Why does everyone but me love The Polar Express movie? I will admit, that the book, written and illustrated by Chris Von Allsburg, has beautiful illustrations, but an entire movie about it???? It’s dark, and creepy, and sad. I find nothing enjoyable about it at all. The season, and the movies that accompany it should be joyful, happy, and make you feel GOOD! So before all of you Polar Express fans start beating me with your Christmas bells, let me explain…..
So many things don’t make me feel good about this movie. Children get on a train in the middle of the night with strangers. Haven’t they ever heard of “Stranger Danger?” It’s a fairly modern tale……I know there are stories from the past that have children doing all kinds of dangerous things (Home Alone has dangerous antics, but at least it’s funny), but this is creepy. If my kids took off in their pj’s when they’re supposed to be in bed, I would hope that law enforcement would issue an Amber Alert…..even if it was Tom Hanks who took them! Haven’t they told their kids not to get into a car (or a train) with a stranger? Not only do they board a train, but they also end up on TOP of the train with a hobo, who is also played by Tom Hanks. Who the heck was that guy? Why did he need to be in that movie? Is it symbolism that was lost on me? I could not connect the dots for this one. He serves no purpose except to add more creep factor, in my opinion. That entire scene made no sense, and really scared the crap out of me!
There are a bunch of hot chocolate guys who dance and sing through the car. Why?! It doesn’t flow with the rest of the story at all. Strange little men, doing acrobatic type stunts with hot liquid on a train car full of children. They may as well be running with scissors too!
The characters aren’t attractive or appealing either. They look very cold, expressionless, and sad. At first, I thought it might be because of early computer animation, but the conductor looks just like Tom Hanks, so I don’t think that’s it. They’re just unattractive and stiff! And the poor little boy sitting in the car all by himself…..what’s that all about? Is he being punished for being poor? Tom Hanks’ conductor character is rather intimidating and impatient. Why is he working with children? He needs to be more patient to work with kids. Why would a child go with him when he isn’t exactly oozing with charisma? He actually seems a bit threatening and mean about those darn tickets, even if he can make art with his hole punch!
The scenes from the North Pole seem like an industrial country left over from the Cold War. The way the citizens/elves and children cheer for their leader, Santa…..also voiced by Hanks, is rather reminiscent of the old film footage of the citizens of communist countries cheering for their leaders…..or like a cult worshiping their leader…….spooky! And Santa isn’t merry and jolly and happy…….why? Where is our happy Santa? Why is this movie so dark???
I need joy, laughter, and happiness for a Christmas movie. I don’t want to be afraid, confused, or see characters as something scary or dark. Give me Elf, A Christmas Story, It’s a Wonderful Life, Charlie Brown, Rudolph, and the original Grinch. Those each have a happy ending, full of love and hope. They don’t leave me asking questions about the plot line or symbolism. The Polar Express leaves me feeling sad and depressed, and has me completely freaked out while I’m watching it!
As much as I love Tom Hanks, Christmas movies, and the holiday season, I just can’t get into this movie, no matter how hard I try. Believe me, as an educator who has to watch it every year, and a mother who’s youngest child loves it, I’ve tried! I just don’t like it. I’ve always wondered if there are more people like me out there…..hating on this movie. Anyone? Or am I alone in my disdain for this film?