eve. His sleep is disturbed though, when his house starts to shake. He bounds to the window whereupon he sees the arrival of a great train, one he quickly discovers is heading on to the North Pole. Safely aboard he encounters other children and adventure beckons as they learn that one child will get to meet Santa Claus himself before he embarks on his global deliveries! I didn't love this film. I found the rather sharp, linear, facial animations a bit too sterile and there is way too much chatter with not enough going on. I can play chase the ticket once, but after a while that became little better than a clunky conduit for the rather episodic nature of the narrative. I'm sure that technically it is a masterpiece of CGI and human interaction, but somehow it all just left me feeling that the cheesy sentiment overwhelmed it with it's messages of teamwork and the Christmas spirit well and truly over-egged. Alan Silvestri has provided a nice score, and when the animation scenes focus on the actual train then it does liven up a bit, but sorry - for the most part I wasn't sold.
Aside from taking a look inside Disney Parks during the holiday season, the show features musical performances from both Disney Channel stars and famous faces from “Descendants 2!” Disney Channel stars Dove Cameron, Cameron Boyce, Sofia Carson and Booboo Stewart will perform “Jolly to the Core,” while star China Anne McClain will sing “This Christmas.” Additional musical performances include: “Silent Night,” performed by Hollywood Records and Republic Records recording artist Sofia Carson. Kelly Clarkson performing a song from her 2013 holiday album “Wrapped in Red.” Forever In Your Mind performing “Celebrate.” Trisha Yearwood and Garth Brooks perform a holiday duet from their new album, “Christmas Together"
Movie Star Rating : 8.4 Read More
It's a winter wonderland on Sodor! Diesel gets a visit from some 'ghostly' Christmas engines, while Kevin enjoys playing in the snow until he's snowed under. Thomas and Cranky drop an important Christmas package and Henry faces off against an abominable snowman. Dash through the snow with Thomas and his friends as they deliver a jolly good time!
Movie Star Rating : 7 Read More
Christmas has arrived. As a little girl and her parents enter the room, the little girl finds all kinds of toys under the Christmas Tree. She immediately throws her old doll aside and starts playing with her new dolls. But that night she has a dream. Or maybe it isn't a dream?
Movie Star Rating : 5.3 Read More
Mario King (Vonii Bristow) is an inspirational speaker in the constant pursuit of fame. Though his grandfather (Cameron Arnett) always instilled the importance of living a life of integrity, Mario's affluent lifestyle leads to temptation, sending him down a path of destruction fueled by his own greed and arrogance. Disgraced and humiliated, Mario picks up a delivery job in a small town in North Carolina hoping to make ends meet. When a speeding ticket threatens his livelihood and freedom, Mario must take on community service work at Safe Harbor homeless shelter. While reluctant at first, Mario soon finds his calling in helping others with the encouragement of Olivia McBride (Morgan Graham) and Steven Young (Cornelius Muller). As Mario re-discovers the true meaning of "making Him famous," he begins to feel as if his past life is pulling him back.
Movie Star Rating : 10 Read More
A Madison Avenue executive, Amy, discovers an unusual Christmas surprise when she inherits her Aunt’s hometown bakery. The real surprise comes when she learns the other half of the bakery was left to her long-ago boyfriend, Jack. Unresolved personal issues resurface between them, as the exes return home to co-manage the store, along with its traditional holiday cookie bake-off.
Movie Star Rating : 5.1 Read More
It's Christmas with the Chandlers but no one seems to have the Christmas spirit - except for Stephanie, that is. Marci and Blair are obsessing over being the perfect parents, Myra and Donald have retired and suddenly feel useless and Elizabeth is bending over backwards to get a promotion at work. Add to that Stephanie's blooming romance with Lawrence - who is torn between being with her and continuing his mission work - and Christmas seems to be taking a back seat. That is, until a group of kids at an orphanage helps the family to realize that there's more to Christmas than wrapping gifts and baking cookies.
Movie Star Rating : 5.5 Read More
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