POLAR  EXPRESS     -          A  Narada Film Review

  The Boy Hero
    (voice and abstract visual     
     by Tom Hanks
      
      'The Conductor''   
       -  a digital Tom Hanks  -   
       played  by Tom Hanks    
             
    The Hero Girl  
          by
    Nona Gaye
[POLAR EXPRESS - 2004   -Robert Zemeckis-Director  &  Gary Goetzman -Producer
         When is a movie a 'cartoon', and when is a movie 'CGI' (Computer Generated Imaging) and when is a movie a computer simulation of real objects and people?   Sometimes it is a very fine line, and sometimes it is more than one of the above.   POLAR EXPRESS is all three - thanks to Robert Zemeckis, (who unsurprisingly also brought us the SFX-rich Back To The Future and Who Framed Roger Rabbit?).   Add to this a new IMAX process for producing digital 3-D, and you have a film that brags, "NO FILM WAS USED IN THE MAKING OF THIS FILM."   Try to wrap your arms around that concept.   It may be hard for anyone over 30 to understand this, but it is in fact, a fact.   I looked in the trailing credits for a disclaimer which stated there were no virtual animals harmed in the making of this, er, ....'film' - alas, in vain.
         This is a movie about Santa Clause, and one boy's belief in that ubiquitous Christmas tradition, so guess what?   This is a movie for children.   The 'boy hero' of the story, whose name we aren't told, is a Doubting Thomas, and doesn't believe in Santa.   Neverthess, when a train somehow pulls up in front of his house late on Christmas Eve and wakes him up, he goes out to investigate.   The Conductor says they are North Pole-bound, and if he, the boy, is going to get on, he had better hurry.   And there begins the adventure of a (young boy's) lifetime.
         In that IMAX theaters charge a pretty penny to get in to see their '8-storey high' screen and their new hi-tech digital 3-Dimensional system (with polaroid lense glasses), an expectation is built, and we movie-goers expect to be really 'wowed'.   While the 3-D was fun, it was also quite a long way from being perfected - there were often times when parts of the screen would show double imaging - not good.   Back to the drawing board, guys - you are almost there.   Also, young children often cannot get used to the 3-D glasses and soon take them off - and this being a "film" for young children, our recommendation is to take them to the 2-D version.   Hats off to POLAR EXPRESS for a good, fun kids' story, and for pushing the envelope on technologies that will someday take over where the 'flickers' left off.
      Enduring Line or Phrase:  "...what matters is deciding to get on."

Copyright 2005,    Bangkok Eyes / bangkokeyes.com
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