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The Polar Express Reviews

Page 1 of 10
David Germain
Associated Press
Top Critic IconTop Critic

People in Hollywood should never work with children or animals, W.C. Fields once said. Maybe that should be expanded to hyper-realistic computer-generated children and reindeer, too.

Full Review Source: Associated Press

December 9, 2013
Keith Phipps
AV Club
Top Critic IconTop Critic

As a spectacle, The Polar Express looks remarkable. As a film, however, it's the equivalent of an elaborately wrapped Christmas present containing a nice new pair of socks.

Full Review Source: AV Club

December 9, 2013
Bruce Diones
New Yorker
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Tom Hanks (in a number of roles) and the other actors do a nice job of voicing their parts, but the waxy animated faces they've been given are off-putting.

Full Review Source: New Yorker

December 9, 2013
Richard Schickel
TIME Magazine
Top Critic IconTop Critic

At some point very early in the 3-D IMAX version of The Polar Express, technology trumps banality and you helplessly surrender to the shock and awe of this big, often thunderous movie.

Full Review Source: TIME Magazine

December 9, 2013

Total Film

They say it's better to travel than to arrive and that's definitely the case with the latest CG 'toon to pull into cinemas.

Full Review Source: Total Film | Original Score: 2/5

December 9, 2013
Leah Rozen
People Magazine

Though heartfelt, the film tries too hard to dazzle and thrill rather than echo its own message: just believe.

Full Review Source: People Magazine

December 9, 2013
Andrea Gronvall
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Director Robert Zemeckis once again harnesses a new technology to an engaging fable in this digitally animated adaptation of Chris Van Allsburg's holiday tale.

Full Review Source: Chicago Reader

December 9, 2013
Sloan Freer
Radio Times

Though the emotion feels contrived, that's nothing compared to the flashy set pieces and meticulous detail, which do more to flaunt the technology than move along the story.

Full Review Source: Radio Times | Original Score: 3/5

December 9, 2013
Joe Morgenstern
Wall Street Journal
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A train wreck of mind-numbing proportions.

Full Review Source: Wall Street Journal

December 9, 2013
Nell Minow
Common Sense Media

The best kids' holiday movie in years.

Full Review Source: Common Sense Media | Original Score: 4/5

December 28, 2010
Cole Smithey
ColeSmithey.com

Even when you look past the unnecessary dangers that the dehumanized child characters in "The Polar Express" experience, you're left with a hammered-home theme that says you must believe in a lie to be satisfied on a personal level.

Full Review Source: ColeSmithey.com | Original Score: C-

April 19, 2009
Urban Cinefile Critics
Urban Cinefile

Polar Express combines good storytelling with spectacular visuals.

Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile

October 18, 2008
Mark Halverson
Sacramento News & Review

Digital data produced by adult actors wearing special suits spring to life as both adult and kid characters in this dreamy, surreal adaptation of Chris Van Allsburg's popular 29-page storybook.

Full Review Source: Sacramento News & Review | Original Score: 4/5

August 7, 2008
Prairie Miller
Long Island Press

Nearly as much a movie advocating a belief in Santa Claus as a belief in the real existence of CGI animated characters, the film is at once mystifying and uninvolving.

Full Review

March 23, 2007
Ian Nathan
Empire Magazine

Cynics will sneeze in shock; children, young and old, will cuddle up and dream along.

Full Review Source: Empire Magazine | Original Score: 3/5

April 1, 2006
Derek Adams
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

As a complete package, Zemeckis' surreal, hallucinogenic adventure is pretty inconsequential.

Full Review Source: Time Out

February 9, 2006
Christopher Smith
Bangor Daily News (Maine)

More like Night of the Living Dead.

| Original Score: C-

December 25, 2005
Forrest Hartman
Reno Gazette-Journal

The animation looks like an oil painting come to life and the overall viewing experience is awe inspiring.

Full Review Source: Reno Gazette-Journal | Original Score: 3.5/4

December 2, 2005
John J. Puccio
Movie Metropolis

...might better be called The Bipolar Express, with so much that is sweet and light on the one hand and so much that is tiring and humdrum on the other.

Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis | Original Score: 7/10

November 8, 2005
Emanuel Levy
EmanuelLevy.Com

Unfortunately, Zemeckis has allowed his technical-savvy, circus-like movie to lose touch with its human charcaters, resulting in a cold and distanced animation.

Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com | Original Score: C

August 14, 2005
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