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Thursday, December 15, 2005

The Casual Critic — The Polar Express

Is it sacrilegious to suggest a film has too much Tom Hanks? I mean, did he really need to do the voice for every key character of The Polar Express? Of course, this wasn’t the biggest problem with the film, but giving ol’ St. Nick the same voice of a bunch of other characters was definetly disappointing.

I thought The Polar Express had a chance to be one of those Christmas movies worth checking out each holiday season. Despite the incredible animation, which is offering character movements that are almost too smooth if you ask me, the film just doesn’t reach those lofty heights.

A promising beginning suggested a decent twist on the exhausted Christmas theme. Kids on the edge of not believing in Santa Claus take a Christmas Eve train ride to witness the wonder of Santa leaving on his yearly trek around the globe. The problem was that the film continuously went for the “awe” effect, which never really materialized — at least on the small screen.

The story also travels its course through a series of “accidental adventures” on the train. While it may work well for kids, adults may find themselves wishing the kids would just sit still and learn how not to put small things in the pocket with a hole.

The film’s version of the fictional North Pole didn’t offer anything special. It wasn’t bad, but I expected more considering the hoopla that surrounded the movie. Possibly the big screen did the film more justice. But I think it’s worth repeating that Santa needed another big-time voice, instead of being another Hanks character.

There are some nice moments between the kids that take the train, and the film offers a cute ending. This one doesn’t cross the “good for adults too” line, and I’m guessing the kids will find it just entertaining.

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