Skip to content, or skip to search.

Skip to content, or skip to search.

The Polar Express

ShareThis

Strap yourself in and try not to vomit, because this is more of a theme-park event than a movie—Pirates of the Caribbean in reverse, a wild ride stripped of its story, down to a rattling series of obvious, underwhelming effects. Robert Zemeckis takes Chris Van Allsburg’s lovely, understated children’s book about a magical train trip, then ramps it up as a video-game roller coaster, peppering in action sequences straight out of Indiana Jones. Forget the much-hyped motion-capture that makes Tom Hanks look as convincing as a rubber chicken. This movie is about the accessories: the massive train, piles of packages, glitter, fireworks—in other words, everything wisely avoided by the original tale. It’s tempting to complain that Zemeckis has pulled a George Lucas and let brilliant special effects run roughshod over dialogue and sentiment, except that the effects are so lame: The crowd animation pales in comparison with Lord of the Rings; the Northern Lights resemble a pastel screen saver; and the weird, icky elves (including a bizarre version of Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler) look downright scary, half as convincing as the munchkins of 1939’s The Wizard of Oz. Early in the film, kids ooh and ahh at a store-window Santa, but our grumpy protagonist notices the gears in his back. More obvious are the squealing gears in this overheated reinvention.

The Polar Express
By Robert Zemeckis.
Castle Rock. November 10.


Related:

Advertising
Current Issue
Subscribe to New York
Subscribe

Give a Gift

Advertising