Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, be plenteous in mercy is to have the real spirit of Christmas. Calvin Coolidge.

Monday, 3 December 2012


This week's movie ia about the true meaning of Christmas.

It's a must-see for third-year students.

The Polar Express

Year: 2004

Director:  Robert Zemeckis
Writers:  Robert Zemeckis, William Broyles Jr.
based on: the Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg

Stars:  Tom Hanks, Josh Hutcherson, Daryl Sabara, Nona Gaye and others

The Polar Express is a 2004 motion capture computer-animated fantasy film based on the children's book of the same title by Chris Van Allsburg. Written, produced, and directed by Robert Zemeckis, the human characters in the film were animated using live actionperformance capture technique, with the exception of the waiters who dispense hot chocolate on the train, because their feats were impossible for live actors to achieve. Performance capture technology incorporates the movements of live actors into animated characters.

Watch the movie and leave your mini-review in the commentary to score 3-5 points.
Do not plagiarize!!!

You can also watch the films for WEEK 1 and 2(the only options that are still active),
 but your reviews will get 4 points maximum.


  1. Movie Info
    Genre(s): Animation/ Family/Kids /Fantasy
    Directed by: Robert Zemeckis
    Release Date: November 10, 2004
    Origin: USA
    Starring: Tom Hanks, Leslie Harter Zemeckis, Eddie Deezen, Nona M. Gaye, Peter Scolari, Brendan King, Mark Mendonca, and Gregory Gast
    This is the story of a young hero boy on Christmas Eve who boards on a powerful magical train that's headed to the North Pole and Santa Claus's home. What unfolds is an an adventure which follows a doubting boy, who takes an extraordinary train ride to the North Pole; during this ride, he embarks on a journey of self-discovery which shows him that the wonder of life never fades for those who believe.
    "The Polar Express" is a magical and distinguish animated film directed by the great Robert Zemeckis. This is a different kind of animated movie because it looks almost real (mostly the characters and the sceneries). No wonder it looks so realistic because, after all, it is entirely live action using performance capture technology. As a consequence, the graphics are amazing and the movie is technically admirable. Plus, the visuals/sceneries/backgrounds are terrific, the special effects are amazing, the magic is naturally present, the Christmas carols are nice and catchy and the movie has lots of adventure, strong emotions and suspense. A formidable combination of loud sounds is another quality. Definitely approved.
    "The Polar Express" is also a remarkable film for Tom Hanks's career. He plays 5 different roles in this movie (the Hero Boy, the conductor, the Hobo, Santa Claus and the Hero Boy's father). By the way, the conductor really looks like Tom Hanks, except that the conductor has a mustache and is bald. Anyway, as I was saying, if it's already admirable to see an actor playing 5 roles, even more incredible is when that actor is Tom Hanks. Usually I find Tom Hanks a weak actor, but he is very good here.
    A curious and original detail about this motion picture it that most of the characters's names aren't mentioned, except for Billy and Sarah. I'd like to talk a bit about the characters.
    First of all, the Hero Boy. He wants to believe in Christmas's magic and it's admirable how he ends up believing in Santa and all of the Christmas's magic. He is a nice and interesting character.
    The Hero Girl also adds a lot to this movie. Not only is she a sweet character, but above all things she befriends with the Hero Boy and Billy, helping them to restore their faith on Christmas.
    Billy is a gloomy and shy little boy who believes that he is «the little boy that Santa Claus forgot» and he has serious difficulties to trust on Christmas's magic at first... but the Hero Girl and the Hero Boy help him through this journey.
    "Know-it-all" is the typical intellectual boy. He is wise, smart and intelligent, but nerdy, funny, very talkative (he speaks very quickly too), impatient and he can be a little boring at times. But even this character changes his attitudes. By the end, he becomes more calm, patient and "humble".
    The Conductor has amazing talents with the tickets. He writes words on them without even looking at them. Simply amazing!
    The Hobo is a mysterious and enigmatic character. He does have a great sense of humor and he is also one of the heroes in this Christmas's tale.
    "The Polar Express" isn't an absolutely perfect film. Its negative side (from my point of view) includes the two engineers who happen to be ridiculous characters. Besides, I don't see what's the point of that Aerosmith's song and Steven Tyler's presence in a Christmas story (at least it's only for a brief moment). The Santa Claus looks okay, but a little... artificial? Could be a little better. But, overall, this is a wonderful movie. It's the movie of the year 2004.

  2. I can't say that this film impressed me, but I can exactly say that I liked it. ‘The Polar Express’ is very good film about Christmas, belief in Santa Claus, and the friendship. All three of these ideas are closely intertwined. As the film’s action took place on Christmas Eve, the time of miracles and fulfillment of dreams; the main thing is to believe in their execution. But our main character (who was voiced by Tom Hanks - one of my favorite actors) stopped believing in Santa Claus, and accordingly, in the fulfillment of wishes, because as older we get, the less believe in miracles. Only when the boy got on the magic the train to the North Pole, where he made new friends and saw the real Santa Claus, only then he believed, really believed in Christmas. But, if you think about that, it’s really so (and I’ll repeat it once again) - the older we get, the less believe in magic and full of surprises New Year, and Santa Claus. But sometimes we are to believe, aside from the depressing reality, believe in something light and good, to hear tinkling of Christmas bells...

  3. I like this film. “The Polar Express” tells the story of a boy Billy who lost his faith in Santa Claus, his elves and in the North Pole. This all changes, however, on Christmas Eve, when a mysterious train visits Billy in the middle of the night, promising to take him and a group of other lucky children to the North Pole for a visit with Santa. The train's conductor (Tom Hanks) along with the other passengers helps Billy to return his faith in a journey of self-discovery. This film took me back to my childhood and that feeling every child gets on Christmas/New Year Eve in anticipation of Santa's visit. The story was sweet and innocent and I think everyone can empathize with the boy who wants to believe in Santa but is growing away from the innocence of early childhood and faith in magic. Moreover, the special effects are outstanding, the story line is heartwarming. The characters are believable and utterly charming. All in all, I would recommend this film to anyone who love Christmas and remember what it is to believe. The experience of watching makes you a participant, breathless to see what comes next.

  4. I can't say that this film is delighted me, but I can say that it is good film for evening viewing both adult and children.
    “The Polar Express” tells the story of a boy (simply named Hero Boy) who is at a critical age. He’s starting to lose his belief in Santa Claus. On Christmas Eve, he hears the sound of a train roar by his window, and he’s swept away on the Polar Express with a dozen other children for a special visit to the North Pole. Along the way, he meets several new friends, including a ghostly Hobo who’s hitched a ride and a poor kid from the other side of the tracks. The Hero Boy finds out if seeing is believing when he gets his chance to meet the real Santa Claus.

  5. The film is not bad.The movie is about a boy who lost belief in Santa Claus.However,the wit twist made him "to accept" Christmas Magic.This movie help me not forget that Santa represents the true spirit of Christmas.This includes being kind and generous to others.It makes me think of a question:why don't some people believe in Santa?If your parents' family member told you, think about who they are. If they were an older/younger sibling, they might just have heard rumors at school, or seen on the internet some inaccuracies - even if they are older than you. Or they may have just decided to believe there is no Santa. Or they could have been joking. But only you can decide if you will believe in Santa.

  6. What a wonderful movie I saw yesterday! “The polar Express” impressed me greatly despite that it was just an animated cartoon; it mentioned problems of friendship, trust, and, of course, Christmas and miracles. The main character had stopped to believe in Santa and to change his mind and prove the opposite he was invited to the Polar Express which went to the North Pole. There were several children who also had great doubts about Santa and miracles at all and the hero found friends among them. They had some adventures during the way and having seen Santa believed in him again. It is a very kind movie which can teach children a lot and adults as well. But the graphics disappointed me, sometimes it seem not realistic even for an animated cartoon. My favorite character is Conductor with his time-oriented nature, I mean his main goal was to be everywhere on time. Our world is quite cruel and it is very important to make though children to believe in magic, in Santa and in Christmas until they become adults. Such movies help us to show them that in Christmas time everything can happen.

  7. "The Polar Express" is the kindest film I've ever watch. It is such a nice story, about the boy, who loses his faith in Christmas, especially in Santa Claus. But suddenly on the Christmas Eve he gets on the train, which is going to the North Pole. During his journey he makes friends with other children. Also on the train he sees a strange man. The boy has no idea who he is, but this man tells him a very important thing: "to see means to believe". I think his words are the turning point in changing the boy's mind. And finally, the boy is able to see Santa as other children does.
    It is interesting that the main character is unnamed. It means that there are a lot of boys in the world who may be in the same situation.
    The music suits the film very much, especially I love the track "Believe", which is at the end of The Polar Express.
    P.S. "You have everything you need, if you just believe!"

  8. The cartoon is wonderful. Maybe I can’t say there’s something outstanding or unprecedented in it, but, you see, not all films are to be masterpieces. Sometimes you just need a good movie to watch in your family circle in some long and dark winter evening, when you feel longing for some wonder. “The Polar Express” is one of such films.
    I believe there’s no need retelling the plot in detail once more. I’ll say only that this is a story that happened on the Chrismas Eve with a little boy, who didn’t believe in Santa Claus. Or, so to say, tried to get any proof of his existence, but couldn’t find any. And once the miraculous Polar Express took him to the North Pole, where Santa lived. On the way there the hero met other children travelling to the same place, and marvellous and a bit funny elves, Santa’s servants. The boy watched, spoke to them, listened – and believed. Now he could hear and see much of what others, even his parents, couldn’t.
    I should say I remember Robert Zemeckis as the director of “Forest Gump,” a splendid film in which Tom Hanks, an outstanding actor without doubt, also starred. That’s why I expected much of this cartoon, and in fact I wasn’t mistaken. The graphics is up to standard (thanks God there weren’t much special effects!), the basic idea is not trite, and the humour is not vulgar, if it can be said so, or black. I suppose this cartoon’s main purpose was, first of all, to create the festive mood and to make us believe in wonders (for we have always been and continue being just adult children) – and this task was performed 100%!

  9. "The Polar Express" is an enchanting and kind cartoon with quite simple but so cordial plot. A boy who lost his faith in Christmas and Santa Claus was invited to get on the Polar Express that went to the North Pole. After a moment's thought he jumped on the train and his adventure began. There he met other children who also got on the train to see Santa Claus. He made friends with a girl and they together ubderwent a lot of adventures. He also made friends with a lonely boy from his native town, a funny stranger who always helped him in dangerous situations, and even with a strict (at first sight) conductor who invited him to board the magic train. On the Polar Express' arrival to the North Pole the boy saw Santa and all his doubts about Chrictmas vanished. He began to believe.

    This animated cartoon shows us how is it important to believe in miracles. Everyone has a choice to believe or not. The boy made his choice: he got on the train because he wanted to believe and he did it. His belief was rewarded by Santa's present which meant important thing for him.

    Christmas is sacred event for many people and faith in Christmas is a something which is innermost, private and sincere for each person. And the film reveals it in full measure. I don't claim that this cartoon was created to made you believe in Christmas, no, but maybe it will help you to make your choice: to believe in mericles or not.

    As for me, I was imbued with this marvellous cartoon. I felt a sense of happyness, delight and anticipation of magical time which I used to feel on Christmas when I was a child.

    In generasl, if you want to feel an enchanting Christmas spirit or just spend your time for viewing of a kind and sincere movie this animated cartoon is for you.

  10. This cartoon is so amazing, kind and exciting))) It`s not only funy to watch, it`s contains so much problems and things to think of))) I`ve watch it twice. The holiday mood and anticipation of Christmas has crept in my mind and soul. This cartoon isn`t only about a fantastic and magic journey, this cartoon tells us how important to have a spirit of Christmas in our heart)) I like especially songs, such as "when christmas comes to town" and "If you just believe", they are unforgetable for me)))To sum up, watching this movie was a pleasure for me)))

  11. Robert Zemeckis is one of my most beloved American film directors of all time. His trilogy "Back to the Future" has turned my mind as a child, and only with the years I has realized the meaning of the phrase "сult film " Based on the fairy tale, the story of the film doesn't hit us with its scenario imagery, but it immerses you in the atmosphere of a mysterious adventure. The way from a disbelieving boy to a true friend and hero, who had to recognize and accepte the magic of the travel. One of our first key moments and terrible events as children , according to the question from the TV show "What-Where-When?" is the disclosure of the existence of secret cover of Santa Claus (or Ded Moroz. ). Many of us had to pass this stage of life, someone was proud to accept this fact, or to create this kind and miracle secret for their own children in the future, others were just angry with their parents. We're all so different.I like this movie, it's like an insightful story for all the people who don't want to believe in magic. It exists, it's everywhere, every particle of the Universe is riddled with magic, because we ( people) are those wizards who can give kind magic to each other.

  12. I like this cartoon, really. It's really about Christmas, about it's spirit. This story reflects a very important idea: Just believe and you will see it. I also like the idea with tickets, it's very interesting. But I'm still not sure who is that guy on the top of the train. A ghost? An Angel? Maybe even Santa himself? Please, tell me your suggestions.

  13. Well, THE POLAR EXPRESS is a fantastic holiday adventure for the whole family. Although it doesn’t present the true reason for the season, the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ, it spreads a lot of holiday cheer for parents by including important lessons for children of all ages. Christians will appreciate the moral and theological parables in the story.

    The movie opens with a boy’s mother tucking her son into bed on Christmas Eve. The boy has no faith in Santa Claus and is surprised to see a big train pulling up in front of his house just before midnight. The boy goes outside to take a look. He’s greeted by an amiable conductor. The conductor tells the boy that the train is going to the North Pole.

    Against his better judgment, the boy gets on the train. There, he encounters a bunch of other children on the train. Of particular interest are a little girl and a know-it-all kid. The last stop for the train is a poor boy’s house. The poor boy is reluctant to board, but the little girl and the boy encourage him to take a chance.

    A series of adventures occurs before the train makes it to the North Pole. The boy helps the girl when her ticket gets lost, and they help the conductor make sure the train gets safely to its destination.

    THE POLAR EXPRESS is a magical tale with spectacular animated adventures. Most of the story centers on the adventures of the boy and his newfound friends, including the know-it-all kid who eventually becomes part of the adventure. All of the four children learn important lessons. The little girl learns how to have confidence in her leadership abilities, the know-it-all kid learns humility, the poor boy learns to trust others, and the hero learns to have the faith of a child.

    I was really impressed by the film! =)

  14. This is one of the best Christmas films made in recent years. It is a masterpiece in capturing the magic of Christmas.This movie is a very good movie for all ages. The story is very charming and timeless. I liked the animation and I got caught up in it. I believe it will be a Christmas classic. At least it will be in my life.