On the Big Board
||A charming Christmas movie that should become a holiday favorite.
Remember when you were a six-year-old child, with all of the excitement of Christmas approaching? Every day you'd open a window on your advent calendar, the tree would be decorated, your class at school would sing carols. Then, on a glorious Christmas Eve night, you would put out a plate with cookies along with a cup of milk before your parents shooed you up to bed so that the jolly one himself would make sure your house was a priority stop?
Okay, so depending on your culture, that might not be a pervasive part of your childhood, but it remains an obvious fact that Santa Claus is very much a part of the Christmas celebration in North America. Countless stories have been written about the jubilation that arises when St. Nick comes to town, and every year these same tales are repeated as an emerging part of the holiday tradition. Tom Hanks and Robert Zemeckis are hoping to continue that tradition as they adapt the beloved children's book The Polar Express for the big screen.
Winner of the 1986 Caldecott Medal, The Polar Express was written by Chris Van Allsburg, who also penned Jumanji. The story revolves around a little boy who is having a crisis of faith as none of his friends or family members believe in Santa Claus. He is rewarded on Christmas Eve when a steam train pulls up in front of his home and takes him and several other children up to the North Pole to meet the Man in Red.
With Tom Hanks cast as the train conductor, this movie is set to be one of the biggest films of 2004. Director Robert Zemeckis is returning to a past technique that he used in Who Framed Roger Rabbit, where live action and animation come together for a sublime production. In the case of Polar Express, the animation will be live-motion capture CGI, so the techniques are updated a bit to account for the passage of nearly 15 years. "Semi-human" co-stars in the film include Michael Jeter, who sadly passed away recently but completed all his scenes, and Tom Hanks' old Bosom Buddy Peter Scolari.
Hanks and Zemeckis have had extremely successful collaborations in the past, including Cast Away and the Academy Award-winning Forrest Gump. Look for that success to continue as Hanks is stalwart in remaining the most bankable actor in the business. If anyone can have the masses believing there is a Santa Claus, it is almost certainly this pair. (Kim Hollis/BOP)
June 15, 2004
Based on a trailer attached to the IMAX release of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, The Polar Express will be released in November to IMAX theaters in the IMAX 3D format (which uses polarized glasses, and can be quite effective). It remains to be seen if the film will be redone specifically to add 3D-oriented 'events' (things being thrown at the screen, the train flying overhead, etc.). (David Meek/BOP)
Comparison films for The Polar Express
|Toy Story 2
|Dr. Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas
|Santa Clause 2, The
|Santa Clause, The
|League of their Own, A
|Turner and Hooch
|Jingle all the Way