Top 100 Films. 90. The Polar Express (2004)

As a self confessed Christmas fan, there had to be at least one Christmas film on the list and I chose the one which is known for the scary eyed children and 2000 Tom Hanks characters. That’s probably why I love it even more.

The Polar Express is a film about a child that does not believe in Santa Claus and one Christmas, a train pulls up to his house and says that they were going to the North Pole. Like any curious kid at that age, he said yes to the stranger with the mustache that looked scarily like Tom Hanks and went on the adventure to go and see if Santa Claus actually existed.

First of all lets note the biggest criticism the film receives.  The dead-eyed expressions of all the characters but for some weird reason, that only makes me love it more. It has this uncanny look to it that is like no other Christmas film. It’s like if a mother gave birth to a child and it looked really ugly but she still loves the child. I have a weird unconditional motherly love for this film. (Would of been a good tagline for the film eh?)  The creepy aesthetic was like a callback to all those old children films that had really macabre themes and visuals, such as the old Disney animations. I enjoyed the creepy hobo, unsettling puppet scene and the mysterious train conductor. There’s a charming darkness to this film and I could never put my finger on why I love this film, as much as I do.

However, The Polar Express does do one thing that many Christmas films fail at. That it is able to get the true magic of Christmas right. It seems cliche and cheesy to mention this as a 23 year old, but we all have memories of Christmas, being so excited for Santa Claus and waking up for presents. It was and still is a magic and charming holiday, no matter how commercialised it is getting. A simple story of a train going to the North Pole would of been a dream to go to as a child and I have to confess, as a grown man I would still like to take that trip. The Polar Express does exceedingly well at translating the true majestic nature of Christmas. Elves, Snow, Santa, Christmas tunes and Hot Coco! Oh so much Hot Chocolate!

The soundtrack is wonderful, the animation is weirdly charming and the story, yes over sentimental but its Christmas. It is the one holiday you can be and it be okay. This is another film that can be enjoyed by the whole family. This heartwarming and uplifting story is I believe an underrated Christmas classic that I think will be more appreciated as time goes on.

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