The Polar Express Reviews

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Peter Bradshaw
December 4, 2014
The schmaltz content gets higher and higher, as if administered through a drip feed, until by the end we are drowning in sucrose.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Top Critic
David Germain
Associated Press
December 9, 2013
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.
Top Critic
Keith Phipps
AV Club
December 9, 2013
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.
Top Critic
Bruce Diones
New Yorker
December 9, 2013
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.
Top Critic
Richard Schickel
TIME Magazine
December 9, 2013
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.

Total Film
December 9, 2013
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 | Original Score: 2/5
Leah Rozen
People Magazine
December 9, 2013
Though heartfelt, the film tries too hard to dazzle and thrill rather than echo its own message: just believe.
Top Critic
Andrea Gronvall
Chicago Reader
December 9, 2013
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.
Sloan Freer
Radio Times
December 9, 2013
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 | Original Score: 3/5
Top Critic
Joe Morgenstern
Wall Street Journal
December 9, 2013
A train wreck of mind-numbing proportions.
Nell Minow
Common Sense Media
December 28, 2010
The best kids' holiday movie in years.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Cole Smithey
April 19, 2009
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 | Original Score: C-
Urban Cinefile Critics
Urban Cinefile
October 18, 2008
Polar Express combines good storytelling with spectacular visuals.
Mark Halverson
Sacramento News & Review
August 7, 2008
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 | Original Score: 4/5
Prairie Miller
Long Island Press
March 23, 2007
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.
Ian Nathan
Empire Magazine
April 1, 2006
Cynics will sneeze in shock; children, young and old, will cuddle up and dream along.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Top Critic
Derek Adams
Time Out
February 9, 2006
As a complete package, Zemeckis' surreal, hallucinogenic adventure is pretty inconsequential.
Christopher Smith
Bangor Daily News (Maine)
December 25, 2005
More like Night of the Living Dead.
| Original Score: C-
Forrest Hartman
Reno Gazette-Journal
December 2, 2005
The animation looks like an oil painting come to life and the overall viewing experience is awe inspiring.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
John J. Puccio
Movie Metropolis
November 8, 2005
...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 | Original Score: 7/10
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