Polar Express

6.61 h 39 min2004X-RayG
A doubting young boy takes an extraordinary train ride to the North Pole that shows him that the wonder of life never fades for those who believe.
Robert Zemeckis
Tom HanksNona GayePeter Scolari
English [CC]
Audio languages
EnglishEnglish [Audio Description]
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Supporting actors
Leslie Zemeckis
Robert Zemeckis
Warner Bros.
G (General Audience)
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4.8 out of 5 stars

81233 global ratings

  1. 88% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 7% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 3% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 1% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 1% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United States

Chai T.Reviewed in the United States on January 12, 2020
1.0 out of 5 stars
Definitely in my worst five animated movies of all time.
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My eight year old daughter and I were so shocked at how unbelievably stressful and unnecessarily traumatizing this movie was considering how good the reviews are. In a nutshell, the first hour and a half are basically centered around multiple life-threatening situations one after another for this kid who leaves his house in the middle of the night and gets on a train with an adult stranger. We had to skip through many parts because they were so stressful and scary. Not to mention all the characters and the art / illustration looked creepy and uneven compared to many animated movies. I have friends who work on animated movies and I'm very familiar with animation as an art form and this really did not meet even the minimum bar. We watched it till the end because we wanted it to get better and it barely redeemed itself in the last 20 minutes but I mean barely!
71 people found this helpful
Kimberly RichardsReviewed in the United States on December 12, 2018
5.0 out of 5 stars
Best Christmas Movie Ever!
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We are booked on a polar express train ride and wanted to have a movie night viewing this movie prior to our train ride. This movie hasn’t come out of the DVD Player yet just a continuous replay!

Pricing was fair! Packaging was good. Arrived on time.
65 people found this helpful
David L.Reviewed in the United States on December 31, 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
It's safe for the kids to watch!
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Animated movies normally do not interest me so this movie did not at first appeal to me. Tom Hanks is an actor whose work I have always admired but I still chose not to watch it. My wife is a grade school teacher where the school kids were watching this movie during indoor recess. All the kids loved it. She purchased the movie and we watched it together. Now Polar Express is one of our top 10 Christmas must see movies.

Polar Express certainly does not need my praises. Its continued popularity and sales are a testament to its high acclaim. But what is bewildering are these attacks of it being a movie that traumatizes children causing great stress and fear. Citing life threatening scenes and getting on a train in the dark of night with a strange man characterized by that scary Tom Hanks, parents are worried their innocent frail children will need to be put in therapy. I laughed out loud thinking they were making a poor attempt at dark humor. Realizing they were serious, I am scared to think of the kids with parents who are unable to explain fantasy and the underlying warm loving messages contained in this wonderful movie. My mother read Goldilocks and the Three Bears, and Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf when I was a small child. I no more grew up fearing bears eating my oatmeal and sleeping in my bed or having my house blown down by a wolf, than my children fearing falling off the top of a locomotive or being molested by a kindly Tom Hanks.

So go ahead and watch the Polar Express with your children and enjoy seeing the smiles on their faces. But be prepared to tell them not to fear that really big man in the red suit.
21 people found this helpful
Ronald EpsteinReviewed in the United States on January 18, 2016
4.0 out of 5 stars
3D: If only the ghosting wasn't present...
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Oh, if only for ghosting.....

It pains me to sit here knowing what I am about to write.
Warner Bros. was extremely gracious to send me a handful
of screeners to review knowing that I would be promoting
the good word of 3D on this forum. However, when there
seems to be a problem with their initial batch of Blu-ray
releases I can't morally sit here and praise them to the

Their Imax release of Under The Sea looks terrific.
However, their Imax release of Space Station 3D is
lacking 3D in the first 3 minutes. Now, The Polar Express
is exhibiting its own set of problems. I sort of wonder
if anyone is doing some quality control here.

I'll get into all this in a moment....

I had to chuckle when I decided I was going to review
this title. It took me back a few years to our last Home
Theater Forum meet. The studio sent us an advance copy
of their initial 3D DVD release of The Polar Express and we
were showing it off in our demo room at the hotel. Here
we were, a ragtag group of enthusiasts with cardboard
glasses on our faces admiring the cheesy 3D.

Boy, we have come a long way in a few short years.

Potentially, The Polar Express could have been a
flagship animated feature release for the studio on
the 3D format. Originally filmed for Imax with
motion capture technology, The Polar Express
translates beautifully to Blu-ray. This was my
very first time watching the movie ever and I
was completely mesmerized by the film's charming
story and utterly stunning, realistic animation.

Transfer quality is as good as it gets. I love
the film's warm, natural color palette consisting
primarily of blue and gold. Everything looks
perfect here.

The quality of the 3D separation is quite good
and very effective. I have three favorite scenes
where I found the 3D effect to be most effective.
The first involves a floating train ticket. Then
there's an exciting train descent into Glacier Gulch.
Finally, the entire Christmas Town square sequence
looks outstanding with all its brightly lit colors and
3D dimensionality.

There really aren't any "In Yo' Face" 3D moments.
Most of the material stays within the confines of
the screen with the exception of some minor screen
protruding from the fender of the train or the cap
of the train's hobo.

So here we have this immaculate, gorgeous holiday
eye-fest that would have looked perfect on 3D if not
for the fact that it is marred with ghosting problems.

It doesn't take long to notice the problem. The first
scene where the young boy is lying in bed you see
double imaging within his face. When this same boy
steps onto the Polar Express, takes his seat and meets
the black girl, you can see double imaging going on
within her facial features. Some behind-the-head shots
reveal ghosting in the ears and along the hairline.
Watch the scene where the kids are being pulled up
inside Santa's sack and see how the ropes are
double-imaged. In fact, there are moments that
I actually experienced eye strain from the amount
of ghosting and occasional blurriness.

The DTS-HD audio lovingly conveys Alan Silvestri's
score which is mostly prominent in the front channels.
This is a very bass-heavy audio track. The oncoming
sound of The Polar Express literally shook my floor.

Like all of Warner's new 3D releases, The Polar
Express arrives in beautiful lenticular packaging.


Ultimately, I am disappointed. This is such a beautiful
film and as much as the 3D enhanced my initial experience
with it, the ghosting issues became a big distraction.

I am sitting here hoping that someone can prove me
wrong on all the ghosting problems I see with this title.
The last thing I want to do is slam the studio for a title
like this. However, up until now I have been seeing some
great 3D content with none of these problems. I even
switched out my glasses for another pair just in case it
was a hardware issue.
54 people found this helpful
Lopez913Reviewed in the United States on December 27, 2017
5.0 out of 5 stars
Great movie for the whole family!
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If you haven’t seen this movie you are missing out. It’s greatfor Christmas time but can be watched anytime by train lovers. My daughter loves trains and we took her in the Polar Express train to the “North Pole” this year where we lived. The train in this movie is actually based off the train we road and because of this experience she loves this movie. The graphics are amazing too.
37 people found this helpful
Aprile B.Reviewed in the United States on December 6, 2016
5.0 out of 5 stars
One of the must see movies for Christmas time!
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Love this movie!
Started watching this movie the year it was made and my first granddaughter was born. A few years later, she started watching with me.
Ever since, it's been one of the 4-5 Christmas movies we MUST watch every year.
Just got a new copy on Blu-Ray, and it's lovely (holds up even 12 years later).
Like others have said, you need to watch it all to take in the messages and appreciate it.
It's not rude, crude, or otherwise shocking in any fashion - just good fun and a positive message without being at all preachy.

Some movies stand the test of time - Tom Hanks no doubt has a lot to do with the charms of this movie and I hope one day my granddaughter watches it with her kids.

Happy Holidays all - whether it Christmas or other celebration. Anyone can appreciate the messages and fun of this movie. Peace to all.
32 people found this helpful
DrezReviewed in the United States on November 22, 2018
3.0 out of 5 stars
Train to the North Pole
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I would like to think that long ago I had the book at one point but I don't remember if I ever did. That's not reverent I suppose, and anyway, this review is about the movie and not the book so don't expect this to be a movie versus book kinda thing. Perhaps the book is better (which is a given for an adaptation) but this isn't about the book.

I can understand why some people wouldn't like this movie because of the "Uncanny valley" CGI. I kinda grew up in the era of Uncanny valley CGI in movies and TV--does anybody remember the show ReBoot the first computer-animation TV series? ReBoot was squarely in the uncanny valley. And ReBoot was before Toy Story.

Second this movie doesn't have much of a plot: just a kid boarding a train to see Santa when he's not sure that he actually believes in Santa. The kid doesn't even have a name.

This is a holiday movie I've been watching for several years which is something of a tradition.

The story is simple. I can see where this movie would be much better in an iMax theater given a memorable roller coaster moment.

It's not a great movie but I tend to watch it around Christmas time.
10 people found this helpful
NibbledtodeathbyDucksReviewed in the United States on December 6, 2020
3.0 out of 5 stars
Wasn't As Good As It Should Have Been
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Yesterday was such a lousy day that I rented this for the Christmas comfort. And I was disappointed. For me, it was really a lot of one-note -- if I had a nickel for every time the kid screwed up and wound up barreling somewhere out of control on some part of that train, I could outspend Santa on toys. In fact, I would suggest that the writers have spent way too much time on roller coasters and watching Close Encounters and The Wizard of Oz. And what's with all the old-school MTV quick cuts and the SPEED! The whole choreographed bit with the waiters and the hot chocolate? Almost made me think that all of that white powder wasn't snow.

This kind of BELIEVE thing is right up my alley, but I felt myself straining to feel it, rather than having it meet me and melt me. It's a shame, obviously talented people worked on it, but it was like expecting thick French hot chocolate with whipped cream and getting room temperature Yoo Hoo.
6 people found this helpful
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