The Polar Express
Faith is something that’s hard to understand. We all have something to believe it. But how we find it is the tricky part. Nobody want’s to feel like a fool, so we often become too cynical and ask everything about it to try and understand it. Something like this seems better when installing a new appliance. So how to we make ourselves look at something like religion or even love. Let’s say a pretty girl was to walk up to a man who seems out of her league. She asks him out on a date, but he has no idea why she’s interested in him. Should he not go because he’s afraid she’s doing this as a joke, or simply say yes because she’s beautiful and this is his chance for love. It’s all upon his faith.
Most children can agree that their first test of faith comes about with the legend of Santa Claus. Upon examining it, it seems silly; a man delivering a worlds supply of toys all in one night that come from the North Pole? It doesn’t seem logical. But the true magic was not asking about it, but accepting it as something to have fun with. One boy’s faith is questioned and answered in the first motion-captured, animated movie from 2004, The Polar Express.
It’s Christmas Eve in the quiet town of Grand Rapids, Michigan in the nineteen fifties. An unnamed boy that we only know as the Hero boy is having a hard time getting to sleep. He has too much on his mind. He has been questioning the existence of Santa Claus. It doesn’t help that the local mall Santas are on strike and his encyclopedia states that the North Pole is too cold to sustain any life. Suddenly at 11:55 P.M., he hears a train whistle and witnesses a large train coming through his neighborhood. Upon meeting the conductor (played by Tom Hanks) he’s told that “the Polar Express” is taking children up to the North Pole to see Santa.
Being told that this year is important for him to get on, the boy joins the other children to make his journey to the top of the world. Along the way he meets a young girl about his age, a know-it-all boy, and a younger child named Billy who claims that “Christmas just doesn’t work out for me”. His journey takes him over the frozen tundra to the glorious North Pole where Santa Claus is about to depart on his voyage around the world.
The Polar Express has a lot of ambition considering how time when in to create this world. The animation does look a little dated, but I find this movie to be a great film. Especially in 3D, you really get a feel of the size of the train, Artic Circle and North Pole. You really feel like you could walk through Santa’s home. The idea from this movie is to simply believe, and I love that. Believe is a simple, but perfect answer to the question of faith.
I’ll give this five silver bells out of five. I consider this a Christmas classic. Not only is it entertaining, but a great lesson for children.